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school trip - plan ideas?

Submitted by an LD OnLine user on


My son’s school has a tradition that all 8th graders go on a trip to Israel as part of their graduation experience. Usually there are 2 adults and 15 to 20 students. Does anyone have ideas for what we should include in a plan for him? His diagnosis is NLD and he can get anxious when things don’t go according to plan. Also, he misses a lot of social cues which gets him into “pickles” with is friends. He loves history, geography and current events, so the trip should be a wonderful experience for him, but we need some sort of plan so the school people will feel comfortable that they can manage if things go wrong.

—Tee Ess

Submitted by eoffg on Sat, 01/05/2013 - 5:37 PM


Hi TeeEss and welcome here,

I just wrote to another new member about NLD, where I mentioned using a graphical organizer, which is also called ‘mind-mapping’.
Where this is really to do with your note that: ‘he can get anxious when things don’t go to plan’?

Where with NLD, people use Verbal rather then Non-Verbal planning?
Non-Verbal planning is more like a visual plan. Where we can see the plan as a whole, which makes it much easier change and rearrange parts within it.
But with Verbal planning, we have a series of words that outline the plan.
Where if you look at this Verbal plan as a paragraph that you have just written?
Where a change occurs, so that you have to remove one sentence in the paragraph?
Which will probably mean that you have to start all over again?

Though a graphical or mind mapping approach to planning?
Instead of creating a list, it organizes things around a whole page. So that we can look and see how it all fits together.
So that when any part changes? We don’t have to start all over again? As we can see how that part fits into the whole plan.
Though he could also use it to prepare for any possible changes?
As an analogy, you might compare a verbal plan that describes how to arrange everything in a room?
As opposed to a picture as a plan?

But then we have a change to the plan?
With the picture, it would be easy to see what effect the change would have.
But with the verbal plan, we might have to start all over again?

So that what I’m rather suggesting, is that it could provide an opportunity for him to explore a different way of planning, that can cope with changes?

Submitted by TeeEss on Sun, 01/06/2013 - 6:46 PM


HI Eoffg,

Thanks for your comments. I think a graphic organizer will be a good way to help him see any changes in the plan. I am also interested in any components that we should include in an overall plan for my boy. For example, if he is overwhelmed and needs to have some “alone time” how can this be handled. What will happen if he refuses to eat the food that is served, etc. We want to make sure he and the staff have a clear understanding about the behavior expectations and what to do if he is “unable” to organize himself into compliance.

Any ideas? Any sample behavior plans for travel that you know of?

I really appreciate your ideas.

Tee Ess

Submitted by eoffg on Mon, 01/07/2013 - 1:04 PM


Though something that I wonder, is if this could be used to help him develop ‘self-advocacy’?

For example, is he aware of when he becomes overwhelmed?
So that he could then advise them that he needs some ‘time alone’, or ‘time out’?
Or does he rely on others to identify when he is overwhelmed?
Where he may not realize it? Or perhaps he does realize it, but doesn’t feel able to tell people?
With any LD, a child comes to an age where they need to learn how to advocate for themselves.
Where it would be far less of a problem, if he recognized that he was starting to feel overwhelmed. Then went and told them, and perhaps had thought about where he could go for time out?
So that he gets in early, before he becomes overwhelmed?
Where it will be more of problem if he waits until he is overwhelmed, and relies on the other person to recognize it?
Just as with his possible ‘refusal to eat food’?
Perhaps it could be framed as, he is a fussy eater with aversions to certain foods. So that he needs to be able to select his foods from what is available?

Where I’m rather thinking that this could be used to give him responsibility, and to plan his own alternatives?
So that it is turned around from ‘how they will handle this’? To how he will will handle this?
Where this could be looked as developing a basic life skill?
From, I have a problem, what are going to do about it?
To, I have a problem, and this is how I will resolve it.

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