As much as we try to keep things consistent and predictable for our students, life often has different plans. These unexpected events and changes can cause some of our students anxiety and stress. When anxious or stressed students are less able to process language. Having visuals ready to help bring some predictability back into their world can help:
- · Visuals showing them the new schedule (visuals schedules, first/then visuals)
- · Visuals showing how long an unexpected or stressful event will last (time timer, countdown strips)
- · Visuals showing self-regulation strategies (breathing cards, deep pressure techniques, movement breaks)
Here’s the important thing to remember: Visuals need to be introduced and taught to our students before the unexpected event. When students are stressed or have heightened anxiety, they are less able to learn new things or process new information.
- · Introduce and teach the visuals while students are calm and able to focus
- · Spend lots of time with visuals throughout every day even, or especially, on good days…those days when it seems they “don’t need them”
Visuals, for whatever life throws your way…