Matching and imitation are great beginning skills, but as special educators we need to make sure that we don’t let our students get stuck at that level. Here are some tips on getting started on instruction that will lead to higher level skills.
There is a place and time to work on matching with students, BUT it can’t end there. Students with disabilities need MORE instruction, not less. It doesn’t matter what level your students are at (even moderate to severely disabled) or what their disability is, they still need instruction that helps them move past matching.
Start Slow & Build Up
Students who are at the early learning stage will most likely need their instruction to be on a one to one basis (at least to begin with). It can also be a very short time. For example, 3 to 7 minutes of direct instruction on letters before the student moves on to another activity or reinforcement. As the student shows the ability to attend and learns more skills, increase the amount of instruction time. Make sure that you are starting slow so that the student is successful.
Plan For Barrier Behaviors
Have Powerful Reinforcers
Have A Variety Of Instructional Materials
When gathering the materials you are going to use in your instruction, make sure that the practice tasks truly target the same skill you have been targeting during instruction. Also keep in mind how your student does with generalizing. If your student has a hard time generalizing skills, then only change one thing at a time in practice tasks. For example, use the materials from instruction in a different color.
Don’t limit Instruction To Core Subjects
Don’t forget to plan for review of mastered skills. Here is a blog post with more info on how to do that. Just click on the picture to read more about the topic.
Have a plan for instruction and review of skills and your students WILL progress. Just keep in mind that our students tend to progress slowly… be sure to celebrate every gain!!