Set your Secondary Students Up for Success with Homework

Nothing says fall more than high school football games, pep rallies, and homecoming. For secondary students, fall also comes with no shortage of options for nightly activities while simultaneously juggling possible employment and homework.  For students with autism, or other developmental disabilities, learning to successfully handle homework independently can be the first step towards accomplishing transition into employment outside of the school or home environment.

The LINKS curriculum provides a standard Completing Homework #40 (download visual strip below) routine to help students learn how to independently complete homework assignments. Students can be supported in mastering the homework routine through the use of additional visual supports, creating organizational systems, and with individual discrete trial lesson instruction. 

To establish a strong homework routine, set up a simulation inside the special education classroom. Ask parents what their homework environment currently looks like at home. Simulate the ideal homework setting within the classroom to practice.  After identifying an area to simulate and appropriate cue levels within the LINKS system, observe the student performing the homework routine using the Observed Routine Assessment form (see image below). This will help determine any additional 1:1 instruction or visual supports necessary for the student. It will also help identify any challenging behaviors and need for positive reinforcement.  Many secondary students have years of unsuccessful homework sessions behind them.  Help create a positive environment for homework by establishing predictable expectations, routines, and reinforcement of desirable behaviors.

Once observation has taken place, identify appropriate discrete trial lessons which support independence. Using the Understanding 4-Part Picture Sequencing #83 lesson plan, along with visual sequence strip for Completing Homework (see below), students can be pre-taught the steps to the Completing Homework routine. 

Some additional discrete trial lessons that support the Completing Homework routine include Completing a Multiple-step Project #125, Following Two-Step Directions #81, Following Multi-Step Directions #87, and Creating a Student Developed Schedule #130.

In addition to DT lessons, help students generalize the information by reviewing the Completing Homework Routine Booklet prior to the end of the day.

Although homework demands increase for secondary students, learning to work independently outside of the classroom can lead to learning to work independently in a job setting.  Supporting teachers and parents with homework can be the first step towards building a strong community team.

Stay tuned next month for other tips on getting the whole team on the same page!

Click image below to download a free homework visual strip!