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Joe Schiappacasse has been recognized as one of the leaders in best practices in behavior issues. He generously shared his time and expertise for this interview in 2001. Sadly, Joe passed away in 2002; his teachings, however, continue to motivate and inspire new ways of thinking about behavior issues. Enjoy learning from this in-depth interview.

What do we need to know about behavior and people who have been labeled?

The most important thing we all need to keep in mind is that people with disabilities need the same supports you and I take for granted, including the same level of quality and availability. We’re still offering people with disabilities supports that are very different, based on a “deficit” focus rather than a whole person focus. In other words, there’s still a very clear “us/them” orientation. Unfortunately, what’s available to persons with disabilities too often depends on the disability label.

In practical terms, what we offer to the people who we see as different—different from a “deficit” point of view—is a very limited array of strategies and supports that are often based on external control. These are usually comprised of very mechanical, quick-fix, textbook type strategies, rather than real life strategies.Because we focus on the perceived deficits instead of the whole person, the behavior strategies people use on others are frequently based on the results of narrow, limited assessments. In addition, these deficit-focused evaluations frequently result in misunderstanding. Click here to continue.

Joe Schiappacassee On Everyone's Behavior

"We must also analyze what works in people’s lives. We need to ask questions about positive behavior..."

Joe Schiappacassee