Our Solve Not Size decision-making supports for problems generated a lot of interest and also some important questions. One frequently asked question was, “how do you use this tool when a student is refusing an activity?” In an effort to understand the situation more clearly, we responded seeking more details and information. It became apparent that, from the autisitic person’s perspective, there was a valid reason for “refusal’ and that refusal usually stemmed from a problem with the activity or environment. Therefore, we leveled up our #SolveNotSize tools to address the specific issue of problems in the context of activities and environments.
There are two supports included here. The first is a general flow chart of the overall process, which supports the person in identifying if there is a problem for them in the activity/environment. If there is a problem, the next step is to identify what kind of activity it is (e.g., Must Do, Needs to be Done but Negotiable, or It’s Up to Me). Determination of the type of activity sets the course for a path to problem solving and support. The second visual tool is a workbook version of the overall flow chart. While the information in the workbook is the same as that in the overall flow chart, the formatting is less visually complex, broken into more manageable and explicit steps, and includes space to write notes for reference. For partners using these tools to support autistic individuals it is critical to LISTEN the perspective of the individual, respect the information they are sharing, and to honor their request or need for support (or not) in order to solve the problem with the activity. This tool is NOT designed for NT partners to determine the “severity” of a problem, but to understand the things that are truly problematic for autistic learners so that appropriate support and guidance can be used as needed.