Anxiety In School: Tessa Tries Reinforcement Break Schedules

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At the age of three, Tessa was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Delay (PDD), which is an autism spectrum disorder. Her biggest problem since she began school has been — well, school. Anytime she cannot master her work, or is pushed to do it, she tends to push back.

To solve her anxiety towards failure, her special education teacher Sarah and teacher’s aid Victoria have created a Reinforcement Break Schedule. The schedule targets three behaviors Tessa is to master and then rewards her with a five minute break. For every ten minutes she accomplishes these behaviors, she earns a star; and after every three stars she earns her break. Her teacher and aid have found these five-minute breaks keep Tessa motivated, calm, and more excited about school.

Watch the video to see Tessa in action!

Next in the Autism Real Look series: Messy Eating

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