> Be aware of a child’s posture. If their feet are unsupported, they will be working harder to maintain an effective sitting position, rather than the task requested of them.
> Start a learning session with a warm up task, such as brain gym or movement activity.
> Brief lessons result in greater learning, do activities in short bursts. Adapt learning tasks into small, well-defined steps and present the information sequentially.
> Keep language simple – instructions should be clear and short. Some children find it difficult to look and listen to instructions at the same time. Using simple language such as “do this” to precede a demonstration may increase their ability to replicate actions.
> Be aware of a child’s learning style.
> Modelling or demonstrating activities will allow the child to learn visually and to improve their recall.
> Use visual cues to support the classroom routine, such as visual timetables and “now” and “next” cards.
> Consider using timing prompts. Some children will find time pressures overwhelming, so consider the type of timer you use, for example, some children respond better to gentle reminders, others may respond to a prompt to look at the clock, and other may respond better to the visual representation such as a sand timer.
> Use the child’s first name before giving instructions. Some children may require time to process instructions before acting, therefore allow up to 7 seconds before anticipating a response.
> Give one instruction at a time; this can be upgraded as their ability to follow instructions improves.
> Use written instructions so the child has both auditory and visual cues for following instructions.
> Encourage the child to finish an activity before moving on.
> Give positive reinforcement through praise, attention and rewards after each step. Agree with the children rewards and positive reinforcements (they must be immediate, consistent, achievable and fair).
> Use a cue for reminding them to focus on the activity e.g. a special hand gesture, or coloured cards, traffic light system, or thumbs up.
> Set class rules and routines. Ensure the child has an understanding of what is expected of them. The use of social stories may help a child to understand situations and expectations.
> Some children find it difficult to articulate their needs or ask for help. Provide a ‘time out card’, ‘toilet pass’, or other means to indicate that they may be feeling anxious and/or need to get out of the class.
> Establish the use of an ‘emotions book’ to help the child to indicate how they’re feeling, for example, having a difficult play time may impact on the child’s ability to focus in class.