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Do your students struggle with coping and relaxation skills? Are you searching for calm-down strategies to use with your students? In my years of working with teachers, I find this to be a common struggle in the classroom. Introducing relaxation and calm-down strategies to students with emotional regulation needs and sensory needs is critical. Over and over, though, I find that the missing piece is the teaching that needs to take place in order for students to be successful.

The first step is to assess what activities are most impactful to your student. While movement and motion may be stimulating for one child, that same activity may be very calming for another. Finding activities that are calming and that are meaningful and interesting to your student will set your student up for success. The tools on the CFA site are a great place to assess both the interests and needs of your student.

From there, students must learn to carry out a routine. During times of calm, when your student is open to learning, practice a routine so that it becomes familiar. Providing visual supports helps to promote independence.

Finally, students must be taught to communicate their need for a calm-down routine. Think about your student’s communication needs and create a meaningful way to make requests.

Resources for all of these steps - assess, teach, practice, and request a calm-down routine - can be found in the Coping and Calm Down Strategies section on the Connections for Autism site. You will also find visual supports, videos and social narratives to help you put these strategies into place quickly and increase your students’ independence.