Lesson 4: Recognizing Interests, Desires, and Concerns

graphic of a head filled with various colors and patterns

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To recognize when to be assertive

Materials needed: Ice cream sundae bar


“To be assertive, you must recognize your preferences and concerns. It is healthy to have likes, dislikes, and frustrations. If nothing matters, there is no reason to be assertive. Let’s contemplate and discuss what matters to you. “

Speaker: “My Assertiveness Story”

Have a youth, preferably one from another class, share a story about recognizing the need to be assertive and successfully speaking up for himself or herself.

Discussion: When Should I be Assertive?

Ask students the following questions to facilitate discussion:

  • Can you think of specific scenarios within the following contexts that depict an interest, need, desire, preference, or concern?
    • A medical question at the doctor’s office
    • Discussing personal interests on a first-date
    • Stating your hobbies at a job interview
    • Disappointed with the service of a personal trainer
    • Requiring assistance at the airport
    • Reporting an issue at an office meeting
  • How can I recognize when I am concerned and need to address the issue or leave the situation?
  • When is it appropriate and beneficial to share my likes and dislikes?
  • Are there certain scenarios that make me especially nervous to share what is on my mind?

Exercise: An Introspective Look

Ask each student to think through the answers to the following questions. There is no need for group discussion.

  • How do I like my eggs cooked?
  • What foods do I like? Dislike?
  • What style of music do I prefer?
  • How do I feel when someone borrows something of mine without asking?
  • How do I feel when/if someone plays “Guess who I am!”?
  • Do I care if I order a meal and receive an incorrect order?
  • Am I okay with working on a group project and pulling most of the weight?
  • When was the last time I felt upset with another person? Why?
  • Have I ever felt as if someone was taking advantage of me?
  • In what career field do I want to work?
  • How do I recognize when I need assistance from another?
  • How do I feel when someone tries to help me and I don’t need help?

Exercise: Choosing a Preference

Have an ice cream sundae bar where students can choose their preferences for ice cream and topping flavors.


“Today we discussed having preferences, interests, needs, desires, and concerns. These aspects are the reason for being assertive. Next time we will begin to learn how to assertively communicate our preferences, interests, needs, desires, boundaries, and concerns.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: