Teach your students when they should wash their hands: before I eat; after recess & PE; after I cough, sneeze, or pick my nose; when they are dirty. Lots of activities to learn, show what they know, and practice.
Developing visuals and explicit instruction is time-consuming. The work is done for you in this piece. Some skills are learned by many children over time with repetition as habits are developed. For students with developmental delays, receptive communication deficits, low cognition, short-term/long-term memory deficits, regression of learned skills, and oppositional defiance, some skills are not learned easily or maintained through repetition and verbal prompts alone. These are times when more is needed.
Using This Packet
Explicit Instruction: The visuals and social story can be used to teach your students to the when and why of washing hands. Select the method and visuals that match your students’ skills, level of understanding, and learning styles. This can be done in a small group or 1:1 setting.
Assessment: Use the worksheets to help students become more familiar with when to wash their hands and to assess their understanding of the concept. Provide these periodically through the school year as a refresher and to determine the maintenance of the skill understanding.
Visual Prompts: The visuals can be used as cues to remind students what they have learned so they can put it into practice. Visuals can be projected onto a SmartBoard or whiteboard, posted on the classroom door or in the restroom, placed on student schedules, or handed to a student.
Self-Monitoring Sheets: Involve your students in tracking their progress. Show them how they can graph the number of times they wash their hands at school to see if they can increase the number of the graph.
Schedule of Reinforcement: Closely tied to self-monitoring and to increasing the independence of skill acquisition and application is students getting something they want. A reinforcer right after washing hands is important at first. Gradually space the reinforcer, first after two times, then three, then four; at the end of the day or the end of the week. Be sure to use something the student wants and that causes the student to want to wash hands in order to get it.
Data Collection Sheets: Data collection is important, whether the skill is an IEP goal or not. It will show even minute progress or lack of it and allow you to change your intervention to increase progress.
Sample IEP Goals:
During the course of this IEP, STUDENT will increase daily living skills by independently washing hands when directed with 2 or fewer prompts from 0% to 80% of the time, over three consecutive weeks, as measured by data collection.
During the course of this IEP, STUDENT will increase daily living skills by washing hands when directed without falling to the floor or verbal protest 40% to 80% of the time, over three consecutive weeks, as measured by data collection.
Find more resources for teachers and therapists, including more on teaching basic skills with explicit instruction and visuals at TeachersPayTeachers.com
Autism Resources by Jean K. Lawson
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