Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Background Information:

Joseph is an 8-year-old third grader who has recently received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Joseph is not currently eligible for special education services because he has an average to above average IQ and prior to the last few months the ADHD did not adversely affect his academic performance. However, Joseph’s parents and teachers have concerns regarding his off-task and out of seat behaviors. Joseph’s parents currently are not willing to utilize medication to regulate the symptoms of his ADHD. They would like the school to identify some positive behavior approaches to support Joseph. Joseph’s parents would also like to learn more positive ways to support him while at home.

Joseph lacks self-confidence, expressing frustration to his parents and teachers regarding his difficulties in school. He wants to do well, but struggles to maintain his attention to the task.

To gather more information on the issues his parents are seeing at home, Joseph’s teacher provided them with an interview form and survey. According to the information from his parents, Joseph’s behaviors have begun to escalate to the point of aggression, as he will refuse to complete work, whine, and shove papers.

Target Behavior:

At school, Joseph’s behavior has not yet escalated to the point of aggression, but he is often off-task and out of his seat. Other times he refuses to complete tasks and will put his head down on his desk. Joseph’s teacher started to collect data regarding his off-task and out of seat behaviors. She utilized a frequency count method for collecting data in class. The teacher collected data during reading class in the morning and in science class in the afternoon.


During a one hour reading lesson the teacher observed that Joseph was out of his seat 15 times for a total duration of 25 minutes. While out of his seat, he asked the teacher several off-topic questions, got a drink of water, and sharpened his pencils. He often tapped his foot against the desk to get a peer’s attention. Given the frequency with which he is out of his seat, he did not complete his assignments on time. Joseph required many redirects, positive reinforcement, and prompting throughout the day to stay on task.

In the afternoon science class, however, the teacher observed far less instances of Joseph leaving his seat. He was only recorded out of his seat four times during the 40-minute science lesson. When he left his seat, twice he sharpened his pencils, once was to get a Kleenex, and once was to get another lab worksheet because he had spilled water from his water bottle on his first one. He seemed more engaged overall during this time.

Functions of Behavior Data Collection Plan:

Over the next eight days, you as the special education teacher decide to collect data daily across the following functions of behavior:

1. Seeking attention (negative behavior to gain attention of others),

2. Seeking something tangible (behavior to gain an item or activity), and

3. Escape (to avoid situations or tasks).

The data tables below indicate the number of off-task and out of seat behaviors Joseph engaged in during approximately 40 minutes of class time across eight days.

Reading Class

Days Attention Tangible Escape
1 0 1 4
2 1 0 5
3 1 1 8
4 2 2 7
5 2 1 8
6 2 0 6
7 1 1 9
8 2 0 8


Science Class

Days Attention Tangible Escape
1 0 1 0
2 0 2 0
3 1 1 2
4 0 1 0
5 0 1 0
6 0 2 0
7 1 1 3
8 0 2 0

Chart Proposal for Behavior Change Template

Part 1: ABC Chart

Create five mock activities to serve as your observation. Include antecedents, behaviors, and consequences for Joseph based on the functions of behavior data from “Student Scenario for Joseph.”

ABC Chart

Student Name: Joseph

Class Activity What was the activity or task during the time of the behavior? Antecedent What was the trigger or situation right before the behavior occurred? Behavior What was the observed behavior? Consequence What happened because of the behavior?
Reading Example Small group work of in class reading of “James and the Giant Peach.” Teacher tells students to get into their designated small groups around the room. Joseph throws the book down and asks to use the restroom. Escape


Operationally Defined Target Behavior:

Create one measurable, observable operational definition for Joseph’s target behavior. Focus on one function of behavior: attention, tangible, or escape.

Part 2: Analysis of Data

In 250-500 words, analyze the case study data, your ABC chart, and your operational definition, and discuss any emerging patterns. Develop a hypothesis as to why the target behavior is occurring. Justify your hypothesis with your assessment analysis and explain how your findings can be used to guide educational decisions for Joseph.

Hypothesis of target behavior including function of behavior:

Analysis of case study:

Part 3: Intervention Ideas and Replacement Behaviors

Develop a list of five motivational and instructional intervention ideas that will contribute to reducing the occurrence of the target behavior and encourage the replacement behavior. Interventions should help Joseph adapt to different environments and promote safe and appropriate behaviors.

Motivational and Instructional Intervention Ideas

Part 4: Proposed Intervention Plan

Goal 1 (Identify one functional behavior focus: attention, tangible, or escape):

Replacement behavior:

Specific steps to change behavior (antecedent modifications):

Strategies to manage situations (to reduce target behavior) using collaboration with general educators and other colleagues:

Rewards and reinforcements:

Progress monitoring (what data will be collected and in what manner, including data from colleagues and student’s family):

Steps to resolve any escalation:

Part 5: Reflection

In a 250-500 word summary reflect upon how you, in your future professional practice, will ensure formal and informal assessments of student behaviors are unbiased and technically sound, considering culture, language, gender, and ability differences.


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