When we say crisis, we mean severe behavior problems a.k.a. 'Behavioral Crisis'

We are talking about behaviors that are happening right now. These crises are occurring in children and adults with special needs. During these kinds of crises you might see behaviors like hitting, kicking, trying to hurt one’s self and/or destroying the environment in a dangerous way. PCMA provides crisis management training for those working with children and adults with special needs in both educational, outpatient and residential settings. PCMA does not provide services to adult correctional facilities.

There is of course a wide range of crisis behavior, from a first grader throwing a severe tantrum to a fully grown adult that gets into a rage and starts to use any object at hand as a potential weapon in an attempt to damage the environment they are in, the people around them or even themselves.

Because there is such a wide range of crisis behavior, there is also a wide range of so-called 'solutions' on the market to control these crises.


At the PCMA we like to present the range of crisis and our potential solutions with the following 'Crisis Severity Matrix' to show that Individuals vary both in how easily they can go into a crisis and how damaging their behavior is.

Crisis Severity Matrix
Concepts like the Behavioral Crisis Severity Matrix can help an organization decide who, at what department, needs what kinds of Crisis Management Training.
Angry adult

For example, some individuals will begin hand-biting severe enough to draw blood if the chairs at the table aren’t exactly straight. This individual might be said to have a “hair trigger” for behavior problems and be very dangerous and they would fall in Level 4 in the matrix above. What about another individual who VERY RARELY has “tantrums” and flops on the ground and whines? Occasionally they slap at staff, but they aren’t strong and never injure anyone and for this reason the individual would fall in Level 1. Of course there are others who fall somewhere in between in terms of how easily they are upset or how dangerous they are, but this matrix covers most individuals.

There are a couple of approaches to crisis that are motivated by a fear of using restraint and those approaches involve response blocking and something called “room clears”:

At the PCM Association we offer solutions for the full spectrum of Behavioral Crisis Severity