Written by Georgina Rayner
Open PDF Version
1. Difficulty following a plan (has high aspirations but lacks follow-through);
wants to get A's but ends up with F's and doesn't understand where he went
- Teach time management skills and how to use time management aids.
- Assist student in preparation for starting tasks; ask 'What do you need to be able to do this?'
- Show the student how to set and achieve short and long term goals.
- Provide constant monitoring and positive reinforcement to encourage progress.
- Teach organizational skills to map assignments into manageable chunks.
- Use a tracking sheet, graphic organizer.
2. Difficulty sequencing and completing steps to accomplish specific tasks
(writing a book report, term paper, organized paragraphs, division problem)
- Chunking assignments. Break up tasks into workable and obtainable steps.
- Provide sample of completed assignment to be used for modeling.
- Avoid open-ended assignments with due dates too far in the future.
- Use graph paper to organize mathematics.
3. Shifting from one uncompleted activity to another without closure.
- Define the requirements of a completed activity. Allow for a set number to be completed and then do some more.
- Offer frequent breaks.
- Use tracking sheets with rewards for success.
- Reduce work load (reduce questions to number required to demonstrate competency).
4. Difficulty following through on instructions from others.
- Ensure the student has heard you and you have his attention before giving directions.
- Use visual, non-verbal, gesturing cues to alert student.
- Use a multi-sensory approach with both visual and oral instructions.
- Rephrase and repeat information. Allow time for processing.
- Give one instruction at a time. Quietly repeat instructions to the student after they have been given to the rest of the class.
- Check for understanding by having the student repeat the directions.
- Make sure the classroom is quiet when giving the instructions to aid in hearing.
5. Difficulty prioritizing from most to least important.
- Teach skills on how to prioritize most to least important.
- Provide a model to help the student understand.
- Have a model posted and refer to it often as a guide.
6. Difficulty sustaining effort and accuracy over time.
- Reduce the number of expectations, assignment length and strive for quality not quantity.
- Praise success.
- Increase the frequency of positive reinforcements (catch the student doing something right and praise him for his efforts).
7. Difficulty completing assignments.
- Teach project management skills. List, post and discuss all the necessary steps to complete each assignment.
- Reduce the assignment to manageable sections with specific due dates.
- Monitor closely and make frequent checks for progress towards work/assignment completion.
- Encourage the student to have a 'study buddy'.
- Provide notes and guides for assignments.
- Use visual checklists.
- Provide extended time limits on projects and assignments.
8. Difficulty with any task that requires memory.
- Use manipulatives, models, taped books, graphics to enhance memory.
- Teach memory techniques as a study strategy (mnemonics, visualizations, oral rehearsal, and repetition)
- Provide models to study.
- Use technical aids such as a calculator, computer or tape recorder.
- Allow time for processing and memory retrieval.
9. Difficulty with test taking.
- Allow extra time for testing.
- Teach test taking skills and strategies.
- Use alternative test formats such as oral
- Use assistive devices like voice to text computer software.
- Use calculators and reference charts.
- Use clear, readable and uncluttered test forms.
- Use test formats which are the most comfortable for the student
- Allow ample space for the student to respond (he may wish draw his answer first).
- Consider using lined paper for exams or short answer tests.
- Use graph paper for mathematics and space the questions.
- Use a scribe.
- Write in a quiet room free of distractions.
10. Confusion with non-verbal cues. (misreads body language)
- Demonstrate what a non-verbal cue is.
- You must use direct teaching strategies (tell the student). You may have to repeat it many times.
- Modeling and observing best practices will do more for student's understanding of how to behave. Students learn from what they observe, not from what they are told.
- Do not embarrass the student for missing the cue, but set him up for success the next time.
11. Confusion with written material. (difficulty finding the main idea from a
paragraph, spends too much time on minor details)
- Provide the student with a copy of the teacher's notes and a copy of the reading material with the main ideas highlighted.
- Show the student how to prepare an outline of the important points from the reading material.
- Teach outlining, main-idea/detail concept.
- Provide tape of text/chapter.
- Provide student with a copy of presentation notes.
- Allow peers to share photocopied notes from presentation or copied from board.
- Provide framed outlines of presentations or lessons for student to use and fill in during a lesson. Use visual and auditory cues to emphasize important information.
- Teach and emphasize key words, and how to harvest information.
12. Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or activities (easily distracted by
external stimuli). Apparent inattention (underachievement, daydreaming,
- Reduce external stimuli. Keep the number of visual distraction at the front of the class to a minimum.
- Cue student before giving directions.
- Ask student to repeat instructions to confirm comprehension.
- Attempt to actively involve student in lesson (cooperative learning)
- Dramatize information.
- Reward attention.
- Break activities and lessons into small units.
- Change teaching style frequently to capture the student's attention.
- Reward the timely accomplishments.
- Use physical proximity and touch.
- Use earphones, study carrels, quiet place, preferential seating.
- Reduce noise stimuli with the use of a FM system, tennis balls on the legs of desks and chairs.
13. Written work is frequently messy or sloppy (chicken walked on the page).
Poor handwriting, often a mix of cursive and printing. Difficulty with fluency
in handwriting (good letter/word production but very slow and laborious).
Low fluency or production of written material (takes hours to produce
- Use computer with appropriate software (Inspiration, Dragon Speaking) to aid in producing and completing polished products.
- Provide copies of notes and worksheets for the student to write on.
- Reduce the amount of written work required for demonstrating competency and grade for content and not handwriting.
- Teach organizational skills. Show student how to plan and put work to paper.
- Use 'Handwriting Without Tears' to help students learn to write.
- Give reward points for notebook checks and proper paper forms.
- Use pencil with rubber grip.
- Allow for a scribe.
- Grade for content, not handwriting.
- Use a variety of alternative evaluation formats instead of the written response. This may include oral, visual presentation, tape recorder, or film.
- Do not penalize a student for mixing cursive with printing. Be happy to have any output and praise the student for their effort.
- Allow for shorter assignments (quality vs quantity)
- Allow extra time.
14. Poorly developed study skills.
- Teach study skills specific to each subject area.
- Provide notes and study sheets.
- Teach skills like skimming texts to get the main information, making a picture or anagram to remember specific facts, highlighting of main ideas and important information.
- Provide models to study, especially in mathematics and science
15. Poor self-monitoring (careless errors in spelling, arithmetic, reading)
- Teach specific methods of self-monitoring look-listen-stop. He cannot hear if he is not attending to you.
- Work with student on proof reading. It is very difficult to see your own mistakes. Do not have another student mark their work as it can lead to low self esteem and poor peer relations
16.Difficulty participating in class without being interruptive, unable to work
quietly, inappropriately seeks attention (class clown, excessive exaggerated
motor movements to gain attention, butts into activities of other groups,
- Preferential seating close to the teacher.
- Reward appropriate behaviour (Catch him being good).
- Use study carrel if appropriate for quiet work but not as an isolation booth.
- Use chewing gum, sour candies or straws to chew on as they may aid concentration.
- Show student (modeling) how to gain other's attention in an appropriate manner.
- Catch the student being appropriate and reward the good behaviour.
- Give him a job (attendance, door person) which requires him to take some responsibility and praise even the smallest success.
- Ignore minor behaviour issues and do not dwell on them. Set him up for success.
17. Frequent excessive talking.
- Teach student hand signals and use them to tell the student when they need to be quiet.
- Make sure the student is praised for appropriate behaviour and reinforce listening.
- Reward each step in the process. Start by explaining the procedure to answer a question. Move to answering when they raise their hand and then add the part about answering when their name is called. It is slow and will need lots of positive praise for each small step.
18. Difficulty with transitions (from activity to activity or class to class), takes
an excessive amount of time to find pencil, gives up, refuses to leave
previous task, appears agitated during change.
- Supervise transitions with care and cueing 5-10 minutes before changes occur. Give advance warning when a transition is going to take place.
- Transition routines may need to be repeated many times before they become routine for the student.
- Use visual schedules posted in the class or on top of the desk.
- Specifically state and display the list of materials needed until a routine is developed.
- Use notebook tabs, with separate binders for each subject.
- List steps necessary to complete each assignment. Make the steps reasonable and attainable.
- Arrange for an organized peer to be a helper.
- Have student come into class a few minutes early to prevent problems in the highly stimulating unstructured times such as school entry. Most problems are going to occur at recess, lunchtime, and in the hallways. Be aware and set the student up for success.These can be very anxious times for the student.
19. Difficulty remaining seated or in a particular position when required.
- Give student frequent opportunities to get up and move around and allow space for movement.
- Arrange a cue with the student that acknowledges his need to go for a walk, drink or deliver a message with the knowledge that he will return and start back to work with your help.
20. Frequent fidgeting with hands, feet or objects, squirming in seat
- Break tasks down into small increments and give frequent positive reinforcement for accomplishments (this behaviour is often due to frustration).
- Allow alternative movement when possible.
- Vary challenging tasks frequently.
- Give students a squeeze ball or other manipulates while you teach the lesson.
21. Agitiation under pressure and competition (athletic or academic)
- Stress effort for self-reward rather than competition with others.
- Select sports where he can be the goalie or defense so that he has the whole game in front of him. He will be frustrated with trying to absorb all the stimuli if he must concentrate on play in the offensive and defensive ends at the same time.
- Minimize anxiety triggers, especially the multi sensory stimuli. Gymnasiums can be very stressful for the student as the sounds can be very mixed and hard to process.
- Avoid the one minute math drill and minimize timed activities.
- Structure class for team effort and co-operation.
22. Inappropriate behaviours in a team or large group sport or athletic activity
(difficulty waiting turn).
- Give the student a responsible job (team captain, care of equipment, score keeping) Consider a leadership role.
- Have student close to the teacher.
- Check to see if student understood directions.
- Praise student when he can delay gratification.
- Divert attention with other tasks to change behaviour.
23. Frequently involved in physically dangerous activities without considering
- Anticipate dangerous situations and plan in advance.
- Stress look-listen-stop.
- Pair with a responsible peer.
- Discuss the dangers with the child. Repeat cautions as they are accidents looking for a place to happen.
24. Poor adult interactions. Defies authority. Lacks social ability to engage
other peers in play.
- Provide positive attention.
- Provide social opportunities where you can guide successful integration into the group.
- Do social autopsy on inappropriate behaviour and help them understand how they could have done it better. Avoid embarrassment and try to remain positive. It will take lots of practice.
- Suggest ways of improving the situation and be sure to model the behaviour you want.
25. Frequent self-putdowns, poor personal care and posture, negative
comments about self and others, low self-esteem.
- Structure for success. Set student up so as to allow student to show his strength. Use studnet's strenghts to build a successful program.
- Train student in self-monitoring, teach self-questioning strategies. Reinforce improvements. (What am I doing? How will it affect others?)
- Give positive recognition where ever possible, especially in front of peers.
26. Difficulty using unstructured time - recess, hallways, lunchroom, locker
room, library, assembly
- Have student enter school early. Lining up is often a trigger itself.
- Give the student a useful job and praise when he completes it. (shelving books in library, collecting sports equipment)
- Provide student with a definite purpose for activity. (We are going to the library to...)
- Give transition time warnings and remind student of what is expected.
- At recess encourage group games.
- Encourage participation in activities and clubs at lunch or after school.
27. Losing things necessary for the task or activities at home or school
(pencils, notebooks, assignments before during or after they are due)
- Help students to organize. Frequently monitor notebooks, dividers, pencil case, locker, backpack, and desk. Stress a place for everything and everything in its place.
- Provide student with a list of needed materials and location.
- Have a consistent process for handing in assignments and homework.
- Provide positive reinforcement for good organization.
28. Poor use of time (procrastinating, staring off into space, doodling, off
- Teach and use reminder cues (gentle touch to shoulder, hand signal)
- Show student how to get started.
- Supply models and examples and then check to see if he understood.
- Monitor for success frequently and praise, especially after each completed section.
- Chunk the work into manageable pieces.
- Use a quiet work area, FM system for prompts
- Use assistive devices with brain storming software like Inspiration
- Alter expectations.
- Teach and model what paying attention looks like.
- Minimize visual distractions in the class.