Strategies for Including Students with Autism in the ...
Strategies for Including Students with Autism in the School Classroom Presented by Sharon Owen LEP for Gorman Learning Center What you will Learn What is Autism What are the Characteristics Educational and Behavioral Strategies Accommodations in the Classroom Additional Resources and Information What is Autism? Delayed
or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas: Social Interaction Communication delayed language Patterns of behavior (e.g., restricted, repetitive, stereotyped), interests, and activities What is Autism? Today, it is generally agreed that Autism should be viewed as a spectrum disorder. Symptoms can occur in many varieties and
varying degrees of intensity. No two individuals with Autism present in the same way. Common Characteristics: It is important to remember that no two students with Autism look, behave, communicate or learn in the same way. However, there are some general characteristics that many children with Autism share. Common Characteristics:
Movement Differences Rocking, flapping, pacing, etc Can appear clumsy or awkward Poor fine or gross motor skills Sensory Differences Difficulty maintaining or switching arousal states Hearing Touch Smell Sight Taste Common Characteristics: Communication
Differences Some students have limited or no spoken words Unusual speech intonations Repetitive speech (echoing the words of others) Expressive communication difficulties Receptive communication difficulties Common Characteristics Socialization
and Interaction Differences Some students have little or no desire for social interaction with peers Others have a strong desire for friendships but lack the skills necessary for successful social interaction Attempts at social interaction may be misunderstood or misinterpreted Common Characteristics:
Learning Differences Processing difficulties Decreased memory May require non-traditional ways of showing what they know Interests or Fascinations Many have a deep interest in one or a variety of topics May need favorite materials, activities, behaviors and interest areas to relax, focus, or make connections with others Learning Characteristics of Autism concrete- difficulty thinking abstract (autistic children typically cant pretend or
imagine something that isnt real or couldnt really happen) over selectivity- cue in or attend to irrelevant detail miss the main point of task/ activity lack of generalization- learn in one place, cant do in another same content/same context- learn skill in one environment/place then change aspect of place, cant do task distractibility- easy to tune into something else
Learning Differences visual/spatial- learn by seeing and doing rather than hearing; difficulty processing language ritualistic- learn pattern one way, hard to change motivation- Different from peers or what others would want Classroom Strategies
Talking to a child with autism: Attention: make sure you get the childs attention before talking to them. Unnecessary Language: be short and to the point (For example, instead of saying, You need to come and sit in your seat like all the other children until its time to go outside, point to the chair and say, Sit please.
Do vs. Dont: Tell the child what you want him/her to do instead of what not to do. Avoid using dont because a child with autism may not understand or catch the reversed meaning of the statement beginning with dont. Classroom Strategies Visual Schedules Visuals Aids Social Stories 5 point scale Comic Strip Conversations/Cartooning Classroom Strategies
Providing a daily schedule in a visual format will make the day predictable, ease transitions, and reduce stress. Full day, may break the day into sections, or display only a part of the day at a time. May use photos, line drawings, picture symbols or words (Crissey, 2005, p. 3). Academic Accommodations:
A structured environment Visual Schedule (classroom or individual) Give transition warnings (5 minutes until) *timer can be used for class to see Visual Aides/manipulatives to support instruction Increased time for processing and responding Break down directions/tasks into smaller steps or chunks Other types of visual supports include: reminders of what to do, such as posted rules
to do checklists, charts displaying consequences for inappropriate actions. Visually displaying free time or other choices helps the child to understand the process of decision making. Presenting a card is often easier for the child than asking for help. Using simple cue cards for the child to give to an adult or to place in a certain location may be helpful. (Crissey, 2005, p. 4)
Visuals used to help students reduce abstract ideas such as emotions, feelings, or pain into simple numbers can also be used to address behaviors such as vocal volume, disrespect, etc. visual scale
can be used to help student identify where they can use certain behaviors. (e.g. vocal volume level 5 is reserved for outside or in an extreme emergency when there is no one near by that can hear you) Example Michael is a 5th grader with autism. He is very soft spoken and often difficult to understand. He is frequently asked to repeat things because he is so difficult to understand. He is prompted constantly to speak louder, however, every time he is called on the teacher has to ask him to speak up again.
A 5 point scale was created for him to use to measure vocal volume and since it is been in place the teacher no longer says speak up. Instead she uses phrases such as, Say it at a 3! or Keep it at a 2! In addition, she will use a visual and point the volume level she wants Michael to use. Social Stories Social Stories present appropriate social behavior in the form of a book and include: relevant social cues that a child might miss if not directly taught
specific behaviors/actions the child is to expect in a given situation details for the child to know what is expected of him Social stories may be used to: address many different behaviors from fear, aggression, obsession, etc
teach routines and changes in routines help teach students to understand their behaviors and the behaviors of others give step-by-step directions for completing a task tell how to respond to a given situation How to write Social Stories Social
stories include the following information: 1. who, what, and where 2. Statement of desired responses 3. Reaction and feelings of others involved 4.
social stories need to be age and ability appropriate and use terms like usually or sometimes instead of always 5. Social stories are typically written in present tense to describe events as the take place, but may be written to describe events that will take place in the future. 6. Illustrations may be included depending on the need of the student. Presenting Social Stories Present the social story in a quiet place that is free from distractions
Reread social story just before targeted situation Review social story frequently until behavior diminishes Keep the social story accessible to the student so he/she can refer back to it as needed. Never refer to the social story or attempt using the social story
when the child is in crisis/having a meltdown. Example My Grown-Up Voice When I need help, I will raise my hand and wait for Ms. McKenney and Mr. Jones to call on me. When Ms. McKenney calls on me, I will use my grown-up voice to ask for help. I will not whine or make noises.
If I dont understand something, I will use my grown-up voice and ask for help. I can say, Excuse me Ms. McKenney, what did you say? Then Ms. McKenney might say, What nice manners you have Bill, and thank you for using your grown-up voice. I will be happy to repeat what I said. When I make noises, my friends can not hear Ms. McKenney teaching. My noises hurt their ears. Types of Accommodations for
students with Autism within the General Education Classroom Comic Strip Conversations/Cartooning Comic Strip Conversations (aka: Cartooning) are visual systems used to enhance the ability of children and youth with social-cognitive challenges to understand their environment, including the hidden curriculum. Steps for creating/using comic strip conversations:
Drawing: Begin by drawing the drawing the comic strip conversation. This can be done by you or the student. Either way, artistic ability is not required; stick figures work fine. Guide with questions: The adult guides the students drawing or what needs to be drawn by asking a series of questions: Where are you? Who else is there? What did you do? What did others do
(Myles, Trautman, & Schelvan, 2004, p. 28-29) Academic Accommodations First, Then board Academic Accommodations: Extra time to complete assignments Organizational strategies such as graphic organizers, charts, check lists, etc. A scribe when the assignment is subject based not writing OR a printed copy of notes
from another student or teachers notes Academic Accommodations: Most of our students on the Autism Spectrum have far better decoding skills than comprehension skills. Just because students can decode the text does not mean they are comprehending what they read. Comprehension Checks should: -limit open ended questions -give choices for answers to questions asked (ex. Did the character feel excited or annoyed?) -realize that they are getting the black and white, but they need to be taught the grey. -assist students in understanding what is implied by the author
Social/Emotional Accommodations: Sensory breaks such as running errands, climbing structure, seat cushions, swings at recess or a quiet area if they are overstimulated. Sensory diets should be overseen by professional such as Occupational therapist. Social/Emotional Accommodations:
Errands to be done with a partner to provide a social opportunity Insert breaks during natural transition times OR at designated times throughout the day. (This will be what works best for the child and the classroom he or she is a part of.) Pacing in the back of class may allow a child an easy sensory break. Fiddle sticks, therapy cushion, squishy ball Social/Emotional Accommodations: Use of social stories or scripts during social
situations, transitions, changes in routine, field trips, assemblies, fire drills, asking for help, etc. Positive peer models: use buddies for recess Frequent and Specific Positive reinforcement Social Story Examples Asking for Help Sometimes I do not know what I need to do.
This is ok. No one knows what to do all the time. When this happens I should ask my teacher or another adult for help. That is the right thing to do. My teacher will be so happy to help me. It will help me understand what I need to do. I am so happy that I know how to ask for help. This will make me a very successful student. Social Story Examples
Our Field Trip On Friday my third grade class is going on a field trip. It will be fun. When I get to school in the morning I will not do morning work. I will get on a bus with my friends and teachers and ride to Plimoth Plantation. I will do a scavenger hunt at Plimoth Plantation. Ms. Ash will help me. I will eat my lunch at Plimoth Plantation. Ms. Ash will bring me a meatball sub for lunch I will have a quiet voice and a quiet body. When the field trip is over, I will get back on the bus with my friends and teachers and ride back to school. My teachers will be proud of me if I have a quiet voice and quiet body on the field trip.
On Friday my third grade class is going on a field trip. It will be fun. Social Story Examples Fire Drills Sometimes we have fire drills at school. They help us practice.
It is just practice, there is NO fire. I am okay. I am safe. I will stay in class with my friends until I hear the fire alarm ring. When I hear the fire alarm I will go outside with my class. I will walk slowly. I will not talk. I will be okay. It is just practice. Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management Functions of Behavior & Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management
Functions of Behavior All behaviors have a function or reason (some have more than one). In order to change a behavior, you first need to find the function of the behavior (why the student is displaying it). There are four main functions of behavior: Tangible, Escape, Attention, and Sensory. Tangible The student is displaying the behavior in order to get something tangible. For example they want the blue marker but
were given the red marker. They may start yelling or crying when they do not get the blue marker Giving the student the blue marker when acting inappropriately REINFORCES their behavior. Escape The student is displaying this behavior in order to get out of doing something. For example, the student may cry or yell during writing in order to not complete the task. Allowing the student to not complete the work only REINFORCES their behavior.
Attention A student displays a behavior in order to get attention (positive or negative) from someone. For example, the student may make noises to get his peers to laugh or to get spoken to by the teacher. Giving that student attention (positive or negative) only REINFORCES the behavior. As hard as it is, IGNORE the behavior. Sensory
The student displays the behavior because it fulfills their sensory needs. For example, a student may flap their hands or make noises because it fulfills their sensory needs. Behaviors due to Sensory needs are the most difficult to decrease. Find a more appropriate behavior that can also fulfill the same sensory need. Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management
Structure is Essential Predictability, consistency, and reliability are important Identify HIGH-RISK SITUATIONS, over-stimulating, situations in advance (these may include class parties, assemblies, field trips or any change in routine) and plan ahead for them TRANSITIONS can be tough for students with autism spectrum disorders. Possible strategies for transitioning include:
Give advanced warning Use a timer Rehearse the transition Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management: Use CLEAR, CONCISE language
Be aware of TONE OF VOICE: Kids react negatively to preachy, angry, whiny, pleading, infantilizing, moralistic, over-dramatic, loud, pushy, sarcastic tone of voice. Kids react positively to bright, friendly, gentle, firm, humorous, simple, neutral, sing-song tone of voice. Represent things VISUALLY whenever possible. Provide visual cues for behavioral expectations
Behavioral Intervention Decoding people Children on the Spectrum do not read body language or nonverbal communication. The significance of the stern look, the raised eyebrow, and other subtle, non-verbal means of classroom management are lost to a child on the Spectrum. Behavior continued Children on the Spectrum do not know how to do imaginary play.
Children on the Spectrum are often rigid and rule bound. Children on the Spectrum have exclusive interests and only want to talk about them. Behavior continued Children on the Spectrum are often compulsive, perseverate, and are perfectionist Children on the Spectrum often are hypersensitive to visual, auditory, smells, or tastes. Some may be hyposensitive to pain Many have No Fear References:
Super Skills: A Social Skills Group Program for Children with Aspergers Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Related Challenges By: Judith Coucouvanis (ISBN#: 1931282-67-6) Navigating the Social World: A Curriculum for Individuals with Aspergers Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Related Disorders By: Jeanette McAfee, M.D. (ISNB#: 1885477-82-1) Power Cards: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Asperger
Syndrome and Autism By: Elisa Gagnon (ISBN#:1-931282-01-3) The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting students with autism spectrum disorders in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotional responses By Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis (ISBN#:1-931282-52-8) The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations By: Brenda Smith Myles, Melissa L. Trautman, and Ronda L. Schelvan (ISBN#: 1-931282-60-9) Practical Solutions to Everyday Challenges for Children with Asperger Syndrome By: Haley Morgan Myles (ISBN#:1-931282-15-3) Additional Resources
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