Talk About It Later Journal to Reduce Class Interruptions

  • Situation

    I have a student with high functioning autism in my class and he often gets stuck on something that happened and wants to tell me about it in the middle of a lesson or when I am talking with somebody else. He doesn’t seem to “let it go” unless I address it immediately, and if I don’t, he starts to whine and sometimes yell. Sometimes I just can’t take the time to discuss the matter when he wants to…any ideas?

  • Summary

    When a student insists on telling you something but just doesn’t understand that it is not appropriate to share at that time, it may help to have him write it down in a “Talk About it Later” journal. By doing this, you are acknowledging the student and giving him something proactive to do about having to wait to talk to you. Simply asking the student to write it down in his journal for discussion later, may relieve his anxiety and redirect him to journaling his ideas or concerns versus whining or crying. You just have to be sure to set a time later in the period or day to have him pull out his “Talk About it Later” journal and talk with you.

  • Definition

    A “Talk About it Later” journal is simply a notepad or journal that a student can use to write down things that he wants to talk to the teacher about at a more appropriate time of the day.

  • Quick Facts

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

    ability to write notebook or some type of journal

  • Process

    1. Find a notebook or journal and label it “Talk About it Later” Journal. (student can do as well)

    2. Explain (in very concrete language) to your student that when he wants to tell you something and you are unable to talk at that time, he can write it in his journal so you both remember to talk about it later.

    3. Tell him that when you cannot talk to him, you will ask him to take out his journal and write down what he wants to tell you and you will discuss it later. You may have to give your student a specific time that you will review his journal, for example “11:30” or before lunch line up.

    4. Reinforce the student for using his journal and be sure to give the student your attention later in the period or morning to take out his journal and discuss what was written.

    5. If student has access to an iphone or ipad, he can dictate his ideas on a notes page and pull it up when it is time to talk with the teacher.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    This resource was authored by Watson Institute Special Education Consultant, Lisa Plastino, M.Ed.

    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.