A network to share best practices for children with special needs
1. Fluorescent lights bother me! It seems like they are blinking and/or buzzing and they make for extra glare on my paper. If you have a classroom with access to natural daylight (windows or skylights) please consider turning off the overhead lights at different intervals during the day. If this is not an option then try these cool light covers called Cozy Shades. My sensory system will thank you!
2. I might ask you to use the restroom a lot. It’s not that I physically need to go, but that my sensory system may be getting a bit overwhelmed in the classroom. The overhead lights, papers shuffling, the HVAC system churning, the cleaning chemicals the janitor used to mop the floor the evening before...I notice all of these things! Sometimes I just need a short break out of the classroom preferably somewhere quiet and/or doing something so I can move and allow my senses and body to regroup. You might try just giving me a note to take to the office instead, and you may want to think about creating a Chill Out Space for our classroom. My friends would like this too!
3. Sometimes it is really hard for me to look up at the board then back down to my book or paper. This is called a visual plane change and it can cause me to lose my place since my visual tracking and visual perception skills may be weak. You think I am not paying attention but I just get lost! It would really help if you used different colors on the dry erase board for different lines. This color coding can help me find my place easier. A slantboard on my desk may also help as it makes the visual transition easier and there is less glare on my page from overhead lights
4. My hearing is often super sensitive and I have trouble tuning out background sounds like in #1 & #2 above and sometimes I can’t differentiate between different sounds like the “ch” sound like in change vs. the “sh” sound like in shore. When our new school is built someday, I hope that every classroom will have a built in Audio Classroom Amplification System, but in the meantime, here is a more portable version from Califone that might help me tune in better. P.S. It is a great voice saver for you too!
5. Words don’t always make sense in my head when you just tell me to do something. If you can break it up into steps and especially give me a visual cue (like a picture or a schedule board) I can often process the information better. These fridge chips are great as they will stick to a magnetic surface. Just add pictures of what you need me to do!
On behalf of kids with special needs everywhere I thank you! I know I will have a much better school year if my above tips are put into action. I bet other kids may have other ideas too so I hope this gives them the opening to share here......