Posted: August 4th, 2023
Read the following narrative about a young boy named Sammy. After reading the project narrative, you will complete three forms:
Five-year-old Sammy was an absolute joy. He eagerly followed the directives given to him by his parents. He ate his vegetables, went to bed on time, cleaned up after himself, and even said, “please” and “thank you.” His kindergarten teacher reported that he was eager to learn and played nicely with his peers, sharing his toys willingly and taking turns during games. Sammy even behaved himself for the babysitter when his parents went on date nights. The summer before first grade, his parents told him that he was going to be a “big brother.” Sammy shared in their enthusiasm. He was curious about his new baby brother or sister and asked all sorts of questions. His parents got a kick out of Sammy’s inquisitiveness and excitement about the news. They saw it as a good sign and knew that the baby would be a welcome change.
A few months later, Sammy’s mom went into labor early and was admitted to the hospital. Because his father wanted to be by her side, Sammy went to stay with his grandparents who lived close by. Due to complications, his mother had to have a Cesarean section (C-section) and was placed on bed rest to recover. Sammy’s new sister, Jenna, was born premature and needed to remain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for two weeks.
Due to everything going on with the birth of Jenna, Sammy didn’t see much of his parents during those few weeks. He didn’t even get to meet his baby sister. Sammy was confused and growing increasingly impatient at his grandparents’ house. He began acting out. He refused to eat his vegetables and became fussy at bedtime. If they asked him to do something, Sammy would defiantly yell, “You’re not the boss of me!”
After two weeks passed, Mom, Dad, and Jenna were on their way home. Understanding how much Sammy missed his parents, his grandparents made sure he was at home before they arrived. When he saw his mother, Sammy rushed up to give her a hug but was stopped by his father who explained that “Mom has an ouchie, and you can’t hug her right now.” Sammy was eager to help with Jenna as well. Unfortunately, his mother and father would not let him hold her or play with her because she was “too tiny and delicate.”
Sammy was confused. He used to be the center of attention. Now, no one had much time to play with him or read him books. Everything was about Jenna—Jenna this and Jenna that. His parents were always changing diapers, feeding, singing, swaddling, and fussing over Jenna. He wondered, “Is that all they care about now?” Things were strange and different. Jenna was now the main attraction—the star of the show. His frustration grew and grew at home. The once-compliant little boy started defying his parents’ directives. He called his vegetables “gross” and refused to eat them. At bedtime, Sammy wouldn’t turn out his light and continued to play despite his parents’ endless warnings for him to “Turn out the lights and go to bed young man, or else!” During the nighttime, Sammy would sneak into his parents’ bedroom and try to crawl into bed with them. Whichever parent was awake and not tending to Jenna’s needs would angrily take him back to his bedroom. Sammy couldn’t believe how much things had changed. He felt like he was just a nuisance now.
Meanwhile, Sammy started first grade. He was eager to be back in school and away from the “Jenna Show” at home. The school year started off great. Sammy was on a roll, doing his work and meeting new friends. When he got his first progress report, he was eager to show his parents. He got good grades and a bonus star for good behavior.
Upon arriving home, Sammy was greeted by his grandparents who told him that his parents took Jenna to a doctor’s appointment. His disappointment was written all over his face. He raced to his room and slammed the door.
A month passed and not much was changing at home. Due to being born premature, Jenna had lots of doctor’s appointments which took the place of taking trips to the park and cuddling on the couch together to watch his favorite shows.
When he tried to ask his parents questions about Jenna, they would tell him, “It’s complicated. Don’t worry. Your baby sister will be okay.” Sammy did worry but not about Jenna. Sammy felt discouraged and angry. Temper tantrums were soon a daily occurrence. Sammy hit his father a few times when trying to get his attention. While his acting out at home continued to intensify, his parents were too tired and busy to discipline him.
Sammy’s second progress report stunned his parents. Not only was he getting failing marks in his classes, but he was also getting in trouble for not following rules, getting out of his seat during class, and being aggressive with his peers. When his teacher asked Sammy to participate in class activities, he would refuse. Sometimes, he would throw his books and pencils on the floor. The progress report also noted that Sammy had hit his peers a few times during recess for which he was sent to the principal’s office. His mother and father both sat down to “talk” with him about his acting out in school. Finally, he had their attention!
Things continued to get worse at home and at school.
Click on the link below to download the Behavior Modification Plan, Behavior Chart, and Observation Recording Form. Each section has specific instructions. Please read the instructions for each part carefully.
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