Helpful Tips for Successful Inclusion If the person has difficulty:

…starting an activity

  • Explain the purpose of the assignment
  • Give a signal to begin the activity
  • Break the activity into small parts
  • Provide immediate feedback and encouragement
  • Use a digital timer and have the person estimate how long the activity will take

…staying on task

  • Remove distractions from the activity area
  • Place the person next to a peer who can model staying on task
  • Use color to highlight rote, repetitive tasks
  • Increase the frequency of reinforcement
  • Encourage eye contact with the activity leader
  • Build success into the task
  • Offer variety in tasks

…staying seated

  • Make sure the person understands expectations
  • Give a reward any time the person is sitting
  • Take a photo of the person sitting appropriately and cue him/her, when necessary, by pointing to the photo
  • Move the person’s seat or desk away from distractions and nearer the center of the room across from you

…following directions

  • Make sure the person is able to perform the activity
  • Make sure the directions are understandable
  • Give short, concrete directions
  • Provide examples (visual, auditory and tactile)
  • Repeat directions
  • Have the person repeat and explain the instructions before beginning the activity
  • Team with a peer who understands the directions

If the person has difficulty:


  • Provide visual models for the person to follow
  • Have the person repeat instructions aloud
  • Have the person sit near you

…working independently

  • Provide activities that are appropriate to the person’s development level
  • Be certain the person can foresee an end to the task
  • Give brief, precise directions
  • Give frequent reinforcement; praise the person in front of peers for concentrating
  • Alternate short independent tasks with tasks on which you give assistance. Gradually require more independent work before giving help.

…calling out

  • Reward the person immediately for listening
  • Reinforce peers who do not call out
  • Point to a cue posted on the wall to remind the person not to interrupt. The cue could be a picture of a smile or just a colored symbol. Explain the cue to the person privately prior to the activity.
  • Give the person an opportunity to be the leader
  • Provide small group exercises in which the person has the opportunity to talk

…needing a great deal of personal attention

  • Assign a peer or volunteer for support
  • Check with the person at the beginning of each activity
  • Try and catch the person doing something right and draw attention to that

…following rules

  • Post rules in the area where they can be reviewed daily. Illustrate the rules with photos of people in the group who are following rules.
  • Make the rules simple
  • Be consistent in your expectations and consequences for breaking the rules
  • Give each person a list of the rules, if needed. Set up a “contract” privately with the person

If the person has difficulty…


  • Have the person repeat directions
  • Use songs, poems, and chants to enhance recall
  • Review activities periodically
  • Color code significant details of the task

Use the link below to print a PDF version of this information to share with others.

For more information about this program contact:

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Patient Stories

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