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De-escalation Strategies for Challenging Behaviors

Classroom Management


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Introduction 1:02

Understanding Challenging Behavior

What Is Trauma? 1:40

Reviewing Common Diagnoses 7:51

Interpreting Behavior As Communication 5:20

Anatomy of a Crisis

An Overview: Fight or Flight Response in Children 1:39

Antecedent Events/Triggers 2:40

Agitation/Acceleration and Peak 6:24

De-escalation and Recovery 2:53

Preventing the Crisis

Managing the Art Room Environment 3:24

Avoiding Power Struggles 2:27

OARS Conversation Skills 1:44

Concrete Strategies for Difficult Situations

Rational Detachment 2:17

Disengaging Tactics 2:08

De-escalation Tactics 3:13

Art Room Case Studies

Art Student With Anxiety 2:29

Art Student With ADHD 2:34

Art Student With Disruptive Behavior 3:07


Conclusion 0:53

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De-escalation Strategies for Challenging Behaviors

3 PD Hours

  • 1 Identify how student behaviors are a means of communication.

  • 2 Anticipate crisis scenarios in the art room and develop strategies for preventing escalation.

  • 3 Plan and implement a variety of de-escalation strategies to facilitate emotional regulation and collaborative problem-solving with students in crisis.

It can feel like students are intentionally giving us a hard time when they are exhibiting challenging, disruptive behaviors. Outbursts disrupt the learning environment and can bring the entire class to a halt. Learn how to reframe challenging behavior as communication, engage students in collaborative problem-solving, and teach appropriate behaviors for expressing needs and emotions in the future with this comprehensive PRO Pack. Facilitator Chris Cusak, school social worker and licensed clinical social worker, shares actionable strategies to prevent crisis situations in the classroom while presenting solutions for de-escalating them when they do occur.

Connected K-12 Art Educator Framework Competencies

10. Expectations
A. Creates and communicates clear expectations and consequences
B. Creates and communicates clear routines and procedures
11. Relationship Building
A. Builds rapport and positive relationships with students
C. Maintains self-control in challenging situations

Chris Cusack

Chris Cusack

School Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Christine Cusack works full-time as an elementary school social worker in the near west suburbs of Chicago. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, a master's degree in Social Work (clinical concentration) from The University of Chicago, and an education specialist (EdS) degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from National Louis University. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), and provides clinical supervision to social workers working towards their clinical license. Chris also has experience in adult inpatient behavioral health. Many children face obstacles and barriers to their success; as a school social worker, she dedicates herself to removing those barriers so that every student can maximize their potential. Her combined social work and behavior analysis training gives her a unique lens through which to view behavior and provide social-emotional and behavioral support to students, parents, and educators.


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