De Escalation

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					North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children Division

Create Safety
Specific Methods for Preventing & Reducing Violence in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Hank Snyder North Carolina Justice Academy
Autism Society of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program A Division of the UNC Department of Psychiatry

• To help Administrators and Officers make more informed decisions

Video Clip

What is Autism?
• Autism is a complex developmental disability also known as a “spectrum disorder.”
• Individuals included on the “spectrum” can exhibit mild to severe impairments

• All of the individuals exhibit differences in:
• Social interaction • Verbal and nonverbal communication • Repetitive or narrow behaviors or interests

• In its most complex form, autism may include extreme self-injurious, highly unusual, and aggressive behaviors.

Receptive and Expressive Language Challenges
• The student has a tendency to make irrelevant comments • The student has a tendency to interrupt • The student has a tendency to talk on one topic and to talk over the speech of others • The student has difficulty understanding complex language, following directions, and understanding intent of words with multiple meanings.

• The student can become easily confused and answer questions incorrectly regardless of the consequences (i.e., answering every question with “yes” or the opposite answering every question with “no”)

• Many students with ASD are non-verbal or have only a few words that may not be useful to them in a stressful situation • When stress and anxiety increase the ability to process language decreases. They are constantly trying to balance stress and verbal understanding.

Fear and Anxiety are Primary
• “You have to understand that fear is the emotion that people with autism experience most often.” – Temple Grandin

Examples of how an Administrator or the SRO may encounter a student who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Student may be running down the hall and not stop when you call them down. This can be different from other children because their motivation is to “escape” they may not be just messing around. • Student may be standing in the lunch room with his/her hands over his/her ears rocking.

• Student may have taken something that doesn’t belong to them because it interests them not because they are trying to steal it.
• Student may be physically aggressive towards others Not usually to cause harm but it is a fight or flight reaction. • Student may be getting in another students space and making them uncomfortable. ASD students don’t always understand personal space

The Following Slides Are Appropriate For SRO Officers and/or Administrators To Implement

Video Clip

Levels of Crisis
• Stage I – Anxiety Level: a noticeable increase or change in behavior
• Withdrawal-leave the room, pull away from the physical contact of other people, cover ones ears, turning off lights, removing ones clothes and going up on ones toes when one is walking to reduce the tactile input on one's feet • Repetitive behaviors- pacing, rocking, twirling hair, rubbing hands over a surface repeating a word, phrase or sentence over and over, basically anything that one does a number of times in a row. Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
National Crisis Prevention Institute

Stage I Continued • Three causes of anxiety for students on the spectrum
• Over stimulation from the environment
• Sensory problems • People problems

• Over stimulation from within
• Emotions both positive and negative • Physical needs- hunger, thirst, need for bathroom, pain, persistent thoughts, etc.

• Boredom
• Students with ASD do not know what to do with down time

Stage I: Anxiety
• The following are interventions that may be helpful:
• Give simple clear directions. Verbal directions take more time and effort to respond to, but they will respond if directions are repeated, rephrased or perhaps after being given a visual prompt or written directions.

• Talk calmly and softly. • Speak in direct, short phrases such as: “Stand up now.” or “Go to your classroom.” • Avoid slang expressions, “Are you pulling my leg?” • Try not to interpret the person’s failure to respond as a lack of cooperation or a reason for increased force

• If possible have the student go to a quieter place (back to class, SRO office, main office, etc.) • Use the Walkie Talkie and have office send for the students teacher • Ask to see students schedule and redirect them to where they need to be.

• Stage II – Defensive Level: Student is becoming irrational and is not able to process verbal information.
• Screaming, growling, aggressive demands, banging, noncompliance, avoidance, tantrums • Focusing on a favorite topic which they focus on so completely that they block out everything else that is happening around them. They are unable to switch subjects to answer a question. • The behaviors exhibited during Stage I may increase in intensity and appear on the verge of being out of control.

Stage II: Defensive Level
• The following are interventions that may be helpful:
• Stop talking in detail, Don’t use comfort words “Your OK” “Come on Buddy” The fewer words the better.

• Use short directives- “Go to the office.” “Follow me.” “Stop, Listen”

• Repeat directions and use pointing or slow gestures to try and demonstrate what you want student to do. • Model calming behaviors, slow breathing, hands down. • Use the Walkie Talkie and have office send for the students teacher

Video Clip of Michael

• Stage III – The Acting Out Person: Loss of control usually involving physical aggression towards others or self
• Hitting, kicking, biting, throwing, selfinjurious behaviors, destructive behaviors. • Screaming loudly, staring into continuous movement or bright light, smearing feces

Stage III: The Acting Out Person
• The following are interventions that may be helpful:
• Make sure the student is unarmed and maintain a safe distance. Be aware that they may invade your personal space. • Look for medical alert tags or jewelry

• Remember the student with ASD cannot respond to verbal orders

• Seek information from others who are present about how to communicate with and de-escalate the student’s behavior. • Clear the room if possible of other students and unnecessary staff • Allow them to have time and space to calm themselves if they are not a danger to self or others.

• Avoid stopping repetitive behaviors unless there is a risk of injury to yourself or others. The repetitive behavior may be a coping and calming activity for the student. • Look for injuries. The student may be in pain and not be able to communicate.

• Use geographic containment and maintain a safe distance until student calms • If geographic containment can be established, use all available time to allow the student to de-escalate themselves without physical intervention.

In an Emergency the SRO has the authority to make decisions on how to keep ALL students and staff safe and secure.

The Following Slides Are Appropriate For Administrators and Teachers To Implement

• Stage IV – Tension Reduction: Exhausted, Drained, Miserable
• The following are interventions that may be helpful:
• Allow for down time to regroup • Have the student follow through on the activity or event that caused the problem but be flexible, it may need to be modified or added supports may need to be in place.

• Go through a problem solving strategy to help the student identify other options that can be used in the future to prevent acting out behaviors.
• Step 1- Name facts, positive and negative • Step 2- Identify students feelings • Step 3- Brainstorm other ideas • Step 4- Evaluate Good ideas Bad ideas • Step 5- Have student make a Decision

Have a Crisis Plan Plan Ahead For the Risk
• Identify with Family the Specific Strategy of “Where to Go” • Identify with Family How to Vent in Home Base • Is it a “Subdued Space”? • Does it Reduce Anxiety? • Who Should Help the Student At This Time?