The regular year is drawing to a close. The weather is different than when you started back in September or August (or even July in a few districts). The week before letting students out for winter break is a different sort of week.
There are gifts at this time of year. Some from student to adult. Others are from student to student, and still there are even gifts from adult to adult. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes: a hand written thank you note from a student or the student’s parents, a gift card, a hand shake or fist bump, a smile, or better yet, those missing assignments.
But it’s also the time of year that comes with some difficulty for students with disabilities. Navigating social cues on how to give a gift or how to interact with a social situation are not easy with so many people in so many different settings. After all, this is a season that is about being together, usually close together, with people we may not always see.
- Prep before the event. Get the band concert to play a private concert for the students who have issues with sound. Teach the class it’s polite to clap after every song. Give them a seat on the end so they can get in and out quickly. Explain that we all share at the table at this time of year.
- Have an out. Why is this second on the list? Because planning the out in case of emergency is pretty important. Not just for the student who may become overwhelmed and have a tantrum or need a different sort of stimulus, but when the classroom is rearranged the usual paths for students who may use a wheelchair or walker is suddenly narrowed. It is all too easy to get stuck and not know how to get a student out if necessary.
- Demonstrate preferred behaviors. “Thank you” and “please” are always welcome.
- Never under estimate the importance of the written visual schedule, especially when things are going to be unusual. Stay with behavior support plans. Follow rewarding procedures.
- Enjoy the slow down. You’ve worked hard. Partake in a few bites of something you normally possibly do not always eat. Wear the bead necklace that the students gave you.
- Have fall backs. That holiday bingo game not working out? Pull out a familiar bingo game. Or Uno. Teach those social skills of playing can be fun and games are not always about winning.
Enjoy the winter break. ParaEducate will be back to help you in 2016.
This the last blog for 2015! ParaEducate will return January 14, 2016. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.