I'm sure I'm not presenting anything new with this one but it is something that makes a huge difference for my kiddos.
We have 3 self contained VE classrooms at our school and some of these students attend specials as part of their IEP. When kids from the VE units join us I want them to experience music but there are times when this interaction can be stressful for them.
Many of my students who are on the spectrum have a hard time with loud sounds. This can be hard for some kids, especially when we discuss soft/loud or piano/forte in the lower grades or play recorders as a group in the upper grades. I happen to have a listening center equipped with 6 sets of headphones. In cases when I have a friend who is having a hard time participating because of sensitivity to sound these headphones come in handy.
I always have a set at the front of the room and I have made sure that the paras who attend specials with these students know where they are. Having them ready helps all of my students participate successfully in the lesson and prevents me from having to search for a solution on the spot.
This simple step allows the child to stay in my room and participate, which is what I want, and it ensures that it is a positive interaction. The last thing I want is for a child to associate my room with something unpleasant. Plus, keeping things positive aids in transition time. If music is associated with a positive experience, a child is going to have an easier time transitioning and then participating in my lessons.
What do you have in your bag of tricks to help all students successfully participate in your lessons?