Teens on the Tenth: Age Appropriate Tips

Categories: Interventions | Resources

My favorite blog post of the month – because I get some additional ideas and perspectives from some fabulous colleagues. I am sure you sick of my rants too (hehe…). This month is an important topic – how to keep things age appropriate! In my mind it is one big whole gray area. You have to use your best judgement and make sure to think of the pros and cons of every situation. We of course want to have reinforcers, communication topics, and toys/gamest that are motivating and interesting to our students but at the same time I am sure we all would have an uneasy feeling seeing teenagers or adults watching Barney. Yea. Not right. So where is this philosophical line?

My amazing amiga from my hometown is an OT that works in both the grade school and and high school settings. She is such a valuable resource because she has the perspective from both settings. Here are her keep-it-age-appropriate tips:

  • If an item/movie is the most preferred item the student has do not get rid of it instantly because it is not “age appropriate.” Consider limiting it or altering this. Use barney stickers instead of the barney movie. Maybe they need to have good behavior or work completion all week in order to gain access to the item.
  • Don’t instantly take something away without a plan to fade it out.
  • Think about who watches the cartoon/movie. Many adults like some popular cartoons such as Finding Nemo, Ice Age etc. If your student/client likes cartoon – steer them towards these types of cartoons that are more widely enjoyed.
  • Utilize these items for academic purpose. I have my students/clients work on writing or fine motor skills by writing about spongebob or looking for Dora characters in a rice bin.
  • Students/clients may not have interest in more age appropriate concepts because they may not have appropriate access to it. Adapt these concept so students may have access to it. The high school classroom I work in uses news-2-you for adapted newspaper articles. They create similar items to add visuals and simple language for current events, pop culture, and sports to provide students access to higher level concepts. speakingeditionsimage
  • The teachers I work with do not provide access to anything that is extremely below age level such as hard “preschool” storybooks, large plastic primary looking toys/activities, etc. Anything that is remotely preschool looking is not in the room. Consider what alternatives could be used for tasks for lower functioning students.

Instead of these preschool puzzles:Unknown

Use magazine pictures to make simple puzzles:


Instead of this preschool sorting toy:images

Cut out shape pieces in a container:




Hope these were helpful to you! Any other tips, ideas, strategies?


This was an edition of Teens on the Tenth!



1 Comment

  1. This is very helpful for my middle school classroom! Thank you!! My kids work for video clips on youtube of their favorite cartoons.


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