You are on page 1of 22

Prioritization: Begin with the Lifetime in Mind

Written and presented by Barbara T. Doyle, M.S. 2008

Lifetime Planning: Look Toward the Future
!

! !

It is never too early or too late to plan Start the planning at any age Consider five life areas:

Be sure to teach:
Home maker skills ! Tidiness, cleanliness, orderliness (remember labels help) ! Care for the property of self and others ! Home safety skills ! Use of home-maker technology: things that help people succeed
!

Where will he or she live?

How will he or she Earn a Living?

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

1 of 22

Employment Considerations: The Silver Lining?
Look to restrictive or repetitive issues: what or who does this person really like? Check your handout. ! Is anyone paid in society to do work related to this area of interest? ! Are there volunteer opportunities related to a liked activity, object, place, person, group, topic, etc.?
!

What skills are needed to achieve the most independent and successful life possible? Consider the skills required or expected for the workforce in general

Skills for the Future Workforce From Teaching the New Basic Skills, Murnane and Levy, 1996
! ! ! !

Teaching the New Basic Skills
!

!

Reading and math at grade 9 or higher Work in groups with diverse people Communicate, orally and in writing Use computers for simple tasks like word processing Solve semi-structured problems where a hypothesis must be formed and tested

!

! !

Found in Transition to Adult Living: A Guide for Secondary Education Available California Dept of Education, 2001from 515 L. Street Suite 270, Sacramento CA95814 Phone 916-445-4643 www.cde.ca.gov/spbranch/sed

Show how math skills Start Where and reading improve You Are your life ! Teach math and reading in daily life activities ! Teach the real meaning of numbers ! Put less focus on rote ABCs or rote counting 1,2,3,.....
!

!

Start early with banking skills such as a savings account or a checkbook for a reinforcement program Be careful of too much computer and “screen time”

Start Where You Are

!

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

2 of 22

Teach Relationship Skills

Who will be the important people in his or her life?

!

!

!

! !

List the important people, with birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates. Add favorite sports teams, flowers, activities for each person Put these important dates on the individual calendar Teach how to plan to make and give something for those occasions Making amends instead of “say you’re sorry!” Doing special and kind things for others for no reason, especially siblings

How will she or he contribute to the well being of others?

FUN!

Identify every member of the person’s team: formal and informal ! Every team member can contribute to the success of that person ! Remember to ask for help soon: Use the “Rule of Three” and the “Two-Minute Rule”
!

We are TEAMS!

The Rule of Three
!

!

!

If this is the third time you are having the same problem, ask for help before the next time. The first three times, you use your best ideas. After that, ask someone to observe and offer suggestions or record yourself for your review (confidentiality?) Don’t chew the gum in the bottom of your purse or pocket: get some fresh stuff!

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

3 of 22

The Two Minute Teaming Rule
The “disagree-er” gets two minutes to say what the disagreement is and why. ! No one can interrupt ! Everyone takes notes on the main points the person is making. The notes are read back to the group. ! Then the discussion resumes.
!

If you learn only one word of Japanese: KAIZEN Kaizen means continuous improvement involving everyone. Kaizen means preserve what is working well while focusing on what needs to be done next.
Adapted from Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, by Masaaki Imai

Unite teams with a discussion of these six life assumptions: We are all fully human. We all have thoughts and feelings, far beyond what we may be able to express.

Six Unifying Assumptions: Without communication, no one can be safe or successful. Everyone has a right to strive for a high quality of life. We should use only socially valid interventions.

What Does This Mean to YOU?
Work from the ASSUMPTION OF COMPETENCE Assume that there is always more “internal life” in a human being than what they are able to show us, even when they are babies and little children.

The capacity of human beings to develop is not defined by our limited definitions and conceptualizations (MR, DD, ASD, etc.) Please read: Movement Differences and Diversity in Autism-Mental Retardation: Appreciating and Accommodating People With Communication and Behavior Challenges
by Anne M. Donnellan, PhD and Martha R Leary, MA, CCC-SLP ISBN1-886928-00-2

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

4 of 22

What difference does it make?
!

!

!

!

Now that you have heard about the unifying assumptions, work with a partner, group or by yourself. Make a note or drawing about how you are going to change what you do, say, think, or believe Share your ideas with another person or group if you want Keep your notes or transcribe them on to your Plan to Change form as your reminder

Ten Essential Skills for a Wonderful Life
It is never too early or too late to start teaching these things! Take a look at your handout.

#1Eliminate Behaviors that are Dangerous
!

Identify Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Behaviors Dangerous to self or others now ! Potentially dangerous behaviors (do not cause harm now, but could in the future) ! Dangerous situations that we now control that present risk if the controls are not present

Use Only Safe Behaviors Plan programming to:
Eliminate behaviors that are a danger to self or endanger others ! Eliminate behaviors that can become or be misinterpreted as criminal ! Eliminate behaviors that could cause the person to be victimized ! Use the Safety in Society handout
!

Teach People to Work for Rewards
Encourages the person to use new skills ! Why not just verbal praise? ! What about “bribes?” ! Neurological effects of working for rewards include organization, focus, endurance, tolerance, and motivation (Sounds good!!)
!

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

5 of 22

Please!
Don’t use RESPONSE COST ! Don’t take away what the person has already earned. ! It increases anxiety even if it works in that moment. Anxiety is the enemy! ! It allows others to have too much power over the learner
!

Explosive/Noncompliant Children and Adults
Implementing collaborative Problem Solving (CPS)
! !

!

By Ross. W. Greene, Ph. D Center for Collaborative Problem Solving www.ccps.info

ISBN# 0-8077-2911-6

ISBN# 096167862-3

Prioritize the most serious behaviors to address
“Sort” behavior into four categories: ! Dangerous or potentially dangerous ! Stigmatizing ! Unconventional ! Conventional Look at the Behavioral Prioritization Grid

Teaming Activity
! !

!

!

Select a behavioral description from the list Share the description with a partner or small group. Tell which category you think this behavior belongs in and why. Other team members add their thoughts and ideas. No one is “right.” No “yes, but....” Discuss how the behavior would be viewed differently at different ages or in different places

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

6 of 22

Teaming Activity: Behavioral List
! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Spits on objects that other people use Screams in movies when no one else does Wears only spandex clothing Gives money to anyone who asks for it Does not clean hands well after the toilet Takes things from women’s purses Smells people’s hair Cuts food into tiny bits before eating

Keep Special Learners Safe:
!

Gym, lunchroom, indoor and outdoor recess and breaks, change of class: these might be the LAST times to withdraw support and supervision! Take a look at your Safety Handout

!

Everyone Needs to Know
!

HOW TO CALL 911 NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER CARRY ID CARD ALL THE TIME KNOW TO WHOM TO OFFER AND/OR TO WAIT UNTIL ASKED

ISBN## 1931128218-8

!

!

!

Create an Emotions Word Wall
Write emotion words on one side of the card and behavioral options on the other ! Helps people remain calm and “cognitive” ! Suggests what to do/say when feeling certain emotions or physical states ! Teaches to communicate with others and ask for help as needed
!

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

7 of 22

Use the Learning Profile
Many students learn from TV, Video, and DVDs ! Learning from video tape does not require social interaction and communication skills ! Keep it simple and show exactly what you want the person to learn with no extra information added.
!

A parting thought or two….
“ If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.”
Thomas Edison

“Above all, try something!”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The world is moving so fast these days that the person who says “it can’t be done” is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
Elbert Hubbard

For You
A poem for you based on “The Star Thrower” By Loren Eiseley

Thank you for all you do!
Barbara T. Doyle, M.S. Phone 217-793-9347, 793-4018 FAX Email: barbaratdoyle@att.net Website: www.barbaradoyle.com For book information: www.asdatoz.com

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

8 of 22

Working with Restricted and Repetitive Interests By Barbara T. Doyle, M.S., Clinical Consultant For education and sharing purposes Restrictive and repetitive interests and intense focus are diagnostic to autism spectrum disorders. These interests are sometimes characteristic of people with other special needs. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty sustaining attention to useful topics. We can engage their focus and attention in more topics if we make the restricted, repetitive interest an element of those topics, rather than constantly trying to “make them stop focusing on it.” Do not describe restrictive, repetitive, focused interests as obsessions, perseverations, or compulsions. Use this language to describe restricted, repetitive, focused interests: Intensely focused on… Really interested in... Likes… Enjoys… Knows a lot about… Wants to talk about… Likes to talk about… Fascinated by… Prefers… Is focused on… Questions to ask about restricted repetitive interests: Is the interest dangerous? If yes, discourage and redirect to other, related activities that share similar, safer components. Is the interest potentially dangerous? If yes, begin to reshape the interest in such a way that it becomes less potentially dangerous. Is it stigmatizing*? If yes, discourage and redirect to other related, activities that share similar, less stigmatizing components. (*Define a stigmatizing behavior as one that causes others not to want the individual to be allowed to be present.)

Barbara T. Doyle MS Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

www.asdatoz.com

phone 217-793-9347

Page 1 of 2

9 of 22

Considerations in working with and expanding restricted interests: If the restricted, repetitive interest is not dangerous and not stigmatizing, consider the following: • Are there any people who have similar interests in our society or elsewhere in the world? • Are there any books, magazines, websites, or other materials about this interest? • Are there any clubs, groups, or organizations that share this interest? • Are there any other children or adults who share this interest? • Is there anywhere in daily life where this interest could be utilized? • Is there a specialized environment in which this interest would appear more typical? • Is there a related interest that is more typical to which the individual could be guided? • Is there a way to make this interest a positive and note-worthy quality for the individual to display? • Is there a profession or job that includes aspects of this interest? • Could this interest be turned into a hobby, collection, or display? • Is there a way to gradually shape this interest to make it more acceptable or more like the interests of others? • Can the interest be gradually expanded to make it more productive? Practical ideas for maximizing restricted interests: Schedule opportunities in the visual schedule of the individual to engage in the interest. Reinforce the individual for engaging in the interest at that time. Use visual and/or auditory timers to let the individual know how long s/he may engage in the interest. Keep a note card with the individual. If the individual begins to discuss or engage in the restricted interest at the wrong time, write on the card the time and place where the individual will be able to discuss or engage in the interest. Show the card to the individual. Follow through. Use the interest to show others that the individual is smart and well informed. Use the interest to teach the individual to begin or sustain conversation with another person. Use the interest for an opportunity to engage a peer in an interest-related activity. Allow the individual to teach or tutor others in the area of interest. Make the interest a part of other unrelated activities such as writing about the interest in language arts, using the interest in artwork, or using the interest in mathematical word problems. Use the interest to teach new concepts and skills. For example, if the interest is roller coasters, use it to teach about size, weight, velocity, safety, social skills while waiting in line to have a ride, and money skills. Use the interest as a break, free time, or relaxation time. Describe the interest in the most positive terms possible. Help the individual expand the interest by exposing the individual to related topics, activities, and materials. Start a club and find others who share the interest. Write letters, visit libraries, or museums, view websites, or send for materials about the interest.

• • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

Barbara T. Doyle MS Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

www.asdatoz.com

phone 217-793-9347

Page 2 of 2

10 of 22

Kaizen
Kaizen: a method for identifying and celebrating what is working well. It helps us recognize where the whole team needs to put more focused attention and effort. Teams can quickly do a Kaizen at the beginning of each team meeting. What is working very well and needs to be protected= + What is not working as well and needs our attention at this time- ↑

Sample Kaizen

+
He comes to school on time, well rested Teacher in regular contact with parents Other students talking to him more since his Mother came to talk to the class He is making academic progress in most areas He seems happy and is healthy Entire team collaborating once per week Support team members meeting according to schedule with classroom teacher


He is still humming in class He often speaks to his peers with movie talk Sometimes late to class after bathroom breaks Math skills still below grade level Eats alone in the cafeteria

Plan of action:

www.barbaradoyle.com
Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

barbaratdoyle@att.net
11 of 22

Teaching Essential Skills for a Safe and Independent Life
Suggestions for Families, Staff, Administrators, Teachers, Medical Personnel, Specialists, Therapist, Legal Personnel and Others

Written by Barbara T. Doyle and Emily Doyle Iland, co-authors of Autism Spectrum Disorders from A to Z, Published by Future Horizons, USA 2004 And Los Trastornos del Espectro de Autismo de la A a la Z Published by Emily Iland, Inc., USA 2005 Visit them on their website at www.asdatoz.com
This information is intended as sharing to help teams plan more effectively. All decisions about individuals should be made by the teams supporting them.

All children and adults need to accomplish goals that result in safe and productive lives. Here are some guidelines for identifying and addressing essential life goals. 1. Use only safe behavior: Target the elimination of dangerous or potentially dangerous behavior • the criteria for institutionalization against your will and choice is: Danger to self, danger to others • could be misunderstood, viewed as a criminal, victimized • children and adults with ASD can be put in the corrections system or in jail • teach alternate behaviors for the person to use instead of the dangerous ones Be sure to teach • crossing the street with someone or knowing when to move forward into the street with someone else • moving away from danger • asking a trusted adult before doing something a stranger says to do • not to enter other people’s homes without permission • to stay away from bodies of water when they are alone List behaviors that the child or adult uses that are dangerous or could become dangerous. List alternate behaviors that should be learned.

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 1 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

12 of 22

2. Taking complete care of her/his own body: Everyone needs to be independent in the bathroom to the greatest extent possible • may not have as many job opportunities if have to be taken to the toilet • others usually prefer to live with someone who can toilet or bathe on their own (with the exception of physical disabilities) • being clean and smelling good makes us more acceptable in society (appearance is important) • potential for sexual abuse is VERY high among people with disabilities and caring for oneself helps to reduce that potential by having private activities done when alone. Be sure to teach: • rules regarding privacy for self and others • as much independence as possible in the bathroom and while dressing What skills in self-care does the child or adult need to acquire? Be specific. 3. Touching others and being touched appropriately: Who to hug, touch, kiss, and continue to talk to, or follow • “circle of friends” concept can be used to teach many different concepts, including concepts of touching • need to recognize different ways that they be subtly told to go away or stop touching the other person • need to be able to take “no” for an answer • need to be able to tell “NO!” and get away and seek help quickly • need to learn who to touch, how and when • need to learn who can touch them, how and when Be sure to teach: • what to do if you are not sure if someone should touch you or you should touch them, how to seek help or go to a safe place • how to move away from someone who does not want your attention • how to move away from someone bothering you and you need to get help What behavior and skills related to touching, being touched and showing interest in others does the child or adult need to learn? 4. Respectful use of property: How to touch or use other’s property and knowing how to ask first • asking can be verbal, gestural, printed, etc. does not depend on speech • need to learn how to tell “my” things from someone else’s, perhaps with a visual reminder at first • need to know how to use property properly and put it back in good condition

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 2 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

13 of 22

Be sure to teach: • some way to ask before taking something that belongs to someone else • some way to know the difference between your property and someone else’s • treating things with respect and care • replacing what you broke or destroyed How does the child or adult currently react to the property of others? Does s/he understand the underlying concept of property/possessions? What behaviors and skills does the child or adult need to learn in this area? 5. Knowing two different responses to give when people tell you YES or NO • won’t always develop automatically, but CAN be learned • use charts, social stories, choice-making charts, decision trees and videos • teach physical coping skills (deep breathing, stretching, walking, singing) • practice in many environments • practice for new social situations that may arise in the future Be sure to teach: • who to talk with to help you cope after receiving an undesired answer • how to move away and do something else when someone tells you “no” and remain calm How does the child or adult respond when someone says either yes or no when the child or adult wants to hear the other answer? What kind of coping/communication skills does the child or adult need to learn in this area? 6. Knowing from whom to get help, and how and when • need to be taught efficient and effective ways of getting safe, adult assistance in all settings • teach in each situation many different times until they get the concept or provide them with the information if the concept never develops • create rules (first ask a person with the store uniform or a name tag, for example) • have a system of identification that every child or adult carries. Teach when and how to give that to authority or helpers • teach each child or adult to carry a current list of all medications (amounts, types and times administered) being taken • need to know how to get help from authority figures or police officers, how to respond to their commands including how to remain calm while being questioned or physically searched by an officer

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 3 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

14 of 22

Be sure to teach: • the “signs” that mean the child or adult needs help • a way the children or adults can tell their name and address to persons in authority, tell that they need help that does not depend only on speech • an efficient way to and give information upon request by authority figures • whom to call to help them if they are having problems • how to decide who is safe to approach to ask for help in many environments Note: do not depend on the child or adult’s ability to speak in a crisis. Everyone’s ability to use speech and language decreases under stressful conditions. Use something written, taped on a tape or CD player, and/or carried in a wallet or purse. What does the child or adult do when s/he needs help in public? How does s/he identify who can help them? How does s/he ask for help? What skills does the child or adult need to learn in this area? 7. Learn to identify internal states and express them • describe feelings or sensations in terms of intensity and level of ability to cope • a problem coping is not a tantrum: language to describe is important here • need to become aware when they may be ill or uncomfortable and need medical help, and be able to communicate it to others • need to have a plan to avoid upsetting stimuli and find safe places in all environments for when they become overwhelmed Be sure to teach: • pointing or other symbol for something hurts inside • how to cover ears, dim lights, etc. to increase comfort level (Repeated exposure to something that you cannot tolerate does not make you able to tolerate it!) • how to move away from an unliked stimulus instead of moving toward it. • words, signs, or symbols to use. Practice using these signals during a time of low or no stress. Then apply it during emotional/highly stimulating situations • watch for situations and provide words/symbols for “You feel... (best guess).” “You need to.... “Be sure to provide rewards when individuals talk about internal states. • refer to the book How Does Your Engine Run by Williams and Shellenberger to teach self-regulation and self-understanding How does the child or adult identify internal states and communicate about them? What skills does the child or adult need to learn in this area?

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 4 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

15 of 22

8. Learning to express empathy, sympathy and caring • friendships become more intimate and meaningful as people share their feelings with one another; it is important to express feelings appropriately to the right person and be a good listener • while a person may be competent at a job, s/he will not be well-liked if s/he appears “cold” or uncaring. Negative perceptions can affect success on the job and in social settings • peers, school friends and workmates expect others to be sensitive to their feelings and needs • being a team player involves understanding and valuing the thoughts and feelings of others; this is a highly valued trait in education, sports and business cultures Be sure to teach: • that others have and express feelings “just like me” • that sometimes people feel the same things I do at the same time • that sometimes people are feeling a different feeling than me at the same time • that others like it when we care about their feelings • physical signs of emotion in others (body language, facial expression) and correct responses • “danger signs” when someone is angry and could get out of control and how to move away from that person • specific ways to show empathy and learn to comfort, such as offering a tissue to someone who is crying or getting them a glass of water • the boundaries and rules of expression of feelings: what can be shared, with whom and when How does the child or adult show that he understands the feelings of others? What behavior and skills related to empathy, recognizing and responding to the feelings of others does the child or adult need to learn? 9. Giving Negative Feedback: protesting, refusing, disagreeing While many people can learn to follow a sequence of events or a plan, they do not know how to appropriately express “negative” things such as • I don’t want to _______ • I don’t like ____ • I disagree with you. • I think you are wrong. • I won’t__________

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 5 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

16 of 22

Be sure to teach • how to identify the feeling when “negativity” is building up • to find a way to name and express the negative thought or feeling in a way that is not harmful • to choose and practice options for handling emotion in “negative” situations (practice in advance in supportive environments) • how to choose words that let someone know that you do not like what they are doing or saying, but you still like them In what situations is expressing negative feelings, protesting or refusing a problem for the child or adult? What skills does the child or adult need to learn to express negative feelings appropriately? 10. Making Plan B…Fixing situations and dealing with the unexpected • there will always be unexpected occurrences • people with ASD do not automatically learn how to change their minds or change plans • situations in which a new plan might be needed should be thought about in advance and practiced in supportive environments and then in the actual places those skills might be needed • these skills must be systematically taught, not just talked about Be sure to teach: • what “unexpected” feels like while it is happening • how to stop and say, “this is something unexpected” • how to consider several options that could fix the problem • to think about the options, and then choose one • to anticipate the “unexpected” and invent their own options in advance • that we can choose another option and we are still OK when something unexpected happens In what situation does the child or adult “fall apart” when something unexpected happens? What routines does the child or adult have that cannot be changed without upset? What skills does the child or adult need to learn to be able to cope with the unexpected?

Emily Iland phone 661-297-4205 www.asdatoz.com Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

Page 6 of 6

B. Doyle phone 217-793-9347 www.barbaradoyle.com

17 of 22

Safety In Society
Ideas provided for sharing and discussion only

Here are some “content” questions that call for more than a simple yes or no answer. Use these questions for discussions about safety. Add more as you think of them. Adapt the questions for age and for the individual. 1. Who can touch your body? What parts of your body? 2. Whose body can you touch? What parts of their bodies? 3. If someone tells you to touch or kiss a girl/boy and s/he will be your girl/boyfriend, what should you do? 4. When you like a girl/boy, what do you have to do to make them your girl/boyfriend? 5. If a girl/boy says to touch her/his body and it is ok with them, what should you do? What difference does it make if s/he is under age 18? 6. Is it ok to go into someone’s house if they are not home if they are your good friend? 7. If someone needs to borrow your money, what should you do? 8. If you see someone’s computer and want to be sure it working right, what should you do? 9. If you are in the mall and a friend tells you to take something without paying for it, what should you do? 10. If you are at the mall and someone says you took something but you did not, what should you do? 11. If you are arrested, what should you say to the police? What should you do? 12. When a girl/boy that you like says that they already have a girl/boy friend, what does that really mean?

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

Page 1 of 2

barbaratdoyle@att.net

18 of 22

13. How do you know if a girl/boy does not want your attention anymore? 14. If someone says they locked their keys in the house, and asks you to go in the window to let them in, what should you do to help this person? 15. When is it ok to open the teacher’s desk drawers? 16. If you are at home alone and the police come to the door and tell you to open the door, what should you do? 17. If you see a police officer arresting someone and it looks like the officer needs help, what should you do? 18. If you see two people who are having an argument, how should you help them? 19. If someone tells you to climb on something or jump off something that is high, what should you do? How do you tell if something is too high to jump from or climb on? 20. How do you know if someone is a “stranger?”

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

Page 2 of 2

barbaratdoyle@att.net

19 of 22

Behavioral Prioritization Grid Type of Behavior
Dangerous

General Description
Behavior is a threat to the existence or well-being of self or others, or will be in the future Behavior is viewed as unpleasant and/or socially inappropriate

Possible Outcome

Intervention Eliminate all dangerous behavior Eliminate or replace these behaviors

Institutionalization, hospitalization, arrest, incarceration, and or be killed Stigmatizing Causes others to believe you should not be allowed to be here, not allowed to return to some environments, not welcomed by others Unconventional Behavior is May become a perceived as odd, subject of undue unusual, not typical interest, treated as “different” or not included (until others understand)

Conventional

Behavior is considered typical, acceptable, appropriate

Educate others regarding the reasons for the behavior, help others understand different but OK and interesting The individual is Remember to perceived as promote and belonging and feels reinforce it! good about self

Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

By Barbara T. Doyle, MS www.barbaradoyle.com barbaratdoyle@att.net

phone 217-793-9347 www.asdatoz.com

20 of 22

CONSIDERATIONS IN PROVIDING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Information provided for sharing and planning purposes only

1) People with developmental disabilities may not automatically have judgment about danger
and dangerous situations such as heights, traffic, fire, falling, tools and implements, stairs, sharp objects, etc. Continuous supervision may be necessary to prevent injury. Identify, plan for and provide needed supervision. Goals and teaching methods used by staff and family should focus on teaching every person to identify dangerous situations and use related safety skills in all environments. 2) People with developmental disabilities may not be able to easily identify an internal state and find a way to describe it to another person. They may be sick or in pain and give NO typical indication, such as groaning, flinching or holding a sore part of the body. Behavioral changes may be a signal of internal distress, pain or illness. 3) People with developmental disabilities may not have a good feel for their own bodily temperature. They may want to wear heavy coats in the summer or try to go outside without shoes or socks in the winter. They may over exert during warm weather or stay out in the cold too long without enough clothing. Close supervision is necessary. Goals and teaching methods should focus on charts, lists, rules and other visual and memory devices to help the individual learn what clothes to wear for each weather condition and when to rest from exertion in the heat. 4) Children and adults with developmental disabilities may not be aware or able to describe physical comfort levels. Shoes may be too small and the person may not indicate any discomfort. Wristbands, neckbands and waistbands may be dangerously tight and the individual may not indicate discomfort or ask for help. Family/staff must look carefully at the bodies of people with developmental disabilities, checking for marks or redness that indicates that shoes or clothing may be too binding or uncomfortable. 5) People with developmental disabilities may not be able to tell the difference between food that is ready to eat and food that is dangerously hot. NEVER serve food to children or adults with developmental disabilities until it has cooled sufficiently and will not burn them. Keep hot foods and drinks away from people with developmental disabilities until they have safely cooled. Provide close supervision. Teach individuals how to check the temperature of food before putting it in their mouths. Teach them how to check the temperature of a bath or shower before getting in. 6) People with developmental disabilities may complain that food is too hot when it is barely warm from your point of view. They may complain that something is too freezing cold to drink, when it seems fine to you. Try to learn about the individual preferences and respect them. If the person thinks that the warm food is too hot, allow them sufficient time to eat so that the food can cool to the temperature the person prefers. Try to meet individual needs related to preferences as much as you can.

barbaratdoyle@att.net Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

www.asdatoz.com

phone 217-793-9347

Page 1 of 2

21 of 22

7) Do not think that because a child or adult with developmental disabilities has not ever done a particular dangerous thing that s/he never will do it. For example, if the child normally stays in the yard and does not go near the street, you cannot be sure that the child will never run into traffic. Provide intense supervision near traffic and in other dangerous situations, even if the child or adult has never stepped off the curb before. 8) Children and adults with developmental disabilities may not be able to read and anticipate the non-verbal signals of other people who intend to do them harm. They may fail to respond appropriately to a raised fist or an angry tone of voice. Provide careful supervision when people with developmental disabilities are in a group situation or in contact with people who can become aggressive or dangerous. Ask peers to help protect the individual. 9. Children and adults with developmental disabilities may not recognize items that are edible from items that are inedible. Provide careful supervision. Provide systematic training to enable the individual to learn what can and cannot be put in the mouth or consumed. Provide constant vigilance in the presence of an individual who eats or mouths inedible items. Provide edible snacks that the person can have in environments in which s/he may try to eat something inedible. Write social stories and make lists or charts about what to eat and what cannot be eaten in various environments. 10. Children and adults with developmental disabilities can become the target of bullying and may be unable to cope or respond appropriately. They can be victimized by others who prompt the child or adult with developmental disabilities to do something wrong in order to gain the “friendship” of others. It is very important for people with developmental disabilities to be properly supervised by adults whenever they are with groups of children or adults, particularly in places like a gym, the lunchroom, playground and break room. Creating a “Buddy System” of support for people with developmental disabilities in these situations can be very helpful but does not replace the need for attending adults. 11. Provide close supervision when using tools and implements like scissors even if the child or adult with developmental disabilities has never poked themselves or anyone else with an implement. Select goals to teach handling implements carefully and other safety skills. 12. Traffic areas can put people with developmental disabilities at high risk. Select goals and teaching strategies to teach stopping before the curb, asking for help to cross the street and other goals related to traffic. Be sure to teach entering and exiting a vehicle on the curb side and not in the street. 13. If possible, provide a safe fenced in outdoor area for play and relaxation for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Some local service organizations may help to provide the resources to create attractive and safe fenced in outdoor recreation and relaxation areas. Provide careful supervision outdoors.

barbaratdoyle@att.net Barbara T. Doyle – October 11, 2008

www.barbaradoyle.com

www.asdatoz.com

phone 217-793-9347

Page 2 of 2

22 of 22