First, I explained our schedule (as you probably know from this post, this is SUPER important to me!). Next, I showed her how the student she would be working with utilizes his individual schedule. He uses a color-coded picture schedule on the wall (seen below).
I even added this handy little key for setting up his schedule each day. The colors correspond to the colors of his picture schedule. This makes setting up his schedule so quick and easy! And if he tries to change his schedule (sneaky, sneaky), it makes it easier to catch. Next up, I will be teaching her how to take data on his schedule...see this post).
The main reason I needed this extra help, was because this student needs a one-on-one to do academic work. He struggles to do any work without tangible reinforcers (mostly food) delivered constantly throughout the task. Otherwise he runs away, hits, pinches, etc. He works extremely well when given the reinforcement schedule he needs (about every 2-3 minutes). So, I created this cheat sheet for my new assistant (who has no previous experience with kids with autism), as well as for me and my other aids so we would all be on the same page. There are kind of a lot of components to this, but I figured it would be a helpful reference to have posted in the classroom. I left some blanks so that we can make the reinforcement schedule less dense over time. I also did some "dos" and "don'ts" for working with this student.
I "do" want the assistants to say "good job" while delivering the tangible reinforcer. This is done so that the phrase "good job" hopefully becomes paired with the tangible reinforcer...that way, hopefully some day, the tangible reinforcers can be faded out and hearing "good job" will act as a reinforcer.
I "don't" want the reinforcer to be delivered when the student reaches out his hand. He will be working just great and reach out his hand for a reinforcer...I don't want this to be the behavior that is reinforced, or he will start reaching out his hand more (and working less). Instead, the reinforcer is supposed to be delivered as he is working appropriately (if he reaches to grab it as it is being delivered, that is fine).
I also included a list of his preferred items. See this post to learn how to deliver a preference assessment (which may be some items you can use as reinforcers in your classroom). One other note about these edible reinforcers...when my student receives them, he is not getting a whole bag of skittles, he is getting one skittle or half a gummy bear, or a mini marshmallow)...and believe me, if there is a toy or something healthy that is reinforcing, we use that first! The last thing I want to do, is make these little kiddos fat or unhealthy!
Any other tips you have for helping a new assistant adjust in the classroom??