Date
20 November 2019

Create structure in a flexible environment

A well-organised and highly structured classroom minimises the impact of cognitive demands to process and interpret new information.

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Walk in your student’s shoes

Walk in your student’s shoes

Take a walk around the classroom. Use all your senses to consider how the classroom might look, sound, and feel to your student.

Consider:

  • routines and ways of working
  • how you will make timing of assignments and assessment tasks manageable
  • the practical challenges for students, such as timetabling, and managing their time
  • how the student will find and access resources
  • how the classroom is laid out
  • where to create a quiet place for students to work
  • where your student can go if they need to calm down, and what your student needs for a calming space.

Create structure in a flexible space

Create structure in a flexible space

Set up your environment to minimise students’ cognitive load.

Providing support for students' specific needs enables them to work more independently.

Minimise distractions

Minimise distractions

Minimise auditory and visual distractions to help diminish the confusion and frustration many students with FASD experience, and maximise their ability to focus on the task at hand.

Reduce visual distractions

  • Strategically place the student’s seat away from distractions, such as doorways and windows.
  • Clear the student’s desk of everything, except the lesson at hand.
  • Put away (or out of view) teacher’s equipment and books competing for a student’s attention.

Reduce auditory distractions

  • Seat student closest to where you present information.
  • Seat student next to students who do not distract others.
  • Provide nonverbal cues that are familiar to the student to help them stay focused and working quietly, for example: use hand signals, move close to student.
  • Create quiet spots in your classroom.

Source: Understanding fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: A comprehensive guide for pre K-8 educators (opens in a new tab/window)

Build routines

Build routines

Consistent routines reduce stress and anxiety for students.

Develop simple routines, which are used daily to support successful learning and transitions with the students.

Agree guidelines for behaviour

Agree guidelines for behaviour

Develop a class treaty/norms/rules with the students.

  • Agree on clear, concrete rules that are the same across all classes.
  • Display the rules in the classrooms.
  • Use picture cues.
  • Review the rules with students regularly.
  • Role-play classroom rules.
  • Use consistent vocabulary when teaching and reinforcing rules across all classes.
  • Be consistent when applying the rules.
  • Apply agreed consequences immediately when a rule is broken.

Useful resources

Useful resources

File

Environment: For learners with FASD and other complex learning needs

Publisher: POPFASD

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