20 Ways to Encourage Learners Not to Touch People Without Permission

Are you looking for ways to encourage students not to touch people without their permission? If so, keep reading.

1. Give the student oral recognition and reinforcement for social and academic success.

2. Minimize the chance for the student to take part in unacceptable physical contact (e.g., stand an appropriate distance from the student when interacting).

3. Attempt several groupings to find a situation in which the student’s need for physical attention can be satisfied by socially acceptable interactions (e.g., holding hands while dancing in an extracurricular learning experience, a hug for an accomplishment, handshake or a high five in sports, etc.).

4. Teach the student appropriate ways to interact with others (e.g., oral and physical introductions, interactions, etc.).

5. Utilize logical consequences when the student touches others as they walk by (e.g., move the student to another place in the room, have others walk away from the student, etc.).

6. Ask the student why they make unwarranted contact with others.

7. Praise the student for respecting the norms of physical proximity based on the duration of time they can be successful. As the student shows success, slowly increase the duration of time required for reinforcement.

8. Praise those students in the classroom who interact properly with other students or teachers.

9. Draft an agreement with the student stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., shaking hands rather than hugging) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

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

11. Separate the student from the person who is the primary focus of the student’s attempts to gain frequent physical contact.

12. Stop annoying or anxiety-producing situations from happening (e.g., give the student tasks only on their capacity and ability level, give the student only the number of tasks that can be tolerated in one sitting, lessen social interactions that encourage the student to become physically abusive, etc.).

13. Reveal to the student that public displays of frequent physical contact are unacceptable. Give the student high interest learning activities (e.g., academic learning activities that are inherently exciting, learning activities during free time, etc.).

14. Make sure that reinforcement is not provided for unacceptable behavior(e.g., paying attention to the student only when they make unnecessary physical contact).

15. Urge faculty/staff members with whom the student interacts to reinforce appropriate physical contact.

16. Praise the student for respecting norms of physical proximity: (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

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

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

19. Consider using Alexa to help the student learn to behave appropriately. Click here to read an article that we wrote on the subject.

20. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

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