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.
Go to the Site Map for a full list of resources and activities!
- Plan physical activities for times when the student has the most energy.
- Provide simple, fun obstacle courses that the student is capable of completing.
- Provide daily opportunities and activities for children to use handheld tools and objects.
- Use songs with finger plays to develop fine motor skills.
- Use materials such as a non-slip mat under drawing paper, thick crayons, and thick handled paint brushes that are easy to grasp.
- Incorporate singing and dancing into many activities.
- Place objects in student’s hand to hold and feel.
- Let students practice swinging and hitting.
- When eating, let student make a mess to practice the motions of feeding and cleaning up.
- Give students blocks, clay, paper, pencils, crayons, safety scissors, play dough, and manipulatives to use.
- Plan daily physical activities, and take students outside to run, climb and jump around.
- Have students practice buttoning and unbuttoning, zipping clothes, and opening and closing a door.
- Use activities that involve cutting, pasting, drawing and writing.
- Model and use activities with drawing and writing tools.
- Use child-size tables and chairs in the classroom.
- Have a schedule for active and quiet times.
- Model and talk about healthy eating habits with students.
- Provide nutritious snacks and meals.
- Make parents aware of health concerns that could affect a child’s development (changes in growth, hearing, vision).
- Provide parents with information about health, medical, and dental resources.
- Use visual discrimination games such as “I spy”.
- Take “listening walks.”
|Cognitive Development (intellectual abilities)
- Use the student’s preferences and interests to build lessons (get input from parents).
- Allow student time to complete tasks and practice skills at own pace.
- Acknowledge level of achievement by being specific.
- Be specific when giving praise and feedback.
- Break down tasks into smaller steps.
- Demonstrate steps, and then have student repeat the steps, one at a time.
- Be as concrete as possible.
- Demonstrate what you mean rather than giving directions verbally.
- Show a picture when presenting new information verbally.
- Provide hands-on materials and experiences.
- Share information about how things work.
- Pair student with a buddy who can assist with keeping the student on track.
- Be consistent with classroom routines.
- Set a routine so student knows what to expect.
- Provide a visual schedule of activities that can be understood by the student (using photos, icons).
- Use a visual timer so student knows when an activity will be over and they can transition to the next task.
- Use age appropriate materials.
- 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.
- Do not overwhelm a student with multiple or complex instructions.
- Speak more slowly and leave pauses for student to process your words.
- Speak directly to the student.
- Speak in clear short sentences.
- Ask one question at a time and provide adequate time for student to reply.
|Communication Development (speech and language)
- Use large clear pictures to reinforce what you are saying.
- Speak slowly and deliberately.
- Paraphrase back what the student has said.
- Clarify types of communication methods the student may use.
- Identify and establish functional communication systems for students who are non-verbal.
- Reinforce communication attempts (e.g. their gestures, partial verbalizations) when the student is non-verbal or emerging verbal.
- Label areas in the room with words and pictures.
- Use sequencing cards to teach order of events.
- Provide puppets/pictures as props when using finger plays and songs.
- Develop a procedure for the student to ask for help.
- Speak directly to the student.
- Be a good speech model.
- Have easy and good interactive communication in classroom.
- Consult a speech language pathologist concerning your class.
- Be aware that students may require another form of communication.
- Encourage participation in classroom activities and discussions.
- Model acceptance and understanding in classroom.
- Provide assistance and positive reinforcement as the student shows the ability to do something with increased independence.
- Use gestures that support understanding.
- Model correct speech patterns and avoid correcting speech difficulties.
- Be patient when student is speaking, since rushing may result in frustration.
- Focus on interactive communication.
- Use active listening.
- Incorporates the student’s interests into speech.
- Use storybook sharing in which a story is read to student and responses are elicited (praise is given for appropriate comments about the content).
|Social and Emotional Development
- Use strategies to assist student in separating from parent.
- Set a routine in saying goodbye (such as finding a book to read).
- Value and acknowledge student’s efforts.
- Provide opportunities for students to play in proximity to one another.
- Provide opportunities for students to interact directly with each other.
- Work to expand the child’s repertoire of socially mediated reinforcers (e.g. tickling, peek-a-boo, chase, etc.).
- Explore feelings through use of play.
- Teach students to express their feelings in age-appropriate ways.
- Provide play activities that don’t require sharing such as art projects, making music (students have own instrument), and sand or water play.
- Ask students to imagine how their behavior might affect others.
- Have students make a “friend book” with students from the class.
- Comment on and describe what student is doing (be specific).
- 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.
- Put student’s feelings into words.
- Read books about feelings.
- 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.
- Teach students words for important people and things.
|Adaptive Behavior (everyday skills for functioning)
- Explicitly teach life skills related to daily living and self-care.
- Break down each skill into steps.
- Use visual schedules with pictures / icons to demonstrate each step.
- Plan experiences that are relevant to the child’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 nosewhen sneezing or coughing, and dental care.
- Find ways to practice personal care and self-help skills (using centers in the classroom).
- Provide opportunities for students to practice asking for help, feeding themselves, dressing, washing hands, toileting, and locating personal items.
- Provide materials that support self care such as child-size sink, toilet, coat rack, and toothbrushes.
- Teach and model rules and practices for bus safety, playground safety, 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.