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Setting your students up for success: simple steps that increase engagement and decrease anxiety

We know that until sensory needs are met and anxiety is reduced, brains and bodies will not be ready for learning. These simple steps can have a big impact for a child with autism when it's time for a work session or group activity. Pictured below are examples of what we use during a music therapy session to help brains and bodies succeed!

Visual schedule (and timer)

-Relieves anxiety as children can see what is coming next

-Sets expectations

*Pictured to the right of the schedule (below) are general pictures of a song with pictures. I'll often use these instead of a particular song so that I can make changes if needed.

*For a visual timer I use an app on my iPad but they also sell these on Just make sure you don't order one that ticks and make sure the "time's up" alert can be turned off.

Sensory items

-Weighted lap pads for children who benefit from deep pressure

-bumpy cushions for wiggly bodies

Choice board/Yes and No

-Develops communication and builds sense of autonomy

The clipboard pictured below has an attached compartment where I keep song and instrument picture choices. I have a Yes/No, More/Done, and several choices to offer from a field of two that I stick to the two velcro pieces I attached to the front.

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