We just finished the Halloween parade and now we are coming up on the Holiday events, assemblies, and wacky schedules. With the time change happening (yesterday! AH) and all of us feeling tired trying to do everything, let me help you keep your students and children included in all of the fun events and have a good time doing it.
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Before planning to actually attend another assembly or have your students participate in a show, the first thing you have to do is educate them on what is going to happen. My favorite way to do this is through social stories. As I have talked about before, social stories are a fantastic tool to use during all of these events. With simple words and pictures, you can explain how everything is going to happen. Another great tool is to record or take pictures of the events to show to your students. (RECORD NOW FOR NEXT YEAR!)
Social stories should have simple language, such as, "This month we are going to be in a holiday show! We will be on stage performing with our friends. It will be so fun!" Make it exciting! Continue with something like, "There will be bright lights shining on you" or "We will be performing in front of our moms and dads.." and let them know they can ask for help, "It might feel like a lot, but I will be right next to you on stage and we can have [insert any accommodation or positive reinforcement here]."
For social stories, ask students questions, like "If you need help, what can you do? That's right! You can ask for help!" Need an idea on how to talk about students with a social story? Watch this video!
Other accommodations you can do for your students would be to
sit in the back of the assembly room near the exit
practice going into the assembly room without other students (bonus-turn the lights off or practice with the microphone or speakers)
use timers to encourage them to practice staying in for a certain amount of time I love the app called Countdown
have them sit next to their closest friend or with their peers (sometimes all they need is a trusted relationship to give them confidence)
These are all simple ways to accommodate your students to be included in the schools activities. Any other activities you are wanting to be included in and don't know how? Drop them below!
Inclusion starts with you and I just want to help.