Skip to main content

Incredible 5 Point Scale Fact Sheet

The Incredible 5 Point Scale is used to assist students in becoming aware of their emotions, such as anger or pain, and the stage or level of the emotion. The scale can be used with a variety of students but can be particularly affective for students with Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorder. One to one instruction is suggested as the best way to introduce this strategy. Using the scale, the student rates his emotions or status of a condition or state. Possible areas of focus may include: anger, worry, anxiety, voice level, body space, etc. This then allows the student to (a) provide information to the teacher about how he is feeling, (b) become more effective in managing his thinking process, and (c) implement the desired behavior as a proactive approach. Giving a number instead of trying to describe or name an emotion helps students think efficiently in order to make good decisions in a variety of situations.

Buron and Curtis (2003) suggest pairing the scale with a story or narrative to provide additional information about using the scale.

The following steps may be used when implementing a 5?Point Scale with a student

  1. Choose the target behavior. Any kind of behavior or status can be a target behavior if rating the level or status of the behavior enhances adaptability. Anxiety or other feeling that usually result in problem behaviors may also be also targeted for rating.
  2. Decide on the content for each scale point associated with the target behavior. In the Incredible 5 Point Scale, each of the 5 stages represents the level or magnitude Of the target behavior.
  3. Develop a story or visual cue for the story if necessary. The story or visual cue should be developed carefully based on the student's interest or level of understanding. It should explain how the scale is to be used.
  4. Introduce the scale to the student. To use the scale successfully the student must learn how to discriminate and identify each stage
  5. Practice the scale with the student, revising it if necessary. Peers who understand the student can support her as she practices the appropriate behavior or interaction by using the scale. Adults, including Parents, Teachers, or other, in the setting, can help by using the scale with the student in various situations.

The Anxiety Curve

The anxiety curve model has been used by Buron and Curtis to visually illustrate the power of anxiety and its influence on student behavior.

Box 1 is meant to identify typical anxiety producing triggers such as loud noises, illness,
late bus, etc.

Box 2 holds basic information about how the person looks, what they might say or do when their anxiety is starting to increase. It is also a place to direct the person to the individual's calming sequence and or other relaxation strategies that are known to be effective.

Boxes 3 and 4 are primarily for the caregiver to assist with the calming process in a very quiet and calm manner. The individual with autism at a 4 is not able to manage many choices or decision?making.

Box 5 represents the crisis or most heightened stage of the individual's anxiety.

Visit: for another Anxiety Curve example and examples of a 5 point scale. Alternatively, download this document.

Back to top
Powered by Open Objects ©