"Providing Clear, Concrete Visual Supports with Behavioral Development Strategies to Promote Independent Reasoning Skills"

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Red and Green Choices ®
By Green Irene

A Positive Behavioral Development Strategy for Students with Autism or Behavioral Predispositions

Green (2003) © "Red and Green Choices" TM www.redandgreenchoices.com

About This Intervention:

How to Cite/Reference Irene's "Red and Green Choices" Work

Throughout Irene's experiences during her first few years working in MH classrooms, she became very interested and focused on students with severe behavioral disorders. She witnessed many students throwing chairs or other objects across classrooms, attacking school personnel, biting themselves and displaying many other maladaptive behavioral concerns.  She became intent on focusing on a “behavior first” strategy. Irene began focusing on the “why” or “how” these now severe long-standing behavioral patterns were developed, and needed an approach for her and other classroom teachers to stop such severe behaviors before they became what she calls in her book, an “eventual uncontrollable situation”. Her method to specifically concentrate on developing positive alternative student behaviors became known as Red and Green Choices, through teaching students how to adapt and react appropriately to different environmental stimulus.

Red and Green Choices interventions address the implementation of setting high, reasonable, and achievable behavioral standards, then expecting students to choose acceptable and tolerable green solutions to situations. The strategy promotes always talking, writing words, or drawing pictures of green choice behavioral solutions to each and every behavioral response as they occur, in green.  It also promotes the same for unacceptable and intolerable red responses to stimuli, in red.  Red and Green Choices interventions provide immediate feedback to undesired behavioral responses as soon as they occur, then encourages practicing the opposite green choice behavior in a “designated area” with a “designated adult” until it is learned or developed, by breaking down behaviors into their smallest sequential green steps. The designated adult begins the "behavioral trust" process with each child receiving interventions.

Red and Green Choices
allows students to be attentive to their behaviors, formulate informed decisions, while making their expectations and environment predictable and clear. Irene believes that choosing “green” becomes the student’s behavioral responsibility through attentive adult guided positive interventions. Red and Green Choices provides exact expectations for students and adults using colors, choices, predictability, structure, and positive intervention strategies while focusing on the positive outcome (expectation), instead of repeating negative information through overstimulation.  A key component to the program includes providing a behavioral “explanation, expectation, choice”, and allowing a reciprocal trustworthy behavioral relationship between the adult implementing Red and Green Choices and the child receiving its interventions, based upon Irene's own theory of "behavioral trust".

Red and Green Choices can become a very strong, intensive and meaningful relationship between teachers and their students. Most children begin to really enjoy and thrive with their Red and Green Choices, because it provides predictability and structure to their environment while making the adults around them calm, assertive, firm, predictable and proud. Students quickly decide they do not like the red consequences to their red behavioral choices. Red becomes a much disliked stimulus - even an adult just holding up their red marker across the classroom - after students learn appropriate replacement or alternative behaviors.  The pictures or writings develop into very powerful tools to promote exact understanding of behavioral expectations. The principles include meeting and exceeding the needs of students, staff and parents. This means teacher’s needs are met, too.

Once behaviors are managed, then Red and Green Choices can be used to assist with academic tasks. More time becomes available for children to intently focus on academic task completion

This behavioral intervention strategy continues to be an expanding supportive tool to many as the title book, “Red and Green Choices, A Positive Behavioral Development Strategy...” was featured in the May/June 2004 edition of Autism-Asperger’s Digest magazine.  Then in October 2006, The British "Good Autism Practice Journal" comprised a book review of "Red and Green Choices". (link: Articles)

Green (2003) © "Red and Green Choices" TM www.redandgreenchoices.com

Red and Green Choices:

Can be your program's school-wide behavioral response and intervention plan,

Through distinct adult actions and reactions based on positive behavioral strategies and principles,

Instead of using a reward/punishment system -

By allowing students and adults the opportunities to develop "behavioral trust" with each other

With Irene's 13 Fundamentals to effective and successful strategies...

Focus on the positive
Allow students to choose
Set high, reasonable and achievable behavioral standards
Always provide explanations, expectations and choices
Remain calm, firm, consistent, helpful and truthful throughout the behavior change process

Principals / Administrators:
Assist your staff with behavior change solutions using positive supports and strategies
Provide exact staff expectations with individual students
Show adults how to act and react to create preventive and assertive strategies with academics and behavioral concerns
Alter staff wording with Irene's Model of "Behavioral Rules of Engagement" - make every situation as positive as possible with "green choices" and "red choices"

Applying Common Behavioral Theories & Principles through Visual Concrete Strategies to Develop Individual Adaptive Behavioral Responses
and Reasoning Skills Based Upon Irene’s Theory of Developing a Reciprocal Positive “Behavioral Trust" Relationship with a Child
Supports & Enhances:
Positive Behavioral Development Strategies
With Extensive & Reasonable Behavioral Principles:
Like Shaping, Positive Reinforcement, Pairing, Modeling, Positive-Practice Overcorrection, Reinforcement of Incompatible & Appropriate Behavior, Antecedent Stimulus, Chaining, Task Analysis, Fading...
All Based Upon Irene's Own Central Theoretical Behavioral Principle:
of Developing a Positive
"Behavioral Trust" Relationship with a child -instead of misunderstanding a child or not meeting the needs of a child and developing a  "Behavioral Mistrust" relationship...  along with other principles; "Self-Prompting" - "Positive Opposites" - "Designated Adult" - "Designated Area"  - and More
a Priority Chart For You to Effectively Take Your Own "Red and Green Choices Behavioral Stand; A 10 Part Plan to Developing a Specific Individual Approach" - to Address Behaviors & Implement Your Own Techniques
Long-Term Strategy:
This visual support system of applying behavioral principles is not by any means a "quick fix". It is a long-term strategy of developing behaviors appropriate for an individual through positive means, and supporting one's feelings, communicative and developmental needs. The adult implementing the program must always meet a student's calming needs and remain truthful to them while remaining in charge of safe situations.
First, the basics of classroom structure, organization and management;  schedules, predictability, consistency, and other classroom fundamentals should be securely in place, successful and consistent.

Once this is occurring, and one is ready to
intently develop individual behaviors particular to those students with ASD or other concerns- then Red and Green Choices could be introduced.

One should be familiar with common behavioral principles and be experienced in working with children on the Autism Spectrum, through positive means - as defined in literature and textbooks, before beginning any behavior change program. Parental communication is also a key element to any program. Another key element is incorporating the ideas that students must always be able to communicate their needs accordingly, while feeling and being safe and secure.


A Positive Behavioral Development Strategy
for Students with Autism or Behavioral Predispositions

Copyright © 2003 Green Irene      All rights reserved.

Book Excerpts:

"Students will gain respect for the behavioral process and realize that developing positive behaviors increases their adaptation skills. In other words, it makes their environment more predictable and easier for them to handle. Students become prepared and familiar with Red and Green Choices, and choose the outcomes to their behavioral choices."
"The intention... provide children and adults with exact incompatible expectations and exact incompatible consequences, using positive opposites... The charts, lists, pictures and drawings communicate exact understanding of needs and expectations for both adults and children."
"My personal philosophy:  I have always approached students with severe behavioral concerns with a "behavior first, then academics" system and truly believe in this approach. Once behaviors are calmed, managed and regulated, children have the opportunity to begin to focus intently on academic skill achievement. More time becomes available for academics. Red and Green Choices, however specified by adults, can then be included in any academic task to build upon academic skill competencies."  Page 8
Learn Irene's Own Successful & Effective "Red and Green Choices" Behavioral Theories and Techniques:

"Behavioral Trust"                              "Designated Adult"
"The Ultimate Green Choice"              "Two-Finger Fast Choice"
"Explanation, Expectation, Choice"     "Behavioral Mistrust"
"Designated Area"                              "Self-Prompting"
"Think Green"                                     and More
"That (designated and behaviorally trusted) adult becomes a static and concrete tool for that child to depend upon."

"I am behaviorally training students when I say: "it is ok". This is a situation I know they will be happy about in the end. The student may be scared or very nervous, but I know through predicting behavior and seeing the entire red and green process, that they will get through it with my red and green support. So, eventually, if I say: "it is ok", the student knows it will be difficult to go through, but they will survive. This could be a situation like seeing a fire truck with their grade-level classmates or joining the school for an assembly. This may also go back to the "black and white, no gray area" and literal thinking for students with Autism- the student may actually believe they cannot, and then will not survive the particular school situation. It is the adult’s responsibility to ensure student’s feelings are always considered when changing behavioral patterns and to develop behavioral trust with students...

...If you tell a child it is ok - be sure the end result is a student having the feeling: yes it was ok and I will do it again tomorrow. If this student feeling is not present and they will not do it again tomorrow, then it was NOT ok. This will develop behavioral mistrust, and students with Autism thinking literal and "black and white" - it was NOT ok and the adult is not behaviorally trustworthy."

..."Providing self-prompting visual red and green aids will assist with remembering what to do in the other environment."
"When positively adapting to the school environment may be too much to handle at that particular time, it becomes the adult’s responsibility for calmness to remain."
"I believe with an accurate, precise, positive and clear system of behavioral strategies and supports like Red and Green Choices, any student with even the most severe behavioral predisposition can succeed in an inclusive school environment along with their same age peers."
..."Adults know it is because it is an adaptive behavior to be displayed within a school setting. But students are probably displaying positive green behaviors for a different reason. Students want to see smiling adult faces and earn their favorite activity. Until students understand the "just because" social aspect of displaying appropriate behaviors within specific environments, then adults must manipulate the consequences so adaptation behaviors are displayed. Students need to eventually find positive ways to adapt to their environment. Adults need to provide assistance and understanding for eventual independent adaptation skills."
"An adult cannot control what the student chooses to display. But, an adult can promote the student choosing green by being attentive to the needs of the child. If the consequences meet the desires of the student, then the student will try to display green choice behaviors. "
"Choosing green becomes the student’s behavioral responsibility through attentive adult guided positive interventions."
"No matter how simple or undisruptive behaviors may seem at their initial stage, children need immediate feedback to any and all behaviors to prevent eventual uncontrollable situations."
"Sitting is an imperative school function and begins at the preschool level. To sit is a small individual green behavior while the complex green behavior is learning (developing) sitting for extended periods of time, remaining quiet, raising your hand and completing a task. The sitting skill often needs to be taught because students with Autism and behavioral concerns often see this as not something fun, and something they would rather not do....

...Or, it may be a misunderstood or non-expected behavior. Never assume a child realizes or knows behavioral expectations based upon their same-aged peers. Just because the group is displaying the sitting skill does not mean a child with Autism will assume that particular behavioral responsibility naturally. It may need to be developed or learned through intensive means. Also, the child with Autism may learn differently than typically developing peers due to how information is processed. The exact behavior or expectation may need to be specifically explained. This may hold true for many school-based expectations. So red and green will condition sitting through shaping and other behavioral principles. So Red and Green Choices will condition sitting through shaping and other behavioral principles."

For Pictures / Printable Charts & More Behavioral Descriptions: Refer to the Links Below

Copyright © 2008 Green Irene

The Material Presented from "Red and Green Choices", Is Based Upon Irene's Own Behavioral Intervention Strategies, and What Types of Behavioral
and Academic Assistance Has Promoted Positive Outcomes With Her and Her Students When Applying Red and Green Choices Behavioral Principles

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Copyright © 2005 Green Irene



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