**This is the first in a four part weekly series**
This is yet another one of the resources that I received from my boot camp a little while ago. Since I will be working with children with autism, this will definitely come in handy. This is a list of 57 questions that you should ask yourself when addressing behavior problems. I have decided to do this in a four part series so that the posts won’t be too long. Here is Part 1, numbers 1-21, which deal with the layout of furniture and materials.
When a problem occurs, consider the following:
Physical structure increases the likelihood of success during learning and free times. Limits that are physically clear to the individual may be an initial step towards self-control.
- Is there a clearly defined space where the individual keeps his/her belongings?
- Is furniture spaced sufficiently for movement? Are work areas located in the least distractible setting?
- Are work areas spaced sufficiently to discourage interactions with others during work times?
- Does the individual need to stay in a relatively closed space to reduce wandering off?
- Is the furniture appropriately sized for the individual? Is the furniture sturdy?
- Can other furniture (e.g., dividers, bookcases, etc.) be used to cut down distractions for individuals with difficulties focusing on their work?
- Besides furniture, are there other means of defining separate spaces in the room (e.g., tape on the floor, rugs, etc.)?
- Are windows, doors, cabinets, and other tempting materials less available or less accessible to distractible individuals?
- Are individual work areas clearly differentiated from group work areas?
- Can the staff see all or the majority of work areas in the room?
- Are group areas and independent work areas located in close enough proximity that the staff can monitor both?
- Are there clear means of transit between areas (i.e., while the individual is moving between work areas, is there an opportunity for him to distract another individual)?
- Is the individual distracted by available materials when moving between work areas?
- Are there too many work materials in the work area? Do these act as a disorganizing influence?
- Are work materials in a centralized area? Are the individual’s work materials easily accessible to him/her?
- Are materials which the individual is not allowed to use in a different place from those he/she can use?
- Is the leisure or break area situated where little or no supervision is necessary (i.e., away from exits, dangerous materials, or staff’s materials)?
- Is the free time area clearly defined?
- Do all the areas in the room have a simple label(possibly paired with a visual symbol) so that individuals know where to go (e.g., “Go to the blue table.”)?
- Is lighting sufficient in work area? Is the temperature easily controlled?
- Is noise level a problem?
In summary: Does the layout of furniture and materials assist in the development of behaviors and skills which we want the individual to have?
**Watch for Part 2 next week, October 8, which deals with schedules.**
Source: Love, S. (2004). Professional Seminar: Behavior management for individuals with autism. Asheville TEACHH Center.