These are guidelines only. Do not use them in the absence of qualified professional direction. Adjustments in the content, intensity, and duration of a procedure will often have to be made because of unique features of the child and his parents. The language introduces an "evolutionary" cast to some of the steps. The shift is made in the interest of serendipity; there are no data that show the different emphasis is associated with superior outcomes.
1. Give the child realistic information about the feared situation and his options for either escape or for controlling his rate of entry into it.
2. Use a large, trusted, skillful "alpha" child or adult, who has an alliance with your client, to come along and lead him through the difficult task. The strength of the alliance and the competence of the alpha are probably the most important consideration in choosing the buddy.
3. Make transitions into feared situations slowly. Introduce feared elements in the presence of known comforting elements such as pets, stuffed animals, or a trusted adult. Allow the child to be in the situation for some time before requiring him to participate actively.
4. Give easier tasks before more difficult ones.
5. Involve friends for the transition period. Have them sit with the child or model the behavior that is needed. Let them bring a pet, favorite toy, or stuffed animal to the test condition (provided the other children won't ridicule them). If the child has mastered the task but is still afraid to perform it, try having a younger sibling or a girlfriend come along and perform it with them.
6. Have the child practice the needed behaviors in less public or safer situations.
7. Praise them for being brave. Ask them to praise themselves for being brave.
8. Have them model the behavior for less able students.
9. Find similarities between the target behavior and skills that the child has already mastered. Slowly remove the differences.
10. Use material that shows favorite actors, cartoon characters, or heroes performing the skill.
11. Lower your head level to that of the child when giving directions or explanations. Modulate your vocal quality so that it is "low, close, & slow."
12. Teach Lamaze breathing. Use the "runners" model to get the pacing correct; that is, exhale on every other step while walking. Later, they can pretend to run while breathing in synchrony with their imagined pace.
14. Allow a "good luck" piece.