Partner with the Parent(s)
Mr. Chris's approach is to first create a trusting partnership with the parents. Mr. Chris will collaborate with the parents in a way that the parents' concerns and opinions are valued and incorporated into the personalized program created for their child.
As a parent, you do not work alone and, in special education, teamwork is key to child/adult's success.
Communication is always important. At the beginning of the program, a communication plan will be created. The plan will include when Mr. Chris will provide updates on your child, as well as the frequency and content of these updates. Parents know the best ways and times to contact Mr. Chris while incorporating some flexibility into his availability. Mr. Chris will always be respectful of parents' opinions, needs, and ideas. Mr. Chris is aware that parents have different levels of familiarity and comfort with the process and may need different levels of explanation.
Build with the Student
Create a safe space where child/adult can express themselves.
Fostering an environment of inclusion is vital.
Specific Strategies Include
Depending on the developmental level of the child/adult, here are just a few of the strategies Mr. Chris will utilize:
Chunking is the process of breaking up large amounts of information into small units. This strategy helps children/adults commit information to their long-term memory. Mr. Chris ensures they master each smaller skill before moving on to the next.
Use guides with pictures to demonstrate each step of a skill. For example, to help children/adults learn how to appropriately wash their hands, pictures showing each step will be used.
Generalization of Skills
Although children/adults practice with picture prompts and examples they can relate to, Mr. Chris will help them generalize skills by practicing in different locations and using different products. For example, after students have mastered washing their hands in one location, expose them to other locations and various types of soap and paper towel dispensers.
Modeling and Practice
Model how to perform certain personal care skills. Usage of videos of other children/adults in their peer age group modeling the skill as well as offering plenty of opportunities to practice the skill.
Mr. Chris will teach the last step first, then the second last step and so on. So, Mr. Chris will do all the steps except for the last step and get the child/student to do the last step. Backward chaining is more fun for the child/student, because it helps them feel that they completed the activity.
Help the child/student practice their skills every single time they do
Shaping is when Mr. Chris rewards and appreciates the child/student when they are approximately able to do the task. It means that Mr. Chris doesn't look for perfection.
Grading is when Mr. Chris gives a simple activity to start with, and slowly increases the complexity of the task. Some examples of grading are – using a large comb, teaching buttoning on large buttons, teaching dressing with over-sized clothes.
Sometimes planning lessons or an independent living skills curriculum is not enough. Some children with special needs, especially children with physical disabilities may need to be taught an adapted way of performing the task. They may also benefit from some adaptive equipment.
Adapting the environment:
Some adaptations in the environment that can help are a bath chair or a low sink. Keeping the clothes and other belongings of the child at an accessible height will promote independence.