Always good to have a "hook" when working with students with emotional/behavioral challenges, so it was a happy coincidence that my longtime love of creepy crawly critters meant I could bring some really cool pets into my classroom.
Among other bonuses was the status change... "Those sped kids" became "the kids with the cool [fill-in-the-blank: snakes, rats, mice, tortoises, hissing roaches]".
It was a natural progression to incorporate "hissing roach privileges" into the classroom behavior management. The kids named the program themselves - Three Levels of Trust. Show Me, Supervised, and Total... the more self-control and "good choice" they demonstrated, the more independence with the bugs they could "earn". These kids knocked themselves out for this privilege, it was amazing to see and to be a part of the experience.
Hissing roaches as (successful!) therapy pets. Who knew?