Information for parents of disabled children

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Art of Creative Thinking

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Behavior strategies can be creative. There's no law against it. In fact, some professionals even encourage creativity with behavior issues. I thought I'd take a minute to blog about some strategies that I've seen work.

Making a team- Several kids I know need serious help during a meltdown. A meltdown, which any veteran survivor of special education can tell you, is the moment after the moment when a kid has had way too much. You can write a team approach into your behavior intervention plan. Who works with your child best? A teacher? A coach? You simply write up a game plan for dealing with a meltdown and those are the people you put in the game.  The goal is always the same; Get the student passed the meltdown and calm, then you move on to the business of his day.

One-on-One- Schools don't want to do it because they just can't afford it too often, but it does work. One aide to manage one student is sometimes called for when interventions will be intensive and of long duration.  This is likely something a parent has to put on the table. Don't wait for a teacher or administrator to put it out there. You could be waiting a while.

Give Sign a Try- I know all the arguments. It's not widely used. Others won't know how to talk to them. Okay, I get it, but communication is the biggest stumbling block there is for a child with Autism especially. I have two responses to the argument drawn from my own experience and philosophy. First, my experience is that it really reaches kids who work better tactilely or visually. Second, my philosophy is that people need to stop being lazy in our society. If you are in a social situation with a sign speaker, then get off your bum and learn some! Could I have put that more diplomatically? Yeah, but what fun is that?

These are by no stretch of the imagination the only creative interventions you can use. These are examples only. Parents drive the case conference committee, and while some educators disagree with me that it should be that way, it's the way it is. Think about it. Every other person at that table has multiple other students to work with this year. Yours isn't the only one. You are the only member of that committee who is exclusively focused on your child. A teacher doesn't live with the result of that committee's hard work. The family does.
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