How do you manage difficult behavior? Do you kick children out of the program?

All program participants may from time to time have days that are just not good for socializing. This can be the result of a stressful week at school or home but may also occur because a participant is simply having an “off” day. Our goal at Spotlight is to help participants understand that these days happen and that it is okay and even encouraged to take breaks or stay home on those days. When a participant pushes too hard to be social and is having difficulty regulating their mood and energy, they risk having a “meltdown” or a highly negative interaction with their group members that is difficult to repair. Taking a break should not be looked at as a punishment but rather something that all people need from time to time. It is important that participants learn to take breaks appropriately as needed and we look at that as an important life skill and goal of our program. When a participant is unable to take these needed breaks independently, staff may suggest they take an activity or a day off.

During program intake, families are expected to share information about potentially disruptive or aggressive behaviors demonstrated by their child, adolescent, or young adult, and to share behavior plans or strategies used to address these. Spotlight staff will familiarize themselves with and implement any behavior management plans in place for a participant as appropriate, as long as the recommended interventions do not compromise the human rights of the student and do not unreasonably disrupt the program for other participants. When a participant is not responding to behavior plans and known strategies, Spotlight staff will work with families to arrange a family meeting to discuss progress, challenges, and develop new strategies. While our intent is to work towards the positive resolution of any behavior issue, it is our primary responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all program participants and staff. Any student who engages in aggressive behavior (serious enough to threaten the safety of self or others) may be sent home for the day and/or suspended from the program. The parent/guardian will be notified, and will be expected to come to the program promptly to remove the student.