What is it?
Pre-activity intervention is a form of “antecedent intervention” – this means that activities or the environment are adapted before any difficulties arise so that students are better able to engage and learn.
How do I use it?
- Find out what factors might be related to difficulties with learning or engagement. It is really important to find out what is causing any difficulties with learning or engagement. It is only when the factors related to the difficulties are understood that pre-activity interventions can be helpful. Consider:
- transition – students may have difficulty with changing classes, or moving from place to place
- change – students may be stressed with changes in staff or activities
- difficult work – students may find difficult work stressful or distressing
- activities that are non-preferred.
- Once the factors involved are known, it is possible to prepare students, adapt the activities or change the environment to help minimise problems and stressful situations. Examples can include:
- providing information verbally about an upcoming activity
- providing a visual support to help the student understand a change to an activity
- discussing content of classwork before class starts
- providing information about schedule changes
- using visual schedules to warn of change and/or to help the student to understand the activities planned for the day.
- Prepare materials needed for the intervention. This could include:
- Implement the intervention. This should happen before the student experiences difficulties (e.g. prior to a transition, prior to a change of staff).
- Observe the student to gain information about how well the pre-activity is working. Adapt as necessary – this could include different visual supports or identifying different activities that require support.
Note: The strategy can be applied to an individual or to a whole class and should be used together with other strategies such as visual supports and reinforcement strategies.
With modifications, pre-activity interventions can be used across the age range.
Where can I learn more?
- Antecedents, Positive Consequences, and Extinction Procedures: The Secret Ingredients for Creating a Better Behavior Intervention Plan (PDF, 824KB)
- Steps for Implementation: Antecedent-Based Interventions (PDF, 133KB) (also described as pre-activity interventions)
- Assessment-Based Antecedent Interventions Used in Natural Settings to Reduce Challenging Behavior: An Analysis of the Literature
Kern, L., Choutka, C. M., & Sokol, N. G. (2002). Education and Treatment of Children, 113-130.