Structured Choice to De-Escalate Child Behaviors in Special Education

Sometimes it can be difficult for students to transition from one activity to another, such as putting away toys when it is time to go home. In today’s Teacher Tips newsletter, the Watson Institute shares strategies to help you de-escalate child behaviors by using structured choice techniques. These techniques give the child a sense of control over a situation by providing choices and de-escalating the situation.

  1. Rather than using phrases such as “It’s too late” or “You can’t do this now, it’s time to go home,” try asking your student questions that provide him/her with choices.
    • For example, “When it’s time to play tomorrow, which toys are you going to choose, these legos or the art area?”
  2. Continue asking questions as your student replies, giving your student more choices such as where to place their toy in the room so they can play with it the next day.

To learn more about strategies to help de-escalate behaviors in your students with special needs, check out our YouTube video below and visit the corresponding special education resource page. For more special education resources, visit Watson Life Resources.