Teaching Independence for Children with Special Needs

Visual Recipes: A Way to Increase Participation in Cooking Classes
Situation: 

I’m a Middle School FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher and I have a student with special needs in my class of 20 general education students.  She’s not disruptive, but she also doesn’t participate very much.  How can I help her get more out of my cooking classes?

Homework Bin: A Labeled Place to Turn In Assignments
Situation: 

I have a very bright student with Asperger Syndrome included in my general education math class who never turns in his homework.  When I talked with his mother about the situation, she insisted he always completes his homework and puts it in his backpack to bring to school the next day.  Sure enough, when I checked his bag, there was a bunch of homework assignments, completed but never turned in!  He wasn’t able to explain why he never gave me the homework and questioning him just upset him further.  The students know to drop their homework on my desk as they enter the class but I always remind them as they come in anyway.  What can I do to help him remember to give me his completed work?

“Build Your Own Schedule”: A Structured Choice Visual Strategy
Situation: 

I have a 3rd grade student in my Learning Support class who needs extra help with most academic subjects.  She becomes very resistant when I try to work with her on a one-to-one basis.  If I do get her to work with me, she only lasts a few minutes before she starts asking when we’ll be done or she refuses to work altogether.  How can I get her to focus and work cooperatively?

Toilet Training: Readiness Factors
Situation: 

My daughter is 6 years old and is not toilet trained. There have been so many other issues that we have not gotten around to this. Now that she is getting older and bigger I’m thinking we should tackle toilet training. How do I know if she is ready?

Center Time Savers
Situation: 

Help…all my students seem to arrive on different buses and times in the morning. What do I do with those early arrival kids while waiting for the later kids?

Environmental Cues to Help Transitions
Situation: 

My child’s team tells me that he is very dependent on a paraprofessional to transition in the lunch room, from recess, and in the classroom. How can they help him to be more independent and not just wait for the adult to tell him when to come and go?

Locker Organization Skills
Situation: 

I have a student who frequently comes to class without her textbook. If she remembers her book, she’ll ask to go back to her locker for her folder. She always seems to be forgetting some necessary material which means she’s missing valuable class time by returning to her locker so much. How can I help her remember to bring everything she needs to class?

Mini-Schedules: Church
Situation: 

Going to church is so stressful. My child is very noisy and fidgety, and keeps asking me when we are leaving. How can I make going to church less stressful for our family and those who sit around us?

Mini-Schedule: Getting Ready for Bed
Situation: 

My daughter takes FOREVER to get ready for bed. She is so easily distracted. I have to keep repeating myself and I often end up helping her with things that I know she can do by herself. How can I help her stay focused and be more independent?

Easing the Move to a New Home with Visual Supports & Choice Making
Situation: 

My son has autism and recently has be removed from his father’s house to go live with his grandmother. He may experience another change soon as I am hoping to get full custody of him.   In this case, he will move in with me. I realize this amount of change is difficult, and I would like some ideas to make his next move (hopefully with me) less stressful.   In addition, the move in with me would require a trip in a plane. How can I best prepare him for upcoming changes?