a few tips when things have moved backwards

Strategies and supports to keep in mind in times of stress- (a few things I always keep in mind)

  • Of course, check the behavior plan. If proactive strategies have not been put in place shame on you, admit your mistake, apologize, and start again fresh the next day
  •  Check body language and facial expressions- make sure you’re not increasing anxiety by “reacting” to her behavior
  • Remember those positive interventions- don’t argue, disagree, threaten, coax, or correct if Belle is in “starting out” mode.
  • Use less verbal interaction, but don’t ignore-“I’m here, I’m listening, I expect you to take a break and come back when you’re ready to work”
  •  Use “I” statements- “I’m concerned…”, “I’m afraid we might not have time for____” etc.
  • Model calm, quiet interactions (along with a few deep breaths)- move away from the intense situation, offer to walk with her, talk quietly, voice that you would like to help her but don’t know how.
  •  Go back to social stories and comic strip worksheets to discuss 6th hour during the calmer part of the day so that you are all prepared with alternatives if Belle feels crowded, teased, closed in, ever stimulated etc  You can even role play!
  • Work on theory of mind regarding positive emotions and situations when things are going well- why does a teacher/student/aide feel happy/proud/relaxed?
  • Show don’t tell- it’s a rule in creative writing and creative behavior support
  • Always respect her autism-everything is about her- her complaints, her accusations, her stories, her issues, her words, her reactions- it’s all about her! Not you and not you’re students- don’t take anything personally.
  • Remember the basics of behavior- **you are not stopping behavior or teaching a lesson in the moment you are working to prevent it in the future. **We can only make a guess on the purpose of a behavior- we guessed at attention, we may be wrong. Now we can take a look at escape or sensory and go from there. If the purpose is escape then removing everyone from her table will reinforce the bad behavior, but if it’s escape and we give her alternatives to the table that she can choose then we’re respecting her needs and agreeing on a solution.
  • Less verbal =more successful communication
  • Remember to update the reinforcement menu and recheck the criteria for points in each hour weekly. In 1st hour she may be getting points for sitting for a certain number of minutes, compliance with games and worksheets, social interactions, and calm talk with interrupting (because she’s fresh, there are less kids, there’s less noise, she’s not bored or exhausted, etc etc) so what is the criteria for 6th hour? Sit at her desk instead of the group table? At the table for 5 minutes, not interrupt for 5 minutes, not expected to do group games with that many kids, but expected to do 2 worksheets or independent social studies research? List the criteria, make it clear to Belle and give points accordingly.
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