Strategies for Learning and Teaching

  • Incorporate frequent breaks into sustained periods when the student is required to remain ontask.
  • Provide a differentiated curriculum that ensures a high degree of success for the student.
  • Minimise visual and auditory environmental distractions. Be conscious of the fact that sounds such as the fire drill, school bell, etc may result in the student becoming anxious and may also lead to behaviour problems. If possible, provide warnings prior to predictable noises. Elicit from the student the particular sounds in the school that are problematic for him/her.
  • Implement a positive-behaviour reward system.
  • Arrange opportunities for the students to work in small groups.
  • Emotional and social skills may need to be explicitly discussed and taught, with an emphasis on the development of social skills. These skills can be taught on a whole-class basis (e.g.
    during Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)).
  • Ensure consistency in all activities.
  • Minimise unexpected changes in the student’s routine.
  • Provide a clear schedule for the student (picture-schedule perhaps for younger students, homework journal for the older student).
  • Utilise role play, social stories™ and modelling to teach the student to manage anxietyprovoking situations.
  • Consider a variety of friendship-building tasks such as a peer ‘Buddy system’, group work, etc.
  • The student’s interest and strength in music can be capitalised on through the use of songs, instruments and recordings, wherever possible in the curriculum.
  • Minimise pen/pencil and paper demands for the student who has difficulties with fine-motor skills.
  • Utilise concrete objects in the teaching of Mathematics if visual-spatial skills are poor.
  • Capitalise on the verbal and auditory ability of the student and incorporate these skills into differentiated lessons and activities.
  • Use visual materials such as illustrations, videos, photographs, etc as teaching aids to accompany verbal instruction. Often the student with Williams syndrome finds this approach to teaching very motivating.
  • Ascertain topics that the student has a particular interest in as the student will approach a curriculum based on such topics with a high degree of motivation.