Change the Changeable Toolkit

What options do we have when a student with autism screams loudly and scratches his arms when unexpected announcements are made over the loudspeaker in the classroom? Or when a youngster sneaks into the kitchen at night and eats whole jars of peanut butter? How can we help a person who inadvertently distracts her fellow high school students and teacher with constant fidgeting and rocking? Or someone who compulsively puts small objects in his mouth? One sure-fire strategy is to change the changeable.

Listen Now:


continue reading

If a student as an explosive reaction to unexpected loudspeaker announcements, the teacher can request the front office not make unexpected announcements in her room. They can send her an e-mail message or a written note about relevant announcements.

The sneaky peanut butter thief is allergic to peanut butter, but he can be out-smarted if we make just one small change, i.e. simply do not keep peanut butter in the house.

The high school student learned to sit toward the back of her classes so she would not distract others in class with her unconscious habit of repetitive movements or rocking.

If a person compulsively sticks small objects in his mouth, it is our responsibility to make a change. We cannot expect him to resist picking up objects in his reach. We can prevent injury by constant, diligent monitoring to make absolutely certain no small objects are within reach – ever.

Granted, there are some factors over which we have no control, but, in many cases, one small change can make a big impact. By making a change in logistics, schedule, surroundings, our expectations, our response, or our approach, we can help resolve an issue, calm agitation, decrease frustration, or encourage participation and cooperation.

Today, February 1, we are releasing an Toolkit, Change the Changeable, that takes an in-depth look at this effective, easy-to-implement strategy. The Change the Changeable workbook and audio discussion introduces the basic framework for dealing with issues and explores factors in daily life we cannot control, factors inherent in autism, and factors that we can, indeed, manage. The Toolkit is filled to the brim with real life examples of the effectiveness of the “change the changeable” strategy as teachers, parents, therapists, and others discover the impact of changing just one factor when facing a challenging situation related to autism.

TIP FOR THE DAY: Find out more info about the new Change the Changeable Toolkit.

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism.

Comments are closed.