Wow I have been dealing with a lot of kids with high anxiety lately. Anyone else been having that issue? I don’t know if it’s the weather or what, but it just seems like a lot of my students are really struggling right now with trying to stay calm and in control. One way to help students relax is to teach them a variety of coping skills when they are calm so they can use them when they are in crisis. I talked about progressive relaxation in my last post as one of those tools. I wanted to focus today on a new product I developed to help students learn to practice deep breathing and self-control.
I Can Stay Calm is a combination of social narratives and visual supports (both evidence-based practices) designed to help students contain excitement and stay calm, calm themselves when they are angry or frustrated, and remember that they can ask for a break (which is part of functional communication training, also an EBP, that I will talk about in detail in later posts).
social narratives regarding using a calm down routine to be ready for class, to
calm down when excited, before being aggressive and asking for a break. A
social narrative is a version of a story that gives information to students about their behavior, others’ perspectives, and coping strategies for handling difficult information. We use them to support students with autism and I use them with a variety of populations for which I’ve found them to be quite helpful, including typical individuals.
picture on each page and an identical story in which the whole story is
contained on 1 page with a picture for each idea next to the line. Which one you use at what time will depend on
the needs and developmental level of the student as well as the situation. Younger students typically do well with the
multi-page stories but could use the 1-page stories as quick reminders in the
addition to the stories, there are visual supports included for cueing a
relaxation deep breathing sequence, a calm-down strategy before entering class,
and pictures that can be used for choice boards for activities during break
time, including a variety of sensory activities as well as reinforcing or
exercise-based activities. Finally there
are multiple copies of a break card with a picture and without a picture. These can be used for students to request a
break and correspond to the “I can ask for a break” social narrative. Breaks are best used when they include
scheduled activities. The visuals for exercise and activities can be used to
either choose or structure activities for a break.
Until next time,