Questions To Ask Yourself When Addressing Behavior Problems, Part 1 of 4

**This is the first in a four part weekly series**

This is yet another one of the resources that I received from my boot camp a little while ago. Since I will be working with children with autism, this will definitely come in handy. This is a list of 57 questions that you should ask yourself when addressing behavior problems. I have decided to do this in a four part series so that the posts won’t be too long. Here is Part 1, numbers 1-21, which deal with the layout of furniture and materials.


When a problem occurs, consider the following:

Physical structure increases the likelihood of success during learning and free times. Limits that are physically clear to the individual may be an initial step towards self-control.


  1. Is there a clearly defined space where the individual keeps his/her belongings?
  2. Is furniture spaced sufficiently for movement? Are work areas located in the least distractible setting?
  3. Are work areas spaced sufficiently to discourage interactions with others during work times?
  4. Does the individual need to stay in a relatively closed space to reduce wandering off?
  5. Is the furniture appropriately sized for the individual? Is the furniture sturdy?
  6. Can other furniture (e.g., dividers, bookcases, etc.) be used to cut down distractions for individuals with difficulties focusing on their work?
  7. Besides furniture, are there other means of defining separate spaces in the room (e.g., tape on the floor, rugs, etc.)?
  8. Are windows, doors, cabinets, and other tempting materials less available or less accessible to distractible individuals?
  9. Are individual work areas clearly differentiated from group work areas?
  10. Can the staff see all or the majority of work areas in the room?
  11. Are group areas and independent work areas located in close enough proximity that the staff can monitor both?
  12. Are there clear means of transit between areas (i.e., while the individual is moving between work areas, is there an opportunity for him to distract another individual)?
  13. Is the individual distracted by available materials when moving between work areas?
  14. Are there too many work materials in the work area? Do these act as a disorganizing influence?
  15. Are work materials in a centralized area? Are the individual’s work materials easily accessible to him/her?
  16. Are materials which the individual is not allowed to use in a different place from those he/she can use?
  17. Is the leisure or break area situated where little or no supervision is necessary (i.e., away from exits, dangerous materials, or staff’s materials)?
  18. Is the free time area clearly defined?
  19. Do all the areas in the room have a simple label(possibly paired with a visual symbol) so that individuals know where to go (e.g., “Go to the blue table.”)?
  20. Is lighting sufficient in work area? Is the temperature easily controlled?
  21. Is noise level a problem?

In summary: Does the layout of furniture and materials assist in the development of behaviors and skills which we want the individual to have?

**Watch for Part 2 next week, October 8, which deals with schedules.**

Source: Love, S. (2004). Professional Seminar: Behavior management for individuals with autism. Asheville TEACHH Center.