Crisis Management and Prevention

Crisis Management and Prevention Video

As educators, we strive to keep things calm, productive, and running smoothly in the classroom. However, occasionally there can be different reactions or needs of students that make this difficult, and a problem arises. You may encounter this in a special education classroom due to the diverse needs of your students. Teachers need to establish a plan to be prepared, respond accordingly, and restore the equilibrium in the classroom if this occurs. In this video, we are going to talk about best practice strategies you can put in place to help prevent a crisis from actually happening, as well as how to manage a crisis if one occurs. Let’s get started!

Preventing Crisis

Ideally, the best approach would be to prevent the crisis before it occurs. Instead of adding more components after the event, mitigation will minimize the need for a response. One way to support this idea is by creating a classroom environment where students feel comfortable, know the structure, and feel like their needs are being met. The first strategy for prevention is to get to know and connect with your students as best as you can. Establishing this rapport can help you to understand their triggers as well as what their likely reaction will be in case something overstimulates or upsets them. If an incident has occurred previously in a different class or school, it’s important to examine the data in order to try to understand what caused it and what diffused it. Consider the relationship or conflict between the different personalities and disabilities of the students in your classroom, and try to place them in areas where they are less likely to be triggered. In addition, allowing for breaks and calm periods where students have the opportunities to reset if they begin to feel overwhelmed can be helpful.

Unfortunately, not all situations can be prevented, even with the best intentions. An integral part of a school’s approach to safety is crisis management, which focuses on an immediate, problem-oriented intervention with the objective of identifying, handling, and resolving the crisis. In order to meet the needs of crisis situations, each school should establish an Individual School Crisis Management Team. As a next step, all members of the school staff should be prepared ahead of time so that each individual f knows what their responsibilities are in case a situation arises.

Crisis Management in Special Education

Many children with IEPs have behavioral intervention plans, and some children will have crisis plans included in those intervention plans. The purpose of a crisis plan is to formulate an action plan when a student is in danger of harm to themselves or to others. The committee that develops this plan should be made up of people that know the student well and are familiar with their disabilities, symptoms, reactions, and triggers, as well as someone who is trained in mental health crisis response. Similar to all other parts of the IEP, a crisis plan should regularly be reviewed and adjusted as the student grows and changes.

When designing the crisis plan, the committee should remember that, while many factors can lead to a crisis, there are four situations which most often lead to a crisis. Most commonly, a student is:

  • attempting to escape from a task or demand;
  • seeking either negative or positive attention;
  • attempting to gain some sort of activity or item; or
  • replaying an action or behavior that has been previously reinforced.

Medical, emotional, or environmental conditions can also influence a situation and create increased potential for a crisis.

The crisis plan should include specific components which, in the event of crisis, will help determine what type of crisis it is, specify who will be contacted for help, and determine what kind of help is available. Additionally, the plan should include strategies for working with students who are struggling and when parents should be contacted. During a crisis, the focus should be on the immediate response to the student’s potentially harmful behavior.

Recognizing Warning Signs

An important part of crisis management is how to determine if a crisis is occurring. Being able to identify the potential for a crisis is an important step here. There are a few guidelines you should follow to evaluate whether there are warning signs. To begin, examine a student’s typical behavior compared to what it looks like during escalation. In some instances, a student may appear unfocused or begin to verbally refuse directions. They may appear anxious or begin arguing with peers or adults. While there are a variety of crises that could be occurring, some necessitate immediate intervention, such as a student running out of the classroom, or a student throwing a chair or using a weapon. It is important to recognize that what has caused the crisis might not have occurred in class, as well the fact that the student might be at a point where they are unable to control their behavior. The teacher should activate the crisis plan at this point and determine whether the other students need to be involved. For example, should the other students in the classroom be removed until the situation has been diffused? Is there another teacher who can supervise the rest of the class while the special education teacher attends to the student in crisis? Does the school nurse need to be present, or does first aid need to be administered? The role of the teacher is critical in order to deescalate those situations, and well as in order to reach colleagues for immediate assistance.

Restoring Equilibrium

After the crisis is complete, the next step is working toward restoring the equilibrium of the classroom. Students should return to the classroom, and things like chairs or supplies should be put back in place. It is important to identify the feelings and impressions of the students, and whether they are able to get back to an academic subject. It may be helpful to allow for more flexibility until they do so, or redirect to a high-interest activity. In addition, students should have supervised personal space and a chance to cool down. It is important to go back to the norms of the classroom by positively reinforcing displays of appropriate behaviors. If there is an opportunity, look for a good time to debrief with the class.

Emotional responses can be common for students, specifically for ones with disabilities, based on side effects, medications, frustrations, or environmental stimulation. For special educators, it is important to be prepared for a crisis situation, both to prevent them, as well as to manage them appropriately when they arise, and to return the classroom to a sense of comfort, productivity, and safety.

I hope you have enjoyed this video on crisis management and prevention. Thanks for watching, and happy studying!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: February 2, 2024