Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Cards

Friday my school had a teacher in-service day. We were fortunate to have a woman come in and talk to us from CAPTAIN - California Autism Professional Training and Information Network. I had heard of CAPTAIN training but was unaware of all their services they provide for families of students with ASD. Among other things, they provide free hands on diagnostic testing to families, helping them come up with a plan and strategies to help their child succeed. Since CAPTAIN is run through the education department, kids must be referred through their school district. But again, it is all free, so don't let your district tell you otherwise. They even pay for hotel stays and food while your child is being evaluated at one of their three diagnostic centers. I took plenty of notes and can't wait to work on some of the things she taught us in the class. I want to tell you about a few of the things I learned but want to start out with this one first as I plan on starting it today with one of my girls. 
Power cards, have you heard of them?

"Power Cards are a tool for helping a child to change an unwanted, inappropriate behavior by capitalizing on an interest, person or character that has special meaning for the child."  

Right off the bat I knew of a student of mine that might benefit from one of these cards, and immediately worked on putting it together. This particular students wants to be an aide (in my classroom) when she graduates. She is a sweetheart but takes up more of my day than any other students at this time. On this card are the issues we have. They are the things I feel I repeat all day to her. 

Since she wants to be a teachers aide, we are capitalizing on that. This card is about 6 x 5 inches and laminated. It will sit on the desk in front of her at all times. Instead of constantly talking to her about her behaviors, I am simply going to say "I need you to read your power card". Her card has 5 rules. I probably wouldn't do 5 for most of my kids, but I think it will work for her. Since I think a lot of her behaviors are done so she can get my attention or get the chance to have me to herself. This will eliminate that, and hopefully decrease the behaviors. 
Every student has something they like. You can go the interest route like Power Ranger, pirates, princesses, or their favorite band. Or in the case with my kids, I would probably go with what their life goal is like working in a grocery store, restaurant, or vet office. Another card I saw simply stated, "Batman says: Stay in your seat until class is over". I think a simple card like this, with a picture of Batman and possible the student sitting in the desk, would even work with a non reader if you go over it a number of times. I can see myself with my non reader, pointing at the words while stating, "Sam remember, what does Batman say? Stay in our seat until class is over" then "reminding" him to look at his power card when I know he understands.

I'm totally new to this and would love to hear if you use or have used power cards in your room. Have they helped? Have you noticed some working better than others? I would love your feedback!

Have a great day,

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