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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Find a Way Out during Fire Prevention Week - Helping Special Needs Kids Learn Safety Skills

Fire Prevention Week was originally established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  This huge fire killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless. The fire began on October 8, and continued into October 9, 1871.
According to popular legend, the fire started after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lamp, setting her barn on fire, from where it spread to the whole city.  Fortunately, historians have begun to take the blame off of poor old Mrs. O’Leary and her cows - who were actually asleep in the barn at the time.

 Fire drills are crucial to the safety of children in schools - and homes.  Knowing the routine of what to do when the alarm rings can avoid injuries and even save lives.
But fire drills are disruptive experiences, loud and confusing, for many children with special needs who do not always understand what is happening, who hate changes in routines and schedules, and who cringe and cover their ears at any loud noise.

Visual cues are an important of learning and remembering any task or schedule for kids with autism - and many other special needs.  Have visual cues for fire drills posted in the classroom. Have each child have his/her own copy in his/her desk.  Allow them to carry these visual cues throughout the fire drill, to help remind them - without verbal nagging or unnecessary verbalizing.
Take this set of visual cues for use in your classroom or home.

How do you keep your kids safe during emergency drills?

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