I once observed a teacher working with an 8 year old student at his home.
She had worked with him for 5 years.
The child, who was fully verbal, sat at the table and answered questions about himself – his name, age, school, grade, etc. However, when she was done and told him to take a break, he did not seem to know what to do.
When I asked him the same questions, he did not answer me.
The child decided to go to the bathroom, but the door was closed and he could not turn the door knob. He began screaming. The teacher went to the door and opened it for him. The child could not unbuckle his belt, and began screaming again. He came back into the room with his belt open, and waited for his teacher to notice so that she could buckle it for him.
The teacher then showed me a program in his book, and asked me how she should start it. It was a program where he needed to identify an emergency situation versus a non emergency situation. For example – “Is a fire in the fireplace an emergency? Is a fire in your room an emergency?”
I explained to her that the child did not yet have the prerequisites needed to begin this program, and as a result, he would not learn it in a functional way, but rather in a rote manner.
The primary reason one would need to identify an emergency situation would be to then seek help in that situation.
However, I witnessed multiple times the child could not request help in a non emergency situation – so this is where the programming would need to be geared.