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Remote Support Series: Using Interests, Preferences, and Choice to Engage

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Adjusting to new ways of supports during this time may be difficult for all of us.  When engaging in remote supports, consider how you might use that person’s interests, preference, and choice to promote engagement. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If you don't already have an understanding of the individual's interests and preferences, spend time developing rapport to assess that. Think about how those interests might naturally relate to the goals of the individual.
  • Watch a video clip, a television show, or read something together related to the individuals interest and use that to work on communication and conversational skills.
  • Together, create a schedule of your remote support time where each of you picks an activity balancing goals with interests and goals that may not be of interest for that individual. Set a time limit for each activity. 
  • Promote self-determination and control: are there ways to infuse opportunities for the individual to decide what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc.? Can the individual exercise choice during the time you are supporting him/her (e.g., if practicing proper technique for washing hands, can he/she choose materials that they have available)?
  • Offer breaks when it is evident that the individual is frustrated. Develop a list of quick and interest-based activities that you can work on together during the breaks.  Keep these breaks just long enough to regain composure so you can return to the task at hand.

Are there other strategies or recommendations that have been effective for the participants you support? If so, let us know! Please send any suggestions or  questions related to this email or requests for additional resources to RA-basprovidersupprt@pa.gov