How to Take Suggestions from Consultants Constructively
Throughout the year we have ASD consultants come in and give suggestions specifically for a child. I will be honest, when these suggestions are given I sometimes feel like I am a failure. I am trying my best to help all the kiddos and when I hear the suggestions (which sometimes are a lot) I feel like I am not doing all that I can as a teacher. As special ed teachers you need to constantly be tweaking things throughout the year depending on your group of kiddos, changes within individual students, and changes with the curriculum, IEP Goals, and other demands (teacher evaluations, etc.).
Then, you meet with your ASD consultant and she or he gives you a whole list of suggestions to try in your classroom for that child. After last week's meeting I felt like I was about to cry. I felt I had failed. I felt overwhelmed. I felt had to make a ton more visuals, more schedules, more work tasks for him. However, when I got home and breathed I looked at my scribbled notes and began to think about what the consultant had said, "these suggestions are for this child." So too feel a little less overwhelmed (hopefully!) try these tips!
1. During your meeting with the consultant write everything down.
3. Form a list. What can be done now with what I have?
What can be tweaked with what I have?
What will need to be made?
What will have to wait?
(we can't do everything and our ASD consultant this year brought that up to me too...What can you do now?!)
3. For the things that need to be tweaked or made what materials will I need?
4. Create a Plan of Action.
Will everything start the next day? No, take time to figure out what needs to be done and to inform everyone that is involved in helping with this plan.
Do you want to start all these new ideas the next week? If the week is choppy (we have Tuesday and Friday off for students so next week for me is probably not the best week to start everything either) then probably not. If you can make these changes easily then go to it.
5. Create the other necessary materials and implement when you can.
6. If you need help with creating things ask your para, speech pathologist, social worker, or the ASD consultant for help because they may have some of these things already readily made and it will be less work for yourself.
7. To make the plan run smoothly make sure to talk to all the people that are working with that child about what changes you are making because if they don't know then they will not be able to help the child or you.
8. Remember the consultant is there to help you help that child.
9. Breathe, have some extra coffee and it will all work out! (I know...easier said than done!).
Here are some of the changes I made very easily and quickly.
I hope this helps! If you have any other tips to help reduce the overwhelming feeling you are sometimes left with after those meetings please let me know! :)