Adult help is required to anticipate and organize events, projects, and chores.
Use everyday activities to build skills
1. Help your child predict if an activity will be hard or easy, and how long she thinks it will take to complete. When finished, evaluate accuracy and provide constructive feedback, such as “Now we know that we always need to allow fifteen minutes to feed the pets and collect your materials before leaving for Cub Scouts.”
2. To help anticipate and plan necessary preparations, use dinnertime to talk about upcoming family events.
Change the environment
1. Often a child’s emotional reaction interferes with the completion of a plan. Help him talk about what happened, when it happened, and the associated feelings that interfered with his plan. Anticipate other situations where his emotions may interfere, provide supports for coping with these emotions or alter the plan to facilitate success.
2. A child’s ability to plan successfully will be inconsistent. Therefore, adult assistance and support will be required until he demonstrates consistent ability to plan independently.
3. Provide your student with a clear organizational structure for his reports and essays.
4. Before a child begins a report, help him:
- Collect sufficient background information.
- List all the words and phrases that should be included.
- Outline key points and ideas.
Teach New Skills
1. If a child gives up when his first attempt fails, provide another opportunity for successful completion.
Example: Darius decided to sign up at the library for his community service project. When he arrived the library was closed for lunch so he gave up on the project. His parents helped him brainstorm several different alternatives to abandoning the project. They agreed to call the library and write down its hours. Then Darius was able to match his free time to a time when the library was open and plan a time to schedule his community service project.
2. Your child will need adult assistance to reach a goal by identifying and following a clear sequence of sub steps. Each step in the sequence should be specific:
- Help your child estimate how long each step will take.
- Help him identify needed materials or resources for each step.
- Write these down on a simple, clear worksheet or calendar.
- Check your child’s calendar every day to see that he is successfully completing the steps. As each step is completed, he can cross it off or put a sticker on it.
3. For long-range projects, teach your child to use a large planning calendar. Start from the due date and backward-chain the steps necessary to have the project completed on time.
The BrainSTARS manual was written by a team of professionals who have worked for many years with children and young adults who have brain injury. We wrote it because pediatric brain injury is very confusing for parents and teachers — and you are the most important people in the recovery of your child. It is important that a child's parents and teachers are well-educated so that they can work well together to provide the best chance for a child's recovery. Our goal is to make sure that every child has a safety net of support and understanding underneath him as he makes the leap back into life following a brain injury.
From BrainSTARS, Brain Injury: Strategies for Teams And Re-education for Students, © 2002 Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD. Used with permission. The manual is available in English and Spanish. For more information or to order copies, call 720.777.5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A short video on how to use the BrainSTARS manual is available at www.youtube.com/BrainSTARSprogram.