Center Engagement for Students with Challenges

  • Situation

    I have some students in my classroom who have autism and other diagnosed disabilities. Two of my students are non-verbal and have difficulty staying with the centers I have for other students. In addition they are non-readers. What kind of centers can I have? They can match and we do many relevant life skill activities but I don’t know what to have for centers.

  • Summary

    When students have challenges and are unable to engage in classroom centers that are difficult, develop and/or adapt centers that meet the abilities of the students, have home or community relevance, and can be taught to a level of independence.

  • Definition

    Center Engagement for Students with Challenges means developing and/or adapting centers that have home or community relevance and meet the abilities of the students so they can be taught to a level of independence.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    strong knowledge of student’s skills materials to make tasks

  • Process

    1. Using the student’s IEP and your knowledge of student skills, begin to brainstorm an independent activity that will have relevance for the student at home and in the community – for example – if the student is able to match objects:

    • Use bins or see through shoe holders and place clothing items such as different colored socks in each container – the student locates the matching sock and places in bin
    • Use the same bins and have the student match bathroom items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, washrags, mouthwash into corresponding containers

    2.  Look at your existing centers and brainstorm how to make it independent and meaningful for the student– such as;

    • a language master with words – replace with picture language master cards that may have categories of pictures from school, home, community – commercial kit examples include: sight words, telling time, food words, survival words
    • A commercial book on tape may now be a recorded as a favorite picture book with a familiar voice and his name throughout
    • An art center with a difficult project may be a paper using bingo daubers which are motivating to the student
    • A reading center may change into a scrapbook area matching student names or, if doable, matching sentences to a picture
    • Or placing lunch tickets into student name and picture holders

    3. The most important aspect of the center is to make it visually understandable and ‘doable’ for the student with a clear beginning and end.

  • Documents and Related Resources