It is important to implement strategies that address the needs of the individual. We recommend that you apply these strategies across home, school, and community contexts.
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|Learning & Academics
- Use short and simple sentences to ensure understanding.
- Repeat instructions or directions frequently.
- Ask student if further clarification is necessary.
- Keep distractions and transitions to a minimum.
- Teach specific skills whenever necessary.
- Provide an encouraging and supportive learning environment.
- Use alternative instructional strategies and alternative assessment methods.
- Explicitly teach organizational skills.
- Keep conversations as normal as possible for inclusion with peers.
- Teach the difference between literal and figurative language.
- Direct student’s attention to critical differences when teaching concepts.
- Remove distractions that may keep student from attending.
- Increase difficulty of tasks over time.
- Teach student decision-making rules for discriminating important from unimportant details.
- Use strategies for remembering such as elaborative rehearsal and clustering information together.
- Use strategies such as chunking, backward shaping (teach the last part of a skill first), forward shaping, and role modeling.
- Use mnemonics (words, sentences, pictures, devices, or techniques for improving or strengthening memory).
- Intermix high probability tasks (easier tasks) with lower probability tasks (more difficult tasks).
- Use concrete items and examples to explain new concepts.
- Do not overwhelm a student with multiple or complex instructions.
- Be explicit about what it is you want the student to do.
- Do not assume that the student will perform the same way today as they did yesterday.
- Ask student for input about how they learn best, and help them to be in control of their learning.
- Put all skills in context so there is a purpose for learning certain tasks.
- Involve families and significant others in learning activities.
- Develop a procedure for the student to ask for help (e.g. cue card, raising hand).
- When it appears that a student needs help, discretely ask if you can help.
- Be aware that a student may be treated with medications that could affect performance and processing speed.
- Maintain high yet realistic expectations to encourage social and educational potential.
- Proceed in small ordered steps and review each frequently.
- Emphasize the student's successes.
- Consider alternate activities that would be less difficult for the student, while maintaining the same or similar learning objectives.
- Provide direct instruction in reading skills.
- Offer "standard" print and electronic texts.
- Provide specific and immediate corrective feedback.
- Encourage students to use relaxation and other stress reducing techniques during exams.
- Allow more time for examinations, tests, and quizzes.
- Show what you mean rather than just giving verbal directions.
- Use visual supports when relating new information verbally.
- Provide the student with hands-on materials and experiences.
- Break longer, new tasks into small steps.
- Demonstrate the steps in a task, and have student perform the steps, one at a time.
- Address the student and use a tone of voice consistent with their age.
- Speak directly to the student.
- Avoid long, complex words, technical words, or jargon.
- Ask one question at a time and provide adequate time for student to reply.
- Use heavy visual cues (e.g. objects, pictures, models, or diagrams) to promote understanding.
- Target functional academics that will best prepare student for independent living and vocational contexts.
- Provide frequent opportunities for students to learn and socialize with typically developing peers.
- Involve the student in group activities and clubs.
- Provide daily social skills instruction.
- Directly teach social skills, such as turn-taking, social distance, reciprocal conversations, etc.
- Break down social skills into non-verbal and verbal components.
- Explains rules / rationales behind social exchanges.
- Provide frequent opportunities to practice skills in role-playing situations.
- Provide opportunities to practice skills in many different environments.
- Serve as a model for interactions with students.
- Value and acknowledge each student’s efforts.
- Provide many opportunities for students to interact directly with each other.
- Work to expand the young child’s repertoire of socially mediated reinforcers (e.g. tickling, peek-a-boo, chase, etc.).
- Ask students to imagine how their behavior might affect others.
- Specifically comment on and describe what the student is doing.
- Model tolerance and acceptance.
- Provide opportunities for students to assume responsibilities, such as distributing papers.
- Teach other students to ignore inappropriate attention-seeking behaviors.
- Have other students (who demonstrate appropriate behavior) serve as peer tutors.
- Be aware that some students may work better alone.
- Carefully consider and monitor seating arrangements in the classroom.
- If student is motivated by adult or peer attention, find ways to recognize positive contributions.
*Social Stories can be used to teach social skills to children with such disabilities as autism or intellectual disability. A situation, which may be difficult or confusing for the student, is described concretely. The story highlights social cues, events, and reactions that could occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected, and why. Social stories can be used to increase the student’s understanding of a situation, make student feel more comfortable, and provide appropriate responses for the situation. We recommend that you incorporate visuals into the stories as well. These visuals can be drawings created by the student, imported images from Google, picture symbols / icons, or photographs.
- Ensure that the student has a way to appropriately express their wants and needs.
- If the student is non-verbal, identify and establish an appropriate functional communication system (e.g. sign language, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), voice output, etc.).
- Understand that picture schedules and functional communication systems are NOT the same thing; they do not serve the same purpose.
- Develop a functional communication system that is easily portable.
- If the child is non-verbal, ensure that the child has access to their communication system across all contexts, all of the time.
- Reinforce communication attempts (e.g. their gestures, partial verbalizations) when the child is non-verbal or emerging verbal.
- Paraphrase back what the child has said or indicated.
- Label areas in the room with words and pictures.
- Use sequencing cards to teach the order of events.
- If you do not understand what the student is saying, ask them to repeat what they have just said.
- Ask student to show you how they say “yes” and “no” – and then ask yes/no questions.
- Engage students in role-plays to target reciprocal conversation skills.
- Program for generalization of communication skills across all contexts.
- Use large clear pictures to reinforce what you are saying.
- Speak clearly and deliberately.
- Paraphrase back what the student has said.
- Clarify types of communication methods the student may use.
- Reinforce communication attempts (e.g. their gestures, partial verbalizations) when the student is non-verbal or emerging verbal.
- Provide puppets/pictures as props when using finger plays and songs.
- Develop a procedure for the student to ask for help (e.g. raising hand, signal cards).
- Speak directly to the student.
- Model clear speech and correct grammar.
- Establish easy and good interactive communication in classroom.
- Consult a speech language pathologist concerning your class.
- Be aware that some students may require another form of communication.
- Encourage participation in classroom activities and discussions.
- Model acceptance and understanding in classroom.
- Use gestures that support understanding.
- Be patient when the student is speaking, since rushing may result in frustration.
- Focus on interactive communication.
- Use active listening.
- Incorporate the student’s interests into conversational exchanges.
- Use storybook sharing in which a story is read to the student and responses are elicited (praise is given for appropriate comments about the content).
- Break down / task-analyze skills into steps.
- Model targeted skills, then provide practice opportunities.
- Use visual schedules with pictures / icons to demonstrate each step.
- Systematically fade prompts to promote independence.
- Teach occupational awareness and exploration, as appropriate.
- Teach material in relevant contexts.
- Reinforce students for generalizing information across material or settings.
- Provide many opportunities for students to apply information they have learned.
- Explicitly teach life skills related to daily living and self-care.
- Plan experiences that are relevant to the student's world.
- Find ways to apply skills to other settings (field trips).
- Minimize distractions and the possibility for over-stimulation.
- Teach and model personal hygiene habits such as washing hands, covering mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and dental care.
- Arrange the environment so students have many opportunities to practice personal care and self-help skills.
- Teach and model rules and practices for bus safety, safety outside, staying with the group, and safety in the classroom.
- Teach students to provide personal identification information when asked.
- Teach and model procedures for dealing with potentially dangerous situations, including fire, severe weather, and strangers.
- Model desired behaviors, and clearly identify what behaviors you expect in the classroom.
- Use behavior contracts or token economies if necessary.
- Ensure consistency of rules and routine.
- Reinforce desirable behaviors that serve as alternatives to inappropriate behaviors.
- Ensure that the student knows the day's schedule at the start of each day and can reference schedule throughout day.
- Have a "hands to yourself" rule to respect personal space of all students.
- Ensure understanding of all assignments and tasks (and materials needed).
- Ensure consistency of expectations among all staff.
- Create a structured environment with predictable routines.
- Create a visual / picture schedule with daily routine.
- Allow students opportunities to move during instruction.
- Use visual organizers to help the student evaluate appropriate alternatives to maladaptive behavior.
- Create a “calming area” or a “sensory area.”
- Explicitly teach and practice coping, calming strategies.
- When dealing with conflict, explain what happened in as few words as possible and use a calm, not-angry voice.
- Point out consequences of the student’s behavior.
- Brainstorm better choice(s) with students.
- Use language to describe feelings and experiences.
- Explain your reasons for limits and rules in language that students can understand.
- Model the benefits involved in cooperating.
- Use natural consequences when possible to reinforce cause and effect involved in a rule, request, or limit.
- Behavior management techniques can be used in the home, school, and community settings. Functional Behavior Assessments/Behavior Intervention Plans can be created by examining a student's specific problem behavior, identifying antecedents, understanding consequences that maintain the behavior, and developing strategies to reduce the inappropriate behavior and increase desirable behavior.