Special Education Strategies Which Address Purposeful Spitting

Do you have a student with special needs who deliberately spits? In today’s Teacher Tips newsletter, Watson experts share strategies to address purposeful spitting with your student.

It is important to distinguish if your student is drooling or spitting. Drooling or difficulty keeping saliva in the mouth may be the result of a physical or medical reason and should be addressed by the appropriate professional such as a pediatrician, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or an Ear Nose and Throat specialist.

If your student is purposefully spitting on others, it may be an indication of a learned maladaptive behavior or a method the student is using to communicate a need.

  1. Collect data to help identify what your student is trying to communicate when they choose to spit by using an ABC chart.
  2. Teach your student appropriate communication skills to replace the spitting behavior. Visual supports and behavior stories can be very helpful in teaching alternative behaviors and communication methods to your student with special needs.
  3. Use a rewards system so your student is rewarded each time he/she uses a replacement behavior rather than spitting. Acknowledge when the student is practicing appropriate alternative behaviors every time they occur.
  4. Implement your plan with your students for 4 weeks. If the strategies suggested are not helping, it may be necessary to seek more help and/or get a more in-depth behavioral assessment.

To learn more about implementing replacement behaviors to address purposeful spitting with your student with special needs, check out our YouTube video below and visit the corresponding special education resource page. For more special education resources, visit Watson Life Resources.