Challenging Behavior

Central Rivers AEA assists and supports local school-based teams in providing services to students whose behaviors impact their learning and the learning of other students. Supports and interventions vary from low-level interventions to high-level interventions that are designed to meet the needs of the student and the district. District staff should work through their AEA building team for support. If additional support is needed, any individual may reach out to the AEA team representative or the Regional Administrator for their district. Through consultation, collaboration, and coaching models the Well-Being Team can tailor the supports to the specific needs of the individual students and their school districts. These supports may include professional development, team consultation, student observation and other services that help to diagnose the needs of the students and design effective supports and interventions that are evidence-based. 

Educator Toolbox

The following resources are designed to aid educators in understanding challenging behaviors, diagnosing skill deficits, and designing and delivering evidence-based interventions and support.

Maintaining Students’ Motivation for Learning as the Year Goes On

  • Neuroscience can suggest ways to keep students working toward their learning goals after their initial excitement wears off. This site provides strategies to maintain motivation.

PBIS World

  • PBIS World is a website containing links to interventions, supports, and resources for common disruptive behaviors.

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations

  • The goals of the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) are to assist states and programs in their implementation of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children (Pyramid Model) within early intervention and early education programs.
  • Pyramid Model focuses on promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children birth to five, reducing the use of inappropriate discipline practices, promoting family engagement, using data for decision-making, integrating early childhood and infant mental health consultation and fostering inclusion.

Parent/Family Toolbox

The following resources are designed to support families that have a child that is displaying challenging behaviors at home and/or at school. 

Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers (Resilience from the APA From the American Psychological Association)

  • This site provides ideas to help build resilience. Resilience is the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress. Building resilience can help our children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

 Child Mind Institute

  • This site is an excellent resource to help families understand mental health concerns, specific mental health disorders, evidence-based supports, and resources to help families advocate for their children.

NBC Parent Toolkit (November 2017) 

  • A video series: How parents can support kids’ social and emotional development.

SEL 101 for Parents (2017)

  • An informational video to inform parents about social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools and provide them with insights into SEL in their own parenting practices in order to support their children’s social and emotional development. Also available in Spanish.

Responding to Challenging Behaviors

  • This resource provides families with strategies for working with and meeting the needs of a child that is displaying challenging behaviors.

Meeting Sensory Needs at Home 

  • Strategies and ideas to support the sensory needs of children.

School-Based Mental Health Professional Toolbox

These resources are designed to support educators when they have evidence that the challenging behavior is caused by a mental health concern or diagnosis.  

Mobile Crisis Outreach

  • Mobile crisis response teams are provided across the state of Iowa’s 14 MHDS service regions. It is a free crisis service and outreach is available 24/7. Mobile crisis response services are provided on-site, in-person interventions for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, including suicidal ideation.
  • Mobile crisis response services are provided in the individual’s home, school, or at any other location where the individual lives, works, attends school or socializes. Mobile response staff are dispatched immediately after crisis screening has determined the appropriate level of care. Response time is within 60 minutes of dispatch.
  • Services are provided by mental health professionals through various partnerships with mental health providers across the state. Contacts are based on region. The above link provides the contact information to access the mobile crisis center by county. Mobile Crisis and other mental health crisis support can be accessed by calling 9-8-8.

Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC)-School Mental Health

  • “The Mid-America MHTTC serves the four states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri (Region 7) with a focus on Federally-Qualified Community Health Centers, schools, and mental health training programs. Across the four-state region of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, the Mid-America MHTTC will serve to align mental health systems and professional competencies with evidence-based mental health practices by providing free training and technical assistance on a variety of topics germane to effective mental health practice.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a resource that provides information related to warning signs, mental health conditions, NAMI Blogs, statistics, treatment, fact sheets, and information on public policy.
  • NAMI also provides resources to help community members find support as well as advocacy opportunities.



Apps should be combined with direct instruction and practice.