Body breaks are a very important strategy to understand, they can often be the most effective strategy used in the classroom.
A body break is designed to allow the student to take a break from learning and calm their body. For students living with FASD, body breaks can be an especially confusing strategy to accommodate for school professionals. Usually, a body break is required when a child, youth or adult has exhausted their mind and can no longer sit in class and participate with the rest of the students. What is important about a body break is that it must include a few necessary components for it to work:
1. The break will need to be more then a simple walk around the school. Unfortunately, without a body break tailored to meet individual needs, most students will come back to the classroom just as cognitively exhausted and similar behaviors will return.
2. Some of the best body breaks are designed around something the individual loves to do and does well, not only does this require less cognitive ability because of the individual’s natural talent, but it also fosters self esteem.
3. Usually an activity that has a type of rhythmic element will help the student alleviate any stress; this can look like jump rope, hacky sac, basketball, swinging or even playing a hand held game.
4. Keeping each body break the same amount of time is important. However, allowing for flexibility will help during especially trying times. These times are often following a break from school, like summer holidays, or winter break and spring break.
5. Don’t forget to investigate why the body break was needed.
TIP: Make sure to use something like a timer during body breaks, otherwise the child, youth or adult will never understand the need to stop. Set your timer for 15 minutes and ask them how many times they can jump the rope or bounce the basketball before the timer sounds?
Do it yourself: