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You are in: Home > News > Coping with Chaos Review

Coping with Chaos Review

Using Coping with Chaos

A review by Rosie Murphy at Fairfield School

Coping with Chaos’ is different from a lot of other programs in that it features 3-D animation in the form of a character called ‘Sam’.  Sam is put into a variety of difficult situations which are commonplace for most students. Decisions have to be made to help him cope with his emotions.

Initially, I set up the program on the Interactive Plasma Screen to use with a group of KS3 students. Some of these students have emotional problems, some on the autistic spectrum. The program has three levels of difficulty ranging from simple to more complex emotions.

When the program starts we are introduced to Sam and he waves hello – a great touch as confirmed by my students, who enthusiastically waved back!

The program features a variety of easily recognisable locations for the students to choose from but, to avoid confusion, only two are shown on the screen at a time. Once the location has been selected Sam gets a surprise and expresses an emotional reaction. As one of the options, students can choose which surprise they would like Sam to receive. This is a useful tool as they can select a familiar situation, for example dropping an ice cream on the floor. At each stage in the program there is an animation of Sam which encourages the students to watch and they are unable to move to the next stage until it finishes.

Although 'Coping with Chaos' works very well with students who can access the plasma screen by touching it, I also used the switch option with a group of KS3/4 students. The program can be accessed by either one or two switches but, to accommodate all the needs of the students in the group, the mouse or touch screen can still be used at the same time. By setting the correct scan rate for my students, they could access the program by pressing a switch when the scan box reached the required button.

Using Coping with Chaos

As an addition to the lesson I printed off the excellent pictures located in the ‘resources’ section of the program. These enabled students to look at the choices and select at their leisure before using a switch, thereby reducing the pressure of choice making, scanning and switching at the same time. Also available are sheets for lotto boards and dominoes as well as small and large pictures of the emotions with empty speech bubbles so words can be added.

As each story is completed a star is given and after any number of stars have been earned, the student can print out a certificate giving the score.

Incorporated into the program are signs and symbols (sadly not PCS) and my students watched and signed in response. Throughout the program there is also positive reinforcement of the correct way to behave and simple explanations on why certain choices might not be appropriate.

The program promoted a lot of discussion with some students and we talked about different reactions to difficult situations and what is appropriate behaviour.

Overall this program was a big hit with our students. The graphics are clear and interesting. The subject matter is appropriate and it lends itself to group work on the Interactive Plasma Screen.

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