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Using a Poster for Time Out for Students with Special Needs

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: goldwriter • updated: 9/11/2012

A time out chair and poster that comfort a student can be very useful during time-outs. Though the idea is to calm the student down by removing stimulus, sometimes having a comfort item there like a time out poster can be helpful for the students with special needs.

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    Tips for Making Time-Out Posters

    Time-out posters are posters that students uses during time-out to calm themselves down. They can be used along with the time out chair. These vary greatly depending upon what calms the student down. To make these, you may need some cooperation from the parents. Follow the steps below to make posters for the students to use during their time-out periods in the classroom.

    • Each child needs a poster board or large piece of construction paper.
    • If the budget permits and you are using poster board, take some soft material and cover the poster board with it.
    • Have the child bring pictures from home of people or items at home that comfort them. Send a note to the parents clarifying what these items are for, so that they can assist the parents.
    • Place a plastic hook on the wall so that an item hanging from it will be eye level with a sitting child.
    • Have the children paste their pictures from home on the poster board or construction paper.
    • Keep the colors for construction paper and items on it to a neutral tone. Neutral colors can promote calmness, which is what you are seeking from the time-out. Bright colors can agitate the child further and defeat the purpose.
    • Have the child draw pictures on the poster of the things that calm them if they don't already have pictures of in the poster.
    • Let the child put borders in the form of paper cut-outs or coloring around the edge of the poster.
    • Allow the child to include any small items that will fit on the poster so that the child cannot harm himself/herself with sharp paper edges hanging off of the poster.
    • Place two holes in the top of the poster
    • Run a string through the holes at the top of the time out poster. Tie the ends of the string so that you are able to hang the poster by the string.
    • Place an index tab on the bottom of the poster with the child's name on it for each child in the class.
    • Collect posters and place them in an area so that the index tabs are viewable and the posters are easily accessed.
    • When the child needs to go to time-out, help them hang the poster. Do not hang the poster if the child is in such a state that looking at the poster will further agitate them or if they are angry enough to destroy it.

    Use the time out chair and poster as aids to personalize the time out area on a temporary basis. Monitor how the student uses the poster and its effectiveness. Use the poster when needed, for students with special needs and all students needing time out in classrooms.