Thursday, June 11, 2015

Simple Visual for Change of Schedule

Sometimes students just need to "see" how the changes of a schedule will affect them.

During our standardized testing window, specials and lunch changed school-wide, which prompted a change in my reading and math blocks.  I had one student this year who mainstreamed for a large portion of the day, but she started her day with me to organize her schedule and any known changes, and then returned to me in the late afternoon.  Under normal circumstances, she knew when she would have time to "hang out with her BFF."

Although she is very bright, she didn't "see" when she was going to be able to have time with her best friend within all of our schedule changes.  This particular child is very high functioning on the autism spectrum and we have found that often writing things down helps her process information.  She was quite anxious about the multiple schedule changes and started to move into her "whiny" voice. This is usually a pre-cursor for more intense behavior (throwing books, tipping chairs, yelling), so if we can catch her during the "whine," we can usually prevent the major meltdowns.

I loved this intervention because it was "quick and dirty."  There is nothing pretty or fancy about it, but we completed it in about 3 minutes during our morning check in and it resolved her anxiety. When she started to whine about when she was going to have time with her friend, I simply asked her, "Would you like me to write down both afternoon schedules so you can see when you have time together?"  She said yes and then added her comments on when they could "hang out."

Quick and simple but very effective!