Description: This is a two-page problem solving guide for students who are dealing with anxiety, stress, or other "problem" behaviors. The student will describe the problem, how they feel about it, and how "terrible" it is. Then the student and teacher/clinician will discuss and write down three possible outcomes for the situation. The student can write about the problem and their feelings on the second page.
Inspiration: This guide was developed for an 8-year-old boy who has autism. He experienced high anxiety whenever we would work on homework together, often to the point of tears and shutting down completely. He provided very rational answers on this guide, such as rating his choice to not do homework as "very terrible!" (5 out of 5) because he would get an F on the assignment, parents and teacher would be disappointed, etc. He rated his choice to do homework with me as not terrible at all, because the outcome would be very positive (A's, happy parents, happy teachers). This guide helped him to discuss and think about his emotions in relation to the problem. We even used this guide to discuss how he felt about a problem in the video game Minecraft. My students really enjoy when we talk about their games!
Targeted Group: Verbal children who can conceptualize a simple rating scale from good to bad. Young elementary school through high school, with developmental disabilities or delays, autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome, emotional disturbances, etc. Ideal for use in general education classrooms, counseling sessions, speech therapy, or special education classrooms.
Use: Assist the student in completing the sheet. Talk about how to rate a problem on a simple rating scale to describe how “big” the problem is. Use the 2nd page to practice writing about the problem. Offer to keep the sheet safe for the student, because the problem may be very personal. Offer to shred the sheet as well, especially if the student feels anxious about sharing the information.