Functional Communication is an important skill to master in any successful Behavior Management Plan. Here’s a brief description on how I teach theses skills with my young learners.
How I Teach students to use a “Break or Help” card
1. Firstly you need to help your student realise when they need to use the break/help card, preferably before they get too frustrated or loose concentration. At the start of any activity, show the student the break card and place the card where they can easily reach it.
2. Point to the break/help card and tell them, “This is your break/help card. You can use it to ask for a break.” When your student starts to get frustrated or loose interest, You say “If you are getting upset, use your break card to tell me you need a break/help.”
3. Once he requests the card allow the student to take a break/help from his tasks, or direct the student to move away to the “break area.” I found that self regulating visuals on the bottom of the card is a fantastic way of calming your student while on a break.
4. Requesting is an important part of teaching the student to trust and use the visual support, once they are consistently asking for breaks, you may begin to extend the time between the request and the actual break.
5. Visuals to the bottom of the support cards help redirect the student to what he can do instead, or while using the card. I hang them up on a keyring for easy access in my calm down corner!