Implementing Check in/Check out for Students with Intellectual Disability in Self-Contained Classrooms

By Boden, Lauren J.; Ennis, Robin P. et al. | Teaching Exceptional Children, September/October 2012 | Go to article overview

Implementing Check in/Check out for Students with Intellectual Disability in Self-Contained Classrooms


Boden, Lauren J., Ennis, Robin P., Jolivette, Kristine, Teaching Exceptional Children


Mrs. Jones teaches a high school selfcontained classroom for students with moderate intellectual disability. The large urban high school in which she works has had schoolwide positive behavior and intervention supports (SWPBIS) in place for the last 3 years. The school expects students to "Be safe, be respectful, and be responsible. " Mrs. Jones incorporates the schoolwide behavior rules into her weekly social skills lessons using everyday vocabulary and practical, functional examples (and nonexamples) of the rules.

Recently, Mrs. Jones noticed that some of her students were having difficulties following these rules throughout the day; she was spending more and more time correcting and redirecting her students' problem behavior- Kerry was having difficulty staying in her seat or assigned area (be safe), Samantha was displaying verbal outbursts to escape task demands (be respectful), and Deondre continued to take items that did not belong to him (be responsible). In addition. Carter was having some problems: his general education photography teacher reported that Carter was inappropriately touching others (e.g., attempting to hold hands with his project partner) during class, which was not being respectful. His partner, as a result, no longer wanted to work with him. Carter also had been attempting to touch others (e.g., shoulders, back, hands) in the hallways during class transitions. Mrs. Jones worried that her students' behaviors might cause them to become socially isolated from their peers. Mrs. Jones decided to implement a check-in/check-out (CICO) strategy for these four students to help them learn to behave in ways more socially acceptable to those around them.

Students with intellectual disability (ID) often have difficulties displaying appropriate social behaviors at the appropriate time (Leffert, Siperstein, & Millikan, 2000). Due to this, they may have greater difficulty forming and maintaining reciprocal relationships with peers (Guralnick, Conner, & Johnson, 2011) and often experience social isolation. The inability to form relationships with peers often continues into adulthood, which makes their struggle with social skills a lifelong problem (McVilly, Stancliffe, Parmenter, & Burton-Smith, 2006).

Students with ID also may display a variety of challenging behaviors - such as stereotypy (repetitive behaviors), self-injury (behaviors that are harmful to the student), and aggression (behaviors that are aggressive towards others)- that may cause further social isolation (Emerson et al., 2001). Students with ID should receive direct and systematic instruction to replace inappropriate behaviors with behaviors that are socially acceptable. Although students with ID who display the most severe behaviors require a behavioral intervention plan (tertiary-tier intervention), all students with ID can improve social skills and behavioral deficits by receiving behavioral instruction.

SWPBIS and Students With Intellectual Disability

Students with ID are often educated outside the general education classroom, which causes a barrier for inclusion within the primary level of SWPBIS (Hawken & O'Neill, 2006). In order for students to be included in the primary level of SWPBIS, special education teachers must explicitly teach students using the same behavioral expectations and appropriate social behaviors as general education teachers (Snell, 2006). Students with ID who exhibit behavioral difficulties often receive tertiary-tier interventions outside of the SWPBIS framework as opposed to secondary-tier interventions. Hawken and O'Neill suggested that some students with ID who are receiving a tertiary-tier intervention may benefit from a less intensive secondary-tier intervention, such as check in/check out (CICO).

CICO: Check in/Check out

CICO is a secondary-tier intervention designed for implementation within the framework of SWPBIS with students who are not responding to primary interventions (Campbell & Anderson, 2008) . …

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