What types of relationships an individual has with each other can vary significantly dependent on their age and position within hierarchies within environments. Students can spend more time working 1:1 with an aide yet that aide is not responsible for designing the programming. Individuals might spend periods of time with certain friends or family members yet only on certain tasks or for distinct periods of time. Being able to ‘see’ how an individual manages themselves and how they communicate and share their skills across environments requires those looking to be able to step back and separate the contribution of their own interaction to what they are observing.
Information is something that gets passed on in advance for individuals with special needs to prepare others to support them when working with them in a new setting e.g. providing teachers with information before a student comes to school for the first time. This allows pre-planning and organisation of whatever materials and resources and staff training needs to happen before the individual arrives on school grounds.
The knowledge that can go with a newly starting student can be significant in quantity when that student has been working with the same therapist(s) for a long period of time. Being able to summarise what is happening and provide specific information specific to ‘that’ particular environment is essential for not overwhelming new staff and for making the process of transition as efficient as possible for everyone involved.
Where this is not possible students may rely on the ‘same’ resources or the same foods or the same routines to ‘take with them’ to enable more consistency in what they need to pay attention to and to reduce the quantity of new information to process so that they feel less overwhelmed.
Students who have been quickly removed from certain school settings or who have changed school frequently may be highly sensitive to new people interacting with them and may be extremely cautious or lack focus when presented with tasks. Consistency in approach and measurement of how they are regulating themselves across all skill levels requires daily assessment and communication between all environments. Examples of work from previous settings can help show exactly how this student responds to others and where their skills lie.