Do you ever have kids that need… absolutely NEED… to be first in line ALL the time? Our little group of five boys, ages 5 and 6, literally fight, push and shove their ways to the top of the line each week during transitions. We have tried calling the boys by name to be first, having them choose numbers, rolling dice, choosing a student of the day, lining up in alphabetical order, picking the most attentive, placing spots on the floor for spatial boundaries, discussing the situation, reading books illustrating why they can’t always be first, role playing, reasoning with them, and so on for weeks. Yet, when they don’t end up in the front of the line, we hear, “But I WANT TO BE FIRST!” followed by multiple meltdowns.
We decided to try a My School Day CD by Social Skills Builder as a new approach since we, like most therapists, never give up! This amazing tool includes over 350 videos divided into 4 levels to teach and reinforce important social school rules. The videos address basic social skills that aren’t typically covered by the CORE curriculum but are foundational to all learning. Managing transitions, lunchtime behavior, bullying, and yes… lining up are some of the situations covered on the CD! The video clips are short and use real, live kids of all ages. Questions are posed about each video clip such as, “Where should the girl stand in line?” and “How do her friends feel about her?” and become more sophisticated requiring more skill in inferencing as the levels increase.
Our boys watched the video clip and loved answering the questions. We were able to cover 2 levels in one sitting and they enjoyed being “detectives” to answer additional questions. We then had the boys line up the “right way” and make observations much like they did for the videos. Did they leave enough space between each other? How did they feel about NOT being first? How did everyone feel? Was there any crying? We also had the kids line up the “wrong way” and discussed how their bodies felt in this high emotion situation – hearts were racing, kids were pushing and yelling, muscles were tight, and everyone felt angry and sad. We showed them how much longer it took to get the line together in this way, which meant less time having fun. Finally, we video-taped our group of kids lining up correctly and discussed how much happier they were than when they fight to be first!
We are thrilled with this product and are looking forward to many more opportunities to explore and use this valuable teaching tool. We understand this CD is now an iOS app and we can’t wait to try that as well. Stay tuned for more!
Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L