Keeping children with PWS engaged and interested during the school day can be extremely challenging. Here are some easy modifications that we have found to be effective 1. Adjustable desks that allow children to stand instead of sit allows for kids who cannot tolerate sitting still a little more room to move freely. Standing allows kids who struggle with small spaces the sense of feeling less confined and often find it easier to concentrate.
2. For children who need to constantly fidget we use Thera bands stretched across the bottom of their desks. This allows them to bounce their legs quietly without disrupting the rest of the class. Having small and accessible stress balls and Thera putty is also helpful for fidgeters.
3. Take frequent sensory breaks. Every 30 minutes or so allow the kids to get out of their seats and do something physical. Physical activity improves concentration and reduces undesirable behaviors that often are the result of boredom or pent up energy.
4. Avoid lecture style lessons as much as possible. Many of our kids struggle with auditory processing and spoken lessons are almost always overwhelming for kids with PWS because they simply cannot keep up. They are still processing the first few sentences and the teacher is half way through the lesson. It is not a compatible teaching style for children with PWS.
5. So many of our kids struggle with day time somnolence and sometimes need to nap. This is ok. You are better off allowing a child who is clearly fatigued a planned and short nap rather than insisting that a sleepy child stay alert and participate.
We are always interested in hearing your ideas. How does your school help your child to be a better learner?
Submitted byPatrice Carroll Manager of PWS Services