Doing RPM with others can:
* be a lot of fun,
* create opportunities to work on a variety of skills
* Add some deep thinking required when working with others
* Bring out different personality traits, characteristics, and talents in a student to be developed
* Improve ability to wait and show respect while the other student communicates
* Improve teamwork skills
* Bring out different educational opportunities and social development
* Generalize skills to be able to work in front of others
AND many more things
Is my child ready for this?
To successfully participate in a dyad or group RPM session a student needs to show readiness in 3 areas:
Motor Readiness: While it is possible to do group sessions when students are not proficient on the letter board, it is usually more successful if the student is proficient, for pacing and momentum of the group session. Usually you want your child to be able to do open ended communication on the letter boards. However, if a student is able to pick from choices well and is emotionally and sensory ready then he or she may successfully participate in group sessions in some cases.
Emotional Readiness: Some students express a desire to work with others and make friends. Some students don't show much of an interest. To be emotionally ready a student has to A) want to and be willing to work with the other student when opinions or desires may be different B) If doesn't really want to, student is accepting and tolerant of doing so. C) Can handle waiting turns. D) can work with a new person around, verses becoming emotionally overwhelmed (even with excitement) with another student present. I have listed just a few. There are other ways a student may need to be emotionally ready.
Sensory Readiness: Some students can spell well and do lessons well on their own but are not able to handle the sounds or self stimulatory activities of the other student. Some students engage in excessive self-stimulatory activity during their lessons and would struggle to sensory regulate without the teacher constantly competing with stims. These students would do better to wait for more regulation before engaging in dyads or group work.
There are some exceptions to the rules and I have run sessions where students didn't meet all three categories and still had fun with others students, but it would have been more productive should the students have waited a bit longer.
Ideas for Group Sessions
One of my favorite group sessions is to play a game of I SPY. This is fun because it:
* Gives students a change to work on visual scanning and encoding while having some fun
* Gives the teacher some fun trying to figure out while the student spells what they are even describing. (Sometimes I am completely shocked and didn't see the object being described myself.)
* Allows students to learn how to follow rules of a game, retain information/clues already given.
* Helps the teacher learn more about the students vision. (Some students only pick or give clues about objects that are right up near them. They struggle to see very far. Others look in the distance but miss what is right in front of them. Some select specific "hard to see" for most of us objects. Others only find objects in plain view)
*One student (we will call A) picks an object (I don't have them tell me what it is.)
* Student A gives the other students (we will call B) 2 clues about it
* Student B guesses
* Student A confirms or denies. If Student A denies then will give a third clue.
* Student B guesses.
* Student A confirms or denies. If Student A denies then a fourth and final clue.
* If Student B guesses correctly then Student B gets a point. If Student B doesn't then Student A gets a point.
* Then the students swap places and Student B picks an object and gives two clues and so forth.
* Other rules are that the object must be tangible (able to be seen with the naked eye) and can be seen (so it can't be hidden in a drawn and one student just remembering it)
You can modify the rules to suit your liking but many students give obvious clues so 4 is usually sufficient.
Below you can see two students engaging in a game of I SPY. Both of them display motor, sensory, and emotional readiness.
I also enjoy having students do drawing or art together. Sometimes I will have one student draw while the other instructs. Then I will also allow for commenting and checking in so the artist can give input at times or opinions as well. Below is an example are the transcripts and picture of the work of the students pictured in I SPY video. One is not emotionally and sensory ready to draw, while the other is. Therefore the one emotionally and sensory ready was asked to draw while the other did more guiding or telling the other what to draw. You can see they have a lot of humor and don't take themselves too seriously. :)
* Have students tell the other student how to draw themselves (also need emotional and sensory readiness for this task. Some are just fine to do it with a little motor modeling. others wouldn't be able to last) *See video below for an example
* Games: tic tac toe, memory, hangman, etc
* Science experiments (For some students this is too much so students need to be regulated well)
* Creative writing: drama, story, recipe, make a card for a mutual friend or another, etc
* Academic lesson with turn taking to answer
* Analyze a poem