Children with special needs are exactly that.Special. They learn and perceive the world indifferent ways than an “average” child.
A teaching style used one day, may not workthe next day.Creativity and Positive Techniques will helpteach new skills and behaviors, as well asassist in establishing a positive relationshipwith your consumer.
Try one of the following techniques with yourconsumer, and see if you notice the difference.
• A technique stating what feelings are being expressed, repeating and/or paraphrasing what was said.• Asking questions to obtain facts, and/or simply paying attention and acknowledging the person.
• When a child is exhibiting poor behavior, try to understand why they are upset before reacting.• Repeat back to them “You’re upset that the TV was turned off?”• Acknowledge their feelings.• Ask questions “Why does this make you upset? Do you need more time to finish your show next time?”
A technique that breaks a task into smallersteps where each step acts as a prompt for thenext step.
To teach a skill, like getting ready for school.Break it up into smaller tasks.• Wake up• Use restroom• Wash Hands• Brush Teeth• Get Dressed• Eat Breakfast• Get backpack readyOnce first task is mastered, add on the second one. Oncemastered, add on third, etc. Chaining will take time, but it can be very effective.
Signals to engage in behaviorThe signal provided by caregivers can include:• Gestures• Visual Cues• Verbal Cues• Verbal Instructions• Auditory Cues• Physical Guidance• Tactile Cues
Instead of having to repeat “lower your voice”,try having an established gesture, that means“lower your volume”.
Planned reinforcement of specific desirablebehaviors, while not reinforcing otherbehaviors.
Giving planned reinforcement for positivebehaviors – Giving a high five for helping put dishes awayMinimizing reinforcement for undesiredbehaviors – Don’t give reactions to undesired behaviors, it supports the idea that they’ll get attention for doing those things
Teaching a person to behave differently basedupon the situation and environment. Vs
Taking the child to the library and a park andshowing them how to behave appropriately ineach setting.• It’s ok to run and play at the park• At the library, we need to whisper and walk slower than at the park
Creating environments that will make it morelikely that the person will succeed.
A messy environment can make it hard toconcentrate, learn, or have a calm demeanor.Try to avoid:• Clutter• Loud noises• Other people• Pets• Electronics• Not enough space
Gradually reducing or withdrawing the amountof assistance given to an individual
Start with complete assistance, and graduallygive less and less.• Complete assistance- Tying their shoes• Verbal instructions- Telling them how to tie• Verbal cues- Giving clues “Bunny Ears”• Gestures-• Reminders- “Don’t forget to pull tight”• Independence!- GREAT JOB!
• A series of strategies to teach the person to display the behavior in all circumstances or situations where the behavior would normally or naturally occur.
At home, we wash our hands before we eat,before we prepare a meal, after the restroom,and whenever they are dirty.We teach this principle at home. When we goout to a restaurant, the same principles apply.We still need to wash our hands before we eat.The same principle can be used in more thanone situation.
A technique that starts with the guidancenecessary to support or assist the person incompleting a task and gradually provides lessassistance as the person demonstrates greatercompetence.Assistance Independence
A child has demonstrated that they can washtheir own hair in the bath.If they get in the bath, and forget what to dowith the shampoo bottle, instead of doing it forthem, help them along until they rememberhow to do it themselves. This could includehand-over-hand, verbal cues, or gestures.
Applying these positive teaching techniques: Active Listening Chaining Cues/Prompts Differential Reinforcement Discrimination Training Environmental Manipulation Fading of Cues/Prompts Generalization Training Graduated Guidance Will help create a positive learningenvironment for both you and your consumer.