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Coping With Chaos is a story based program about emotions and behaviour, suitable for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (which may be useful for use with some on the autistic spectrum), and/or learning difficulties, autism.
Sam goes to different places and you must help him cope with the things that happen to him there. First you must recognise how Sam feels, then you decide what he does about it.
Coping With Chaos is best used as a tool for discussion about emotions and appropriate behaviour, either one-to-one or with a small group. By looking after Sam and relating to him, learners will be encouraged to understand that other people have feelings just like they do. By controlling Sam’s actions, learners can witness the consequences of inappropriate behaviour. Sam has his own fears and dislikes just like real people. It is hoped learners will be prompted to generalise these experiences and develop consideration for others.
Coping with Chaos has 14 different mini-stories featuring realistic animations in 3D. These take place in six familiar locations (a classroom, café etc), providing greater situational variety. Sam might be bothered by a wasp in the park, or a loud noise might make him jump. There are also two levels of play. The simpler level is for learners only able to understand ‘happy’, ‘sad’ and ‘angry’, while the second level adds emotions like ‘scared’, ‘bored’, ‘excited’ and ‘embarrassed’.
Coping with Chaos is best used on a large display with a group of students and used as a motivating focus for discussion in a PSHE lesson. It is suitable for readers and non-readers and all on-screen text for learners has spoken support.
Switch access options are available for learners who cannot use the mouse or a touch screen.
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.