Can you believe that it is already February?! I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about and decided to take time to remind everyone about the importance of pre-teaching for big events such as Valentine's Day. Pre-teaching? What? Why?
Yes, pre-teaching for all of you teachers, parents, mobility instructors and paras. Pre-teaching for V-Day is super important because there are a lot of non-verbal cues going on, potential mobility issues and possible visual overstimulation and our kids need the hook up.
Pre-teaching allows our students of all abilities to anticipate what's going on, what will happen and what they need to do. Pre-teaching also helps with understanding of concept development. Pre-teaching can be as concrete as a symbol or picture or it can be as covert as letting our academic students know what's about to happen during the ever-exciting valentine exchange. Be mindful of this. There's a lot going on with valentine's day. It's exciting and fast paced. Our academic kids certainly won't want their paras following them around as the chocolate roses are about to be handed out. However, that doesn't mean they are not needed. Paras, sped teachers and parents need to be able to give meaningful information about what's about to happen and what should the student do in the situations (like making sure the student's know how to make sure a valentine is coming for them and not their friend standing next to them…).
Mobility instructors also help out in the pre-teaching department by helping our kids anticipate what the layout of activities and dances will be. A few other things to consider are the potential visual clutter for our MIVI kids. V-Day is fun to celebrate but it usually packs a visual punch (a LOT of red, sparkles, pink, etc) all cluttered together. Remember to help isolate visual targets with some black background (maybe an APH mini Invisiboard?).
There are a ton of great Valentine's Day crafts, recipes and activities especially on Pinterest. The thing to remember is anticipation of both the actual tasks and the concept. Anticipation (pre-teaching) is for all of our students, MIVI to academic students. Valentine's Day is also a great way to work in some more social skill development. It's a unique opportunity to discuss dating, social cues and expressing non-verbal skills.