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Cheeseswamp Cheeseswamp is offline
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
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Not for my boys
Old 12-20-2012, 10:37 PM
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I'm the youth counselor for a satellite school, and I firmly say no to toys or fidgets of any kind when on time out (or as we call it, on safety). I am a huge proponent of fidgets in general, and believe that developing a skilled fidget can be an incredible resource for coping with all kinds of difficult impulse and emotions, including restlessness or boredom in class. However, I place the boys on safety when those coping skills are failing to help them manage themselves or not being utilized. When they ask if they can have their fidget in time out, I say no and explain that being on safety means we are shifting from attempting coping skills (I.e. fidgets) to attempting self-soothing skills (e.g. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation exercises, or cognitive restricting). Of course, for the littles I usually phrase it simply as, "we're gonna try something else, because it didn't seem like that was too helpful for you just then".

The boys at our school are anywhere between 8 and 17, its all boys, and they are all working through traumatic experiences of one kind or it may not be the best route for everyone.

I also am very particular about what they may use as their fidgets (or as I've gotten the guys calling them, their "skills"). In my experience with stress balls or small toys, it is only a matter of time before they are thrown in an inappropriate manner. These objects can also be difficult to justify as appropriate to context as students mature, and may be abandoned. Pen tricks, doodling (ie. drawing while still maintaining eye contact with whomever is speaking), and rubber band tricks are the most common skills I allow in our classes. And, of course, the privilege to use this skill during classes is completely dependent on not distracting others with it.

In short, my reasoning has led me to have nothing but a chair and a small stuffed animal in out time out area. And the 17 year olds are just as likely to cuddle up with that little stuffed fish as are the 8 year olds when they self-soothe. Other useful items that I provide during time outs as needed: weighted blankets, white noise, ice cubes (for chewing or placing on their "hot spots"/ places where they feel tense), cinnamon sticks or toothpicks.
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