Jill is a 16 year old female who has been in special education since she was 3 years old. Her behavior was at times challenging resulting in a manual restraint. While our staff restrained her, we would talk to Jill about relaxing but she did not respond.
It occurred to Shirley that Jill didn’t understood what relaxation was. Shirley collaborated with support staff and Jill’s classroom teacher about teaching different relaxation techniques to Jill when she was at baseline. Shirley searched the internet for relaxation techniques and provided the following list.
1. Walk to room A
2. Walk to the purple room
3. Sit or lay on the mat
4. Turn light off
5. Close eyes
6. Chew gum (preferred activity)
7. Deep breathing exercises
8. Muscle tense and relax
9. Listen to calming music
10. Talk about calming thoughts
The staff used a board maker and symbols (pictures and words) and put these choices on a Velcro board.
When she starts to escalate, Jill will get the board and give the symbol of A or the purple room to her teacher. The teacher will run with her through each step. Jill de-escalates and returns to her room and is able to resume her daily schedule.
Shirley took her on 2 overnight special Olympic trips this school year. Instead of the board the staff put her symbols in a small flip chart that were carried in their pockets. The staff began this technique with Jill last Oct. She has not had an incident since teaching her these relaxation skills.
Aaryce Hayces – Senior Vice President Operations