Preparation of Special Materials
Some of the parents in my practice have worked with me to create materials to be used to help their children at school. My role is as a consultant, and we work together to make these materials understandable and useful. One child had a behavior plan that rewarded self-control with stars. His mother recognized it as a [report card] that had its own set of pressures, without necessarily supporting development. We reworded it to acknowledge his awareness of his needs and behaviors, emphasizing what he did (removed himself and listened from his desk away from the group, chewed on acceptable materials, noticed what the teacher was doing before he talked) rather than that he controlled himself and did not do unacceptable things. The shift to what he was to do, rather than what he was not to do, provided a positive focus for the teacher and the child.
Another parent was very concerned about her child's transition to middle school. Aaron learned easily and worked on grade level or above. He had previously been in a special education class because he was unable to remain calm and focused in the mainstream environment. He had tantrums or withdrew completely when overwhelmed. Prior to entering middle school he was maintained in the mainstream with an aide. Samantha:A Story About Positive Behavioral Support (Experimental Education Unit 1995) is an excellent video on the development of interventions for a very high functioning autistic child's full inclusion in the mainstream, utilizing a paraprofessional instructional assistant. It was used as a guide to develop interventions and support for this child. Aaron's adjustment, while acceptable in the elementary school setting, was still problematic. The additional stressors of the many more teachers and students in the larger, departmentalized middle school were of concern to the parents, the child, and the school district. His parents and I