Provide day programs with a curriculum and facilitation guide that will help support the staff in creating meaningful activities and engaging learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities, whom we serve.
- Provide the individuals we serve with opportunities to actively participate in and integrate into their community;
- Provide the individuals we serve with learning opportunities;
- Guide and encourage the individuals we serve to advocate for themselves; and
- Support the individuals we serve in becoming more self-sufficient.
Develop a day program curriculum that provides a thematic overview, desired outcomes, and suggested training/facilitation ideas for the program staff.
The Meaningful Day: Day Program Curriculum and Staff Guidebook provides the program staff with a thoughtful curriculum, desired outcomes, and suggested training ideas for working with the individuals we serve. Please note that we recognize that staff-to-individual ratios, time frames for day programs, and functionality of the individuals may prove difficult in implementing the entire curriculum. Regardless, in order to provide the individuals we serve with a meaningful learning experience each day, we encourage you to use your best judgment in managing the themed units, daily activities, and learning flow, which should always be intended to engage the individuals’ participation throughout their day program experience. Instead of saying, “This is not possible,” ask yourselves, “How can we make it possible?” Remember, this curriculum and guide should encourage creativity and flexibility, as well as provide opportunities to make choices within the existing program structure.
The curriculum is broken down by themed units, which will focus on key themes and subtopics and include suggested teaching/training ideas, learning opportunities, and/or activities within the 5-day time frame for each unit.
- Each day of the unit will include identified desired outcomes, a range of suggested activities suitable for the development levels of the individuals we serve, and the average staff/group ratio of 1:8.
- The provided time frames are broad in order to recognize the functionality of the individuals we serve and the time frames that day service programs have each day. Not every desired outcome may be met, but the curriculum is a starting point for providing better services and greater options to the individuals we serve.
- The suggested training ideas are meant to be just that—suggestions. Feel free to choose the training ideas that would work best for your particular program and the individuals you serve.
- Spend extra time on topics and desired learning outcomes that reinforce an individual’s support plan (ISP) and the goals identified therein. The curriculum provided should be linked to an individual’s goals and objectives, which will assist him or her in developing a structured routine.
Social Skills Unit: Day 1
Day 1 Topic: Meeting, greeting, and starting and ending conversations
- Teach, role-play, and demonstrate to the individuals we serve what meeting a person for the first time looks like. (For example: “Hello, my name is ____. What is your name? It is nice to meet you!” Teach the individuals that it is customary to shake hands during a meeting. Remind the individuals that hugging is used when greeting close friends and shaking hands is used when meeting new people.)
- Teach, role-play, and demonstrate to the individuals we serve what greeting a person looks like. (For example: “Hello, ____, nice to see you again! Hello, ____. How are you? I am well, thank you!”)
- Teach, role-play, and demonstrate to the individuals we serve what starting and ending a conversation looks like. (For example: “How is your day? Are you enjoying the weather? How is work going? How is your family? Have a good afternoon! It was nice talking to you! See you later!”)
- Have the individuals practice with others meeting, greeting, and starting and ending conversations.
Suggested Training & Facilitation Ideas:
- Have the individuals role-play among themselves to practice what they learned.
- Have them pair up and practice taking turns starting the meet and greet and starting and ending conversations.
- Have the individuals watch two staff members meeting and greeting and starting and ending conversations; then have them take turns doing what they saw.
- Have them go out and observe in the community; ask them what they see as “normal” meeting and greeting habits from what they observed.
- Have the individuals practice meeting people out in the community or inviting community members to do a meet and greet on-site.
Social Skills Unit: Day 2
Day 2 Topic: Selecting appropriate conversations
- Teach, role-play, and demonstrate to the individuals we serve what appropriate conversations are and why. (For example: It is okay to talk about the weather; it is not appropriate to talk about politics or personal problems to an acquaintance or someone you don’t know well.)
- Teach the individuals we serve what types of conversation topics are acceptable.
- Teach, role-play, and demonstrate to the individuals we serve what an appropriate conversation looks like. (For example: “Hello, ____, nice to see you again! Hello, ____. How are you? I am well, thank you! How do you like the weather? What are you doing this weekend? What do you like to do? I like to read, eat, and dance!”)
- Have the individuals practice selecting appropriate conversations with each other and the staff.
Suggested Training & Facilitation Ideas:
- Have the individuals pick appropriate conversation topics from a group of pictures of people, places, and things (e.g., pictures of a church, the outdoors/weather, people fighting, art, books, and TV shows.)
- Role-play/demonstrate what an appropriate conversation looks like.
- Role-play with the individuals in order to practice what the individuals learned.
- Provide appropriate topics of conversation and have the individuals practice with peers and the staff.
- Provide pictures of objects or locations and have the individuals start conversations based on those topics.