Excellent Activity List
The following is taken from recommendations for my daughter by the
PISP (Provincial Integration Support program) team. I present it here to give families and
school personnel a starting point in assessing the relevance of an educational program for
a child with severe multiple challenges. Please remember that this information is
specifically for my daughter and should be adapted for each individual child. Using your
child's goals as stated on his/her IEP you would work to accommodate them into as many
activities as possible.
In order for you to understand how the Excellent Activity list was chosen, I have included
the goals that have been identified for my daughter. She is very severely physically,
mentally, & medically challenged. She is visually impaired with improving but
inconsistent vision. She sees best to either side. Although she has no words she
communicates fairly clearly with noises, facial expressions & eye movements. She is
fully included in her neighbourhood school with her age appropriate peers. She has an
excellent school based team who have worked very hard at implementing the recommendations
given by the PISP team.
The following are the educational goals/skills identified for my daughter:
1. ____will attend to individuals or objects through her peripheral vision (eyes looking
down to the side and face tilted away) when approached either on her right or left side no
more than 1 or 2 feet away.
2. _____will keep her head up for longer periods of time when placed in a more upright
3. _____ will anticipate upcoming activities through physical contact with familiar object
cues for routine activities.
4. ____will activate a switch with her head*, with decreased prompting to: provide voice
output (when attached to the Big Mack)
increase her independence through partial participation
provide assistance to others engage in leisure activities
get attention from others (initiate)
*the week she was assessed by the team, ____didn't use her hands
much and the team felt she had no purposeful movement of them. For that reason they wanted
her to use a head switch. Throughout the year though she used her hands more and more and
was very definitely purposefully activating her switches and meeting all of the above
goals with her hands. The head switch was rarely used.
5. _____will use vocalizations, gestures, body tone, breathing changes and facial
expressions to communicate, (with continued reinforcement through verbal feedback from her
<I will include information on drawing up a personal dictionary for a child on a later
6. ____will relax to allow stretching through reaching with her arms, and
opening her grasp when interacting with people and materials.
Using the above skills/goals a checklist was drawn up to use to see how many of her goals
were being used in planning activities for her.
Excellent Activity Checklist
When creating a new activity for _____, try to build in as many of the following
components to create an ideal learning environment for her.
1. Object cues & Calendar/Sequence Box: Pair familiar object cues from the
Calendar/Sequence Box before/during and upon completion of routine activities to help
build anticipation for _____
2. Tilting chair forward: For specific activities and periods of time, encourage _____to
work on developing strength in her upper body by sitting in a more upright position in her
3. Expectations for Vision: Assist ____ in sustaining her visual attention to a
person/object by positioning in her peripheral visual field (either to her right or left).
4. Switch Use: Build in opportunities for ____to use her switch at some point in each
activity (either using the Big Mack or any other electrical appliance, etc.
5. Peers: Incorporate one or more peers interacting directly with _____. They can coach
her and reinforce her when working on her skills. Make sure peers are aware of the skills
____is working on.
6. Personal Dictionary: Provide ____ with verbal feedback regarding her
vocalizations, gestures, facial expressions, etc. throughout the activity. Let her know
when you recognize that she is enjoying an activity or has had enough or the activity.
7. Multi-Sensory Feedback: Some activities (switch related in particular) may require
extra sensory feedback to motivate____. The Powerlink II (ablenet- I think) can be used
with 2 devices (sound, lights, or sensation) and this can also be paired with animated
voice and physical contact from those working with____. <This wasn't used much as she
didn't really seem to need it.>
8. Talk about Anticipated Sensory Experiences: ____is less apt to startle when individuals
talk to her about sounds or sensations which may trigger this response. <an over active
startle was a big problem at the time of the teams' visit>
9. Meaningful Activities-Motivating Factors: In order for _____ to be motivated to engage,
the activity needs to have meaning or "pay-back" for _____. Where possible, try
to build in some of the following motivating factors for____.
contrast of light in a darkened room
fan or air blowing in her face
touch (e.g., gentle stroking of her arms)
combination of sensory feedback
10. Purpose and Function: Does the activity have a real purpose
and function for either ____ or others?
11. Time to Respond: Provide ____ with adequate time to respond to requests
when using her switch.) Pick and choose the times when you will step in and assist her or
provide graduated prompting. Build in opportunities when you have the time to truly wait
for ____ to respond in her own time frame.