A new year, a new me, a new determination. I wish I had a dollar for every post I have written in my mind over the past several months. There have been some magical things going on with my students…unfortunately there has just been SO much going on in my life to actually transfer things to the blog. But if you can appreciate quality over quantity, then you are in the right place 🙂
Don’t you love it when you try something on a whim and it works! Don’t get me wrong, I need my perfectly planned, laminated, well thought-out thematic units. But I always get so excited when I do something with my SLP instincts and it is successful. I am working with several students on pragmatic language skills, specifically controlling their emotional reactions. Kids, in general, are very good at saying what is on their mind. SLPs, parents, teachers…we could write a book, right? Sometimes my students are saying the right thing, but are delivering it way over the top. Other times, they need to replace the words or behaviors with more appropriate actions.
Earlier this year, one of my dear darlings reacted to me with an impulsive, emotional response that was not going to work at school. My immediate response was “Wow, let’s trash those words”. And our “Trash it, Replace it” system was born. As things are said or done that we need to replace, we write them on index cards or paper strips and trash them (this little trash bucket is from the dollar store and has been re-purposed for so many things!!). The nice thing about this concept is that it is very portable. I will bring their trash can with me if I get called to the classroom for support. Sometimes, however, I am coming from another location or we are transitioning in the hallway. Just having the verbiage “Let’s trash that” and “How can we replace that” is a useful tool that has made a big difference, especially when outside the therapy room. Initially, this was a stand alone lesson. Now that students are used to it, we can quickly embed it into any activity as the need arises, and then move on.
I loved giving the kids a chance to physically trash the actions or words. Like so many things, we needed an additional visual, especially for the ‘repeat offenders’ of words or actions that didn’t stay trashed. So we made a poster using preferred characters and made a poster that we can reference and add to when necessary.
I modified this slightly for another student. We make individual story sheets that go in a folder kept in her classroom. It kind of serves as a social story type reference. I think it is important to also highlight the positive choices made, so those are also in the rotation (not pictured). It is key for students (and teachers, SLPs, parents) to understand why the behavior happened.
In this case, impulsive actions were because of birthday excitement…that is critical to identify because it means they were happy intentions, not cruel. So we can take that energy and channel it in different ways.
I’d love to hear ways that you implement replacement behaviors with your students!