Difficulties with language and communication
- Gain the learner’s attention before speaking to them (use the learner’s name or agreed cue), followed by a simple instruction eg, ‘Jack, stop’.
- Minimise use of abstract language (avoid sarcasm and figures of speech) and use literal language.
- Supplement spoken language with symbol communication eg, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).
- Be mindful of your body language - 70% of what we communicate is non-verbal.
- Be aware of what would be an appropriate tone of voice eg, calm, not too loud.
- Be aware of what would be an appropriate environment, consider noise, room temperature, lighting and room layout.
- Be aware of use of language - some learners may need a language rich environment, others may need it to be kept simple.
- Use photos to talk through what events may occur in the future.
Difficulties with imagination
- Use role play, drama and props (eg, puppets) to aid the development of the learner’s imagination.
- Read stories to and with the learner.
Anxiety in busy
- Prepare learner for change of activity or routine.
- Undertake small group and one-to-one tasks with the learner.
- Aim to create a calm and predictable learning environment.
- Clearly communicate expectations and boundaries.
- Use a visual timetable.
- Provide the learner with regular mentor support which may include adults or peers.
Sensitivity to sensory
- Use sensory breaks and snacks.
- Be flexible with uniform policy.
- Consider the learning environment eg, noise, room temperature, visual stimuli, proximity.
- Have a flexible approach to transitions eg, between lessons and to and from school.
- Provide the learner with access to a safe haven to prevent them becoming overwhelmed.
causing harm to others
and/or to self and/or
damage to property
- Use a consistent approach to managing individuals with ‘reasonable adjustments’ made.
- Try to understand the function or purpose of the behaviour eg, consider exceptions when this behaviour does not occur and use ABC charts to identify potential triggers of the behaviour.
- Communicate with families and staff about what might be happening at home (eg, divorce, bereavement, illness) and strategies that work or do not work for the learner.
- Agree a plan of action with parents and carers with regards to physical intervention.
- Develop a risk management or reintegration plan where appropriate.
- Implement preventative and de-escalation strategies eg, time out card.
- Provide the learner with access to a safe haven which can be used to reflect and de-escalate.
- Deliver interventions focusing on resilience, regulating and expressing emotions eg, the incredible fivepoint scale.
Limited attention span
- Provide the learners with regular, short breaks.
- Chunk subject matter and break tasks down.
- Use visual timetables.
- Use backward chaining: chain parts of the task together eg, allow the learner an opportunity to complete the end steps of tasks so they experience success and encourage the pupil to gradually complete more of the final steps of the exercise, until they can undertake the whole activity.
- Gain the learner’s attention before speaking to them: use the learner’s name or agreed cue.
- Ensure the learner has understood the instruction by asking them to state what they are expected to do.
- Use timers so learners know they only have to focus for a comfortable amount of time.
- Use individualised timetables.
- Rules of good listening displayed, taught, modelled and regularly reinforced.