Homework Plans: A Tool for Promoting Independence

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With long brown braids and a huge smile, Kelly is a 12-year-old sixth grader attending an intermediate school in a large suburban community. Kelly is currently receiving special education services to address academic and behavioral learning needs. When given extended time and reminded (sometimes repeatedly) to think about what she has to do, Kelly usually completes at least part of her school and homework assignments.

At school, Kelly spends the majority of her day in the general education classroom. Debbie, her general education teacher, works hard to include Kelly in daily classroom activities. Kelly's special education teacher, Tina, works with Kelly for 1 hour each day. In addition to her individualized education program (IEP), Kelly has a behavior intervention plan that focuses on reducing task-avoidant behavior (described as verbal protestations, laying her head down on the table, and/or trying to run away from the work environment).

Homework has been a long-standing challenge for Kelly. Her mother, JoAnna, reports "major battles" during homework time, resulting in tantrums and incomplete assignments. Tina and JoAnna have recently been discussing Kelly's transition to junior high next year. Both are concerned about the increased amount of homework that she will be expected to complete then.