Sample safety or de-escalation plan

HomeSchool resourcesSocial emotional learning (SEL)Sample safety or de-escalation plan

Sample safety or de-escalation plan

HomeSchool resourcesSocial emotional learning (SEL)Sample safety or de-escalation plan
Name: Room: 
Date: Year: 
Narrative: X is a 10-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with autism. He is generally quite placid and happy, although in some social situations he can become very agitated. This is particularly evident when working with particular students and while playing small group games.
Strengths and interests: Klikko and LEGO Minecraft Decodable texts Card games Has started enjoying playing bob tag outside
Goal: Manage emotions to keep himself, teacher, and peers safe
Nature of potential risk: If teacher intervention is not effective and timely, X’s behaviour can escalate to a point where he can become physical with others. This can also include tipping over classroom furniture and throwing objects.
Triggers/antecedents: Particular peers (see class teacher, LSC/SLT).   While playing games in break times (e.g. Exploding Kittens) Feels like others may be cheating. He also finds it hard to lose at times.   During writing time in class.     Transitions to other spaces at school.Prevention strategies: Strategic grouping & people, and things to play with during breaks.   Explicit teaching/reminder of rules prior to starting game, preparing him to cope with game outcomes.     Visual timetable, when and then, support from LSA, scaffolding with high interest pictures and graphic organisers.   Identify and validate feelings when moving to other spaces. Gather X’s voice around what would support him. Potential ideas – take a squish toy, wear headphones, and pre-empt with visual timetable.
Emotional & engagement level:Signs and symptoms of emotional state:Staff response:
X is in a calm space and is ready to engage with learning  Engagement, smiling, laughing, and talks animatedly  Goal: to maintain regulation through connection, curriculum adaptation, and realistic expectations. Predictable routine and boundariesClear, short instructions and then allowing time for complianceStructure and consistencyFirm, fair expectationsPositive recognition for appropriate behavioursBreak down task or request into small manageable steps and give time frame to check back inGive him agency by offering choice between activitiesNotice and respond to how he isAcknowledge his state, e.g. needing to rest if tiredUsing visual feeling cards + supporting strategies
X appears agitated, heightened stressed, withdrawn or frustrated              Change of behaviour: Body language changes Facial expressions show anger/disappointment Less tolerant Eyeing the people he is unhappy with Physically gets up and moves around, may start to pick things upGoal: to return X to a ready-to-learn state as quickly as possible Even if behaviour is inappropriate, ensure an even, calm tone and avoid threats of consequences. Check for physiological needs (‘Let’s grab a drink of water/some food’)Lower demands and questions Active listening: Check in using feeling cardsIf not engaging in conversation, repeat the emotion e.g. I can see you are feeling…. Offer a break/use of a break card: Suggest a drink or snackTake a walk outside (with an LSA)Retreat to his safe space just outside the classroom in the breakout space (large table) Offer an alternative: Work with a preferred peerDifferentiate task or environment Give space and time: Gentle reminder of task at handRemove audience or triggerSuggest an alternative task/learning environment: ‘I notice you don’t seem to be enjoying this, shall we …..’  
X will have verbal and/or physical aggression towards others or property    Increasing challenge/controlling: Tipping over furniture Throwing objects around the room  Goal: Think de-escalation and safety Keep interactions and communications to a minimumReduce direct proximity and audience (remove children from the class)Give choice/redirect to alternative space (Build using klikko or watch the fish in Principal’s office)Keep calm and notify SLT immediately (send a runner with a red card)Offer an out or a calm space (Principal’s office to mindfully watch fish) if appropriate and responsive Allow space and time to calm (Keep a distance but ensure visibility) Fresh face: If not engaging with you, request support from a known/ trusted adult (LSA, Principal)
Out of controlLoss of physical and emotional control: Grabbing people around the legs and/or waist Pinning people down Running out of the class and into the playgroundGoal: Safety and de-escalation: Ensure you are calm and using your own strategies to slow down/regulate (breath out for longer, drop your shoulders) Reduce direct proximity and audience (remove children from the class) Give space around X (allow release of energy)Refrain from checking-in/talking with him at all at this stage One key adult managing the situation, a second adult to keep safe eyes from a distanceTag-out with other ‘safe-eyes’ adult if necessary
Calming downRegaining control/ more verbal: Time away from the classroom with minimal sensory input – quiet, activity of his choiceGoal: to increase regulation through distraction, relational connection, low demands, and realistic expectations. Not the time to rehash a prior event and have a restorative conversationFocus on the present and X’s re-establishment of emotional regulation
School procedure following a major IncidentEtap the incident – SLT will get this notification Depending on the severity X’s mum will be called (ie., physical incident involving furniture or people) Having an SLT member check in and acknowledge the incident and reaffirm support is appreciated.

Click here to access a blank template to use in your own setting.


Cath Dyson

Cath Dyson is an RTLB (Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour) in Whakatū (Nelson). She is also an Autistic Advisor for Altogether Autism and has a special interest in neurodiversity, trauma-informed practice, and inclusive education. 

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