Community Trips & Challenging Behaviors Part 2

This is part 2 of a 4 part series during which I share some tips and suggestions for successful community outings in the face of challenging behaviors.  At the end of each post, there will be a FREE download to help you take this information and put it into action.

So, this post is all about the BEHAVIOR.  I know it can be an uncomfortable topic to focus on.  No one likes to talk about the times we, or our loved ones, are at their worst.  But, if we ask the right questions, it can truly help to diminish the likelihood we will have to deal with this potentially scary and dangerous situation in a crowded aisle in the middle of Wal-Mart.

I cover lots of questions in the handout, but in summary, we need to consider:

  1. Are there any triggers?
    • Crowds
    • Sounds
    • Smells
    • Temperature changes
    • Lighting
    • Key words or phrases
  2. What does the behavior look like?
    • Signs an annoying behavior may be escalating
    • Self injurious
    • Targeting others (staff or strangers)
    • Destruction of property
    • Targeting animals
  3. How long does it last?
    • From start to end
    • Follow-up outbursts
    • Recovery period

This video clip is about 10 minutes and addresses these issues in more detail and I share some personal experiences I have had with my own son, Jimmy, and some of my students.

I hope you now see the value in asking these often difficult and emotional questions.  Click on the button below to download the free list of questions to consider.

behavior download

 

Community Trips & Challenging Behaviors Part 1

There is a big push here in Pennsylvania to work more towards a true inclusive community.  If your loved one receives support services, there is a goal for these services being provided in the local community setting for 75% of that individual’s day.  It is a noble goal, and something that seems like common sense.  But, for those of us with individuals with challenging behaviors, it also sounds really scary.  We want to ensure that our loved ones are accepted as valued members of their community, but we also want them AND others to be safe.  So, what can we as teachers and service providers do to make this dream a reality?

This is part 1 of a 4 part series during which I share some tips and suggestions for successful community outings in the face of challenging behaviors.  At the end of each post, there will be a FREE download to help you take this information and put it into action.

Venn Diagram person

Part 1 of this series focuses on getting to know the person.  I am talking about REALLY getting to know the person.  This will take some time, but that is okay.  Especially if there is a history of struggles in the community, families will appreciate the fact you are willing to take a step back and really try to understand the situation.  This also means talking to lots of people:

  • the individual
  • parents
  • siblings
  • extended family
  • friends
  • community members who know the individual

Of course, all this is done with permission of the individual and the parents.  However, if we really want to understand why this behavior occurs and how we can be most successful, we need to gather information from as many sources as possible.

So, take a look at the list of questions I have provided by clicking here or on the image below.  You can never know too much about the person you are working with.

Getting to Know the Person download

Halloween Roundup

It is a holiday many of us fear as teachers.  There are so many differing opinions on this holiday.  What is and is not appropriate to teach?  And then there is all that candy!!  I’ve put together this group of resources, tips, blog posts and more to help you get through this spooky day.  So grab your pillowcase and Wonder Woman mask, and come along with me!  Just click on the pictures to go to that activity.

Math Resources

From Susan Jones Teaching, I found this group of 3 math counting games ready to download and print for free.  You will need to pick up a few things from the dollar store to make the most of these games, but would be totally worth it for something you could use year after year.

Who doesn’t love free printables. This pumpkin seed math activity is perfect for practicing counting with your kids. I love the idea of using real pumpkin seeds with it too!

From Grade School Giggles, here is a free pumpkin seed counting activity.  You will likely want to do some laminating to make these more durable, but then you will have them year after year.  Great activity for Thanksgiving as well!

FREE Boo Bump Halloween Math Game (Addition)

From SunnyDays, there is this super cute bump Bingo game.  Basically, the kids roll three dice, add the sum and cover the answer with their marker.  Just print and go!

ELA Resources

Pumpkin Book Report Ideas - Adorable pumpkin book report ideas for teachers, students, and parents.

From Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris, comes some great ideas for decorating your little pumpkins to look like your favorite story character.  Some really clever ideas here!

Slide1

From Special Needs for Special Kids (me ;)), I have a free cut and paste or tracing spelling free download to snag.  There are 2 differentiated versions.

Free Halloween Wordsearch Activity & Writing Prompts

For your older students, grab these awesome word searches from Tracee Orman.

Science Resources

halloween-science-experiment

From Literacy Lattes,  is a super fun and easy experiment you can do with all that left over candy corn.  The directions are well explained and there is a free lab guide to download.

Free Spider Activities

A Classroom for All Seasons, has this amazing free download that has some great spider activities!!  A nice resource for Halloween without actually teaching about the holiday.

Haunted Hallowe'en Hand Melt - happy hooligans

From Happy Hooligans, come this super cool (pun intended) experiment that combines fine motor and sensory experiences all in one activity.  There is a lot to learn with this seemingly simple set up.  Perfect for the upcoming spooky day!!

Art, Fine Motor, & Sensory

Easy No-Mess Pumpkin Art

From Teaching 2 and 3 year olds, I included this activity to address that sensory component so many of our special kiddos have.  I also like that is is fairly  mess free and allows for a lot of independence.  Finally, it in not dependent on strong motor skills.  Accessible for every ability level.

Slime, goo, GAK, silly-putty….Whatever you call it, goo is fun! These “Franken-Slime” cups are a great project to do with the kids. There’s a writing freebie and ideas for cross-curricular integration too!

From Grade School Giggles, comes this easy recipe for that all-favorite slime.  Again, the directions give great tips to make this mess-free and really plays into those sensory needs.  In addition, there are some free downloads to make the most of this activity by pulling in science, writing and more.

Here are 7 fun and exciting fine motor activities for fall. Perfect Halloween, pumpkin, and Autumn fine motor activities for kids in preschool, pre-k, tot school and kindergarten.

From Early Learning Ideas comes 7 fine motor bins you can easily set up for your classroom this month.  There are also 2 tracing templates to download for free at the end of the post.

Teaching About Halloween in Special Ed

Do You Teach Halloween??

So for years I was in an elementary public school setting that seriously frowned upon teaching anything relating directly to Halloween.  Kids were not allowed to dress up, and we did not have the parades around the track or parking lot I remembered as a kid.  I always respected this policy, but it also bugged me.  Why? There are a couple of reasons I think we should be allowed to teach about Halloween in a public school setting.

At the end of this post is a link to a FREEBIE to inspire you to teach about this holiday!!

  1.  There is a lot of history tied to this holiday.  Customs and traditions began long ago as a way people believed they were protecting their crops and families. history of halloween1

By the 1950’s the tradition of going house to house asking for candy began.

history of halloween2

Today, this is still a very important economic holiday for the United States.

history of halloween3

2.  The other reason I feel it is important to be given the option to teach about this holiday is that if you have a special ed class, especially that contains students with autism, this time can be confusing and scary.  trick or treating1

Putting a costume comes with all kinds of sensory issues for these special kids, and interacting with strangers in order to get a bag full of candy can lead to frustration and anxiety.  trick or treating2

If we could talk about these traditions in a safe and structured way in the classroom, perhaps more of our students with special needs would be able to enjoy trick or treating or simply dressing up as their favorite super hero.trick or treating3

So, I know there a lot of people out there who do not celebrate or believe this is truly a holiday.  However, I think there is a respectful and appropriate way we can teach about Halloween.  So, if you are allowed, would you teach Halloween?

If you are interested in a unit on this holiday, designed specifically for students with special needs, especially autism, click on the image below.

Halloween Unit 2

And now for the FREEBIE!!  Click below to download my Halloween Spelling booklet for FREE.

Halloween FREEBIE

Hygiene : YUCK!!

Teaching Hygiene Skills blog title

Ok, so I admit it.  As a teacher I hated teaching hygiene skills.  I am somewhat of a germaphobe.  I like things to be neat and clean.  Keeping track of 5-10 hygiene kits meant LOTS of mess and potential for germs to spread.  I felt I had to:

  • Make sure the bathroom was clean enough to practice tooth brushing
  • Make sure the kits dried out so mold and mildew did not grow
  • Keep students from painting with toothpaste and licking deodorant sticks

It was all more than I felt I could keep up with.

point to shirt

Oh, and track all that data.  Yep, these were IEP goals.

  • How much prompting was used? Was it faded?
  • Were the top AND bottom teeth brushed?
  • Did deodorant end up in the right place?  Under BOTH arms?

graph

As a mom of a son with significant needs, I hate having hygiene taught to Jimmy in school.  I feel, as his mom, I am best suited to teach him these skills.  I can ensure things are clean and can follow up with more care if needed. (I always brush his teeth myself after he is done.)  We also put deodorant on when it is appropriate, like getting dressed in the morning.

Ok, so I know what some of you are thinking:  “But, these things are often NOT done at home.”  This often occurs because the student has behaviors that impede the parents from being able to do this with their own children.  This happens more often than most people think.  For this reason, I do still advocate teaching hygiene skills in school.  Sometimes, we as teachers have more adult support and more strategies at our disposal to help deal with these difficult behaviors.  The goal should always be teaching the skills in a systematized way so that the student is then able to reach independence and  complete the task at home.  Sometimes this can take years.

So, I do still hate having hygiene taught in school, but I get it.  And, I am thankful for all the teachers out there, who may be germaphobes like me, who push through and teach our (my) kids to “stop licking the deodorant” and “don’t put that on your shirt.”

Here is a FREE social story to download and make this task a little less yucky :).  It is a social story about picking your nose.  Yup, we all have those students.

pick nose

Click below to download your FREE social story.  I also have an entire unit on teaching students about Good Hygiene in my TPT store.  It has almost 100 pages of material to help you teach this, oh so important, topic.

Better Get a Tissue booklet                                  Slide1