20 Strategies to Help Learners Who Exhibit Self-Destructive Behavior

Are you looking for strategies to help students who exhibit self-destructive behavior? If so, keep reading.

1. Take the student away from the learning experience until they can demonstrate appropriate behavior and self-control.

2. Draft an agreement with the student stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., not engaging in self-destructive behavior) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

3. Connect with parents (e.g., notes home, phone calls, etc.) to disseminate information about the student’s progress. The parents may reinforce the student at home for appropriate behavior at school.

4. Assess the appropriateness of the task to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.

5. Stop annoying or anxiety-producing situations from happening (e.g., give the student tasks on their capacity and ability level, give the student the number of tasks that can be tolerated in one sitting, stop social situations that encourage the student to become self-destructive, etc.).

6. Talk regularly with the student to prevent self-destructive behavior by meeting the student’s needs as they happen.

7. Provide visibility to and from the student. The teacher and the student should be able to see each other. Make eye contact possible at all times.

8. Solidify on-task behavior by providing a full schedule of daily activities. Stop lag time from happening when the student will be free to take part in self-destructive behavior.

9. Move any object that the student may use to hurt themselves out of their surroundings.

10. Give the student a quiet space to work (e.g., carrel or study area).

11. Give the student positive feedback that indicates they are successful, essential, respected, etc.

12. Teach the student appropriate ways to express displeasure, anger, frustrations, etc.

13. Provide a positive/calm environment (e.g., deliver positive remarks, acknowledgment of successes, quiet communications, etc.).

14. Minimize the emphasis on competition. Repeated failure may result in anger and frustration that may cause the student to try to hurt himself/herself.

15. Converse with the student about ways of handling situations successfully without conflict (e.g., walk away from a situation, change to another learning experience, ask for help, etc.).

16. Let the student give input relative to making decisions (e.g., changing learning activities, choosing learning activities, deciding length of learning activities, etc.).

17. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

18. Consider using a socio-emotional learning app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

19. Consider using an emotional intelligence app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

20. Consider using a school counseling app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

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