Routine Based Learning FAQs

Routine Based Learning FAQs2017-10-02T08:56:17+00:00
  • Begin by selecting a motivating activity (see Likes and Dislikes for more information about identifying a child’s preferences).
  • Develop formalized routines with activities that occur on a regular basis (such as bath time, diapering, feeding, starting the school day, going to recess, etc.).
  • Make sure the routine is meaningful to the child so his participation makes sense and is easier.
  • Establish (as a team) a consistent set of steps that all team members will follow when carrying out the routine with the child. Consulting with other team members may allow a variety of goal areas to be addressed within a single routine.
  • Carry out the routine as designed. Evaluate what works and what needs adapting. Revise. Repeat.
If others have to “read” the child’s behavior as communication, he may not yet be readyfor tangible symbols that represent communication/language. If the child uses consistent ways of communicating that are purposeful, however, it may be time to introduce some tangible symbols into the routine. These could be pictures, photos, tactile objects or parts of objects. Remember to start with what the child “likes”!
  • The amount of time will vary depending on the student. If you think he’s taking too long, it’s possible that he has not had enough time to understand the act of “reaching” for the symbol. More hand under hand modeling of reaching to each section of the calendar box may help the student get the feel of the movement.
  • Also, ask yourself how many activities on the student’s schedule or calendar are ones that he likes. Often the symbols represent activities in the school day, but are not “likes” of the student. Always start with the “likes” of the student. When a calendar or schedule box is used consistently and in the same way, the student will understand it.
  • How often do you reinforce the tangible symbol that represents the activity during that activity? The symbol should be used frequently, just as you would use new vocabulary words frequently when teaching a student.
  • Remember that your purpose for using hand under hand is to show something to the student in a respectful way, without startling or controlling her. Modeling a movement using hand under hand encourages empowerment and control by the student. Observe carefully how much and how quickly she wants to take charge. Move your hand back farther and make the touch under her hand lighter and lighter until she reaches herself. Knowing when to back off is critical — not too soon and not too late. Learned helplessness occurs when we don’t give students the opportunity to take over when they are ready.
  • First, gestures, touch, or symbols that represent steps in a routine help the student make the connection between objects and activities linked to the routine. This promotes concept development.
  • Using a consistent routine also gives the student some control over the pace of an activity. For example, if he knows that the card with beans glued to it means it’s time to put his hands into the tub of beans, it allows him to get ready for touching, both mentally and sensorily. He may delay touching the beans while preparing for this next step.
  • Another example: A student might let you know she wants more water after tooth brushing by giving you the card that represents water. The student is able to communicate what she wants, rather than just following your routine, like it or not. Creating predictable routines gives students more “say” in the matter, thereby empowering them-whether or not they are able to physically complete the entire routine themselves.
  • The idea of “partial participation” means that every student can actively participate in the classroom and community to the greatest extent possible. The student completes parts of steps in the routine while others assist where he can’t.
  • For example, Bob is able to participate in making specialty drinks to be sold to his peers, in this way: He presses a switch that is connected to a blender. If he is not able to pick up the ingredients and put them in the blender, another person does that part, or, Bob might be able to touch the symbol that tells another student to put the fruit into the blender. Then Bob might point to the symbol that represents putting the top on the blender, and hit the blender switch himself.
  • Finally, he might touch the symbol that tells a student to pour the drink into the glass. Bob completes parts of the routine even though he is not able to do all the steps himself. The routine has value to the school community, and Bob’s participation is meaningful to the routine.