This blog is for you only if you are a provider who is seeking to see real change in every client.
Obviously, who does not want to alter the lives of the patients working with.
When working with children facing unique challenges, whether developmentally, behaviorally, physically, emotionally, or all in one we are sometimes in for real fun.
If children are great at giving their caretakers a run for their money, children with special needs are the queen experts at it. Keeping them engaged throughout the session is the hard-to-find key to progress.
So, bottom line, how can we get every client to cooperate and stay focused?
First, we must understand every child’s core functions that may lead to any insecurities, so we know how to better address it. Those may be some of the subconscious thought racing through their mind as you enter the room.
I don’t know what will be happening.
Don’t tell me what to do!
How long will this take?
This is going to be BOOOOOOOOORING!
I want to play… I don’t want to do what she tells me!
I am stronger than her and I do not want to reach her goal.
Before seeking progress, first and most importantly we must get them hooked to like the time spent together.
Some easy or not so easy tips you can implement to engage you clients.
- Create a Routine for Your Sessions
When children can expect what will be happening it gives them a sense of being in control of things. Additionally, children to not own the concept of time. You know your session will take 45 minutes. They do not. This can make your stay seem endless for some clients. Organizing a structure for your sessions with the same schedule each time can make them figure it out. They can predict that you start out with a song, then continue to a book, then do the daily exercises. Especially if you are mindful to use the same transitioning words each time. This is almost as good as saying “Another five minutes and we’re done”.
For little minds, jumping from colors to numbers to the next teaching can become a jumble in the brain. A daily theme keeps the children focused. They can follow you better because it makes sense to them. Preparing a learning theme can make the preparation for your lessons more tasking but the results are worth it. Say, you choose to designate a session on Ducks. You sing a song about ducks, show a number book about ducks, tell your client to count the ducks, ask which color the ducks are – the child can make progress in the learning while your theme is keeping them hooked.
Most special children will not cooperate with a stranger whom they do not trust. The solution? Make little friends! Give them the little tickle, huggie and friendly greeting before starting out.
- Do Not Engage in Tantrums
If you do not know the sight of a kid sprawled on the floor with ear wrenching shrieks, you are absolutely unique or rather, you are NOT a Special Instructor. And oh, if you talk to the child and they just come join you to cooperate – hats off for you.
Pleading, begging, talking. It is for naught. Teaching? Go for talking to brownstone walls.
The best route is to tell the child something like this. Usually, if your session is something they look forward to, it will help. “Ok Mary, it is ok if you cry. Looks like you are not ready today. I will wait and when you are ready come join me for some fun activities. Otherwise, we cannot do any of it.” Obviously, we want Mary to join us. But under those circumstances there is no way how we will get through to reach out goal anyway.
- Give Them Control if They Need it.
Some children like to be in control always. Those children will resent being told to do everything. Though we cannot have them set the direction of our sessions, we can restore their feeling of having a grip on things by presenting choices. “So, Mike, today we will be doing Activity A and B.” (fact.) “Which one do you want to do first?” (Choice.)
- Know your goal. (But hide it)
Your goal for the day is most important, no doubt. But if your focus on it is too clearly detected then there is a chance that the other party in the room will not share the same interest for the day. It is important to coat the lemon with a bar of chocolate so the children cannot detect where your real goal is. A themed lesson will also help you hide the real goal.
Do you have more tips and ideas you would like to share with more Early Intervention Providers?
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