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Autism: Promoting Success in the Elementary Classroom

Final Project for EDU 6350
by

Hayley Janney

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Autism: Promoting Success in the Elementary Classroom

What is Autism? IDEA '04 Definition:
"Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experience" (Bryant, Bryant, & Smith, 2008). Kick-Off Think-Pair-Share This presentation is designed to help Primary and Elementary Teachers:

1. Understand the possible causes, characteristics, needs, and abilities of students with Autism.

2. Acquire effective instructional strategies for students with Autism.

3. Explore options for further research and action Creating an
Educational Action Plan This section will cover:
Legal Regulations regarding public schools and services for students with disabilities
The First Steps for Providing Services (Identification)
Creating an IEP
Tips for Classroom Teachers Further Action and Research References for this Workshop Promoting Success
in the
Elementary Classroom Autism Goals: Discuss with a partner:
Have you ever worked with a student with Autism?
What was your experience like? Characteristics Communication Development Cognitive Development Emotional/Social Development Socialization:
“Lack in rapid recognition of social cues, unconscious processing of social information, and ongoing growth of social knowledge about people.” (Lee, 2011)
Impaired Social Interaction:
unresponsive to others
withdraw from social engagement
Difficulty with reciprocal social interactions
Inability to establish and maintain relationships
may prefer social isolation
social awkwardness
Impacts the formation of friendships, intimate relationships and other key work relationships (NINDS, 2013 & Atwood, 2005) Symptoms of Autism vary from one child to the next, but generally fall into four main areas:
1.Cognitive Development
2. Emotional/Social Development
3. Communication
4. Repetitive Behaviors Emotional:
Do not develop a deeper awareness or personal understanding of their own thoughts and feelings.
Usually less able to share in a mutual awareness (the thoughts and feelings of others)
Don’t know how to react to different emotions—sadness, fear, anger. Reactions sometimes don’t match their emotional state
May engage in self-abusive behavior (head banging or biting)
Cognitive development is impacted in their perception, processing, and acquisition/retrieval of information.

Will vary depending on the severity of symptoms.

Some students may have an intellectual disability

Rigidity in the thought process leads to difficulty in:
learning abstract concepts
tolerating changes in routine
generalizing information
processing stimuli and verbal input
shifting focus/attention
using memory structures
using language to communicate
sensory processing


*All of these symptoms directly affect how a person learns and functions.

(Lee, 2011) Most young children have a primary or secondary loss of basic verbal information processing, early childhood language acquisition, emergence of more advanced levels of abstract thinking, and skills in mutual social conversation (Lee, 2011).
-Delays in language development –some people may be nonverbal communicators
Difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication
trouble holding a reciprocated conversationunderstanding body language and facial expressionsRepetitive or unusual language
(NICHCY 2010)
•According to the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects 2 to 6 of every 1,000 children.

•The most recent statistic is 1 in 110

•Boys are four times more likely than girls to be affected by autism

(NICHCY, 2010)
Prevalence Causes The cause of Autism is not known at this time.

Researchers are studying areas like neurological damage and chemical imbalances in the brain to see if they are key factors.

This disorder is not due to psychological factors or childhood vaccines, contrary to widespread rumors.
(NICHCY, 2010)
Please use the graphic organizer on Handout #1 to fill in characteristics of Autism as you watch the next video.
We will discuss this list and add to it after viewing the video. Pair & Share Discuss your chart with a neighbor. Are there any characteristics you can think of that weren't discussed in the video? Learning Activity #1 Children with Autism often have repetitive or unusual behavior
that can be extreme or mild. These behaviors can include:

• Flapping arms

• Walking in specific patterns

• Subtle movement of fingers or eyes that seem like gestures

• Overly focused interests

• Persistent and intense preoccupation with specific things (often in areas like numbers, symbols, or science topics)

• Inflexibility with changes to routines Repetitive Behaviors The following videos can help you or another young student understand more about what a child with Autism is experiencing. While this video focuses on children with Asperger's, a lot of the characteristics can be applied to Autism too. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, ensures that children with disabilities receive a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE). This means that schools will provide students who are eligible (have a disability) with special supports/instruction that will address their academic needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
The special education and the general education curriculum must be aligned and promote independence, participation, and productivity. Through specialized instruction and supports, students with Autism should be able to successfully access the curriculum.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires 95% of school children be full participants in state and district testing. All students, including those with disabilities, must demonstrate proficiency in reading and mathematics. (Bryant, p. 22)
This means that scientifically based programs and interventions must be used, all students must have access to the general curriculum, teachers must be highly qualified, and there must be evaluation of students' performance with appropriate accommodations.

The Assisstive Technology Act of 2004 (ATA) facilitates increased accessibility to the general curriculum through technology.
It offers training activities, demonstrations, and direct services to families; and allows families to test equipment at school and at home before purchasing them.

(Bryant, 2008) Legal Regulations Through either a physician’s diagnosis or through the comprehensive evaluation results of a State’s Child Find service, a child (age 3 and under) may already qualify for special education services. If this is the case, the child will have received Early Intervention (EI) services to work on skills in areas of need (such as communication, social skills, cognitive development, adaptive development, etc.) A multidisciplinary team will have created an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) which can be restructured as the child transitions to elementary school and their Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created.

The First Steps to Providing Services for Students with Autism When a child with Autism enters elementary school he/she may have already been diagnosed with the disorder and would be eligible for special education services at the school district. If you have a student in your classroom who does not have a diagnosis or special education label, but displays characteristics just described about Autism, you can make a referral for the child to receive a comprehensive evaluation.

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) describes the evaluation process in 10 Basic Steps which can be accessed here:
The Child Already Has a Diagnosis. . . The Child Does Not Have a Diagnosis. . . http://nichcy.org/wp-content/uploads/docs/10steps.pdf Creating the IEP Once the student has been identified for special education services and their specific needs and abilities have been identified, the multi-disciplinary IEP team will meet to create the student's individualized plan. A student’s IEP will include:

Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance
This includes how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum.

Measurable annual goals
This includes academic and functional goals which are designed to meet the student’s needs that result from their disability to enable them to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.

How the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured
Periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided.

Special education and related services and supplementary aids and services
Modifications or supports for the student to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum, participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities, and be educated and participate with other students with disabilities and non-disabled students in the activities.

Accommodations
Those necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the student on State and district-wide assessments.

Date for the beginning of the services and modifications
The anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications.

Statements related to transition services
When the student turns14 1/2, the IEP must include measurable post-secondary goals and transition services related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills.

Information from Autism-Community, 2010 What might be seen on the IEP for a Student with Autism?

Accommodations & Modifications Placement Options Related Services -Placement Options
-Related Services
-Accommodations & Modifications A student's placement is based upon his/her academic achievement level and level of functioning. These factors help place the student in their least restrictive environment (LRE).
"Placement options range from entirely inclusive settings where children with autism receive their education with their non-disabled peers to private placement in residential programs for children with disabilities. Within that range, a wide variety of plans can be created to meet the unique needs of each student."
-Autism Society

From least restrictive to most restrictive, the range of placement options is:

• Regular classroom in a neighborhood public school

• Some time in a “resource" room (during core subjects like math or reading)

• More than half the day in a “resource" room

• A self-contained class in a general education school

• A self-contained class in a separate public school

• A self-contained class in a non-public school

• A residential facility

• Home and hospital instruction

Information courtesy of Pathfinders for Autism
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
Sensory Integration Therapy
Speech-Language Therapy
"A Certified Occupational Therapist assists with cognitive, physical and motor skills to enable the individual to gain independence and participate more fully in life.
For a student with autism, the focus may be on appropriate play, fine motor and basic social and life skills such as handwriting, independent dressing, feeding, grooming and use of the toilet.
The OT can recommend strategies for learning key tasks to practice in various settings."
(Autism Speaks, 2012)
"A Physical Therapist works on problems with movement that cause functional limitations.
Students with autism frequently have challenges with motor skills such as sitting, walking, running and jumping,
A physical therapist can also address poor muscle tone, balance and coordination. "
(Autism Speaks, 2012)
"Sensory Integration Therapy focuses on disruptions in the way an individual’s brain processes sensory input, and develops strategies to help process these senses in a more productive way.

This begins with a sensory evaluation, and then research-based strategies are used to plan an individualized program for the child.
This therapy matches sensory stimulation with physical movement to improve how the brain processes and organizes sensory information."

(Autism Speaks, 2012) "Speech-Language Pathologists use a variety of techniques to address a range of challenges for children with autism. It is designed to work on the mechanics of speech and the meaning and social area of language.

Services begin with an evaluation by the therapist and therapy may be conducted one-on-one, in a small group or in classroom/natural settings.
For students who are non-verbal, this therapy includes training in other forms of communication, or oral exercises to promote better control of the mouth.
For those who talk constantly about a certain topic, the therapist might work on expanding the conversational skills, or reading social cues and adjusting conversation to the needs of the listener."

(Autism Speaks, 2012) The accommodations and modifications for a student with autism will vary significantly depending on the severity and characteristics that the child possesses. Please see the informational brochure (Handout #2) for suggestions on how to adapt instruction to meet the needs of a student with Autism in your classroom. Learning Activity #2 Next, we will view "Josh's Story." After viewing the video, you will work in a group of 3-4 people for about 10 minutes. Each group will create a poster that lists possible accommodations/modifications or services to help Josh be successful in the classroom. Afterward, your group will present this poster to everyone.

Group A: Environmental Accom./Mod.

Group B: Instructional Accom./Mod.

Group C: Behavioral Accom./Mod.

Group D: Related Services and Assistive Technology
Ready, Set, Go!
You have 15 minutes to work in your groups. "Accommodations and Modifications should be chosen based upon the student's needs, not on the basis of the disability category, grade level, or instructional setting."
-Luckner & Bowen, 2010 Once a student's IEP has been implemented, it is the responsibility of the IEP team to ensure that the student is making progress towards meeting their goals. The IEP will have quarterly benchmarks that lead up to accomplishing an annual goal. Members of the IEP team will conduct reliable and consistent progress monitoring assessments to track the student's progress towards meeting these goals. These assessments can help guide future instruction, identify the need to adjust accommodations/modifications, and/or revisit the IEP to make amendments to quarterly and annual goals. Progress Monitoring http://www.studentprogress.org/ The following website offers more detailed information about conducting progress monitoring in your own classroom: As a student with Autism progresses through elementary school, it is important to prepare the child for changes in future environments. Longitudinal programming selects target skills for instruction that will lead to the student's independence in the next environment. This can be the environmental change year to year, as the student enters junior high and high school, and eventually transitions to post-secondary options.

(Collins, p. 254)
Transition Planning Components of Longitudinal Transitioning These videos offer a deeper understanding of transition plans. 1. Curriculum should proceed from a developmental approach to a functional skill approach.
2. The location of services should proceed from home, to pre-school, to elementary school, middle school, high school, and ending with inclusive vocational or residential settings.
3. Planning should begin with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), and progress through an IEP, and ITP.
4. Balanced collaboration among the family, student, service providers, and state agencies is imperative and should last from early childhood through adult services.
5. Transitions will be family centered initially and will eventually become student centered.
(Collins, p. 254)
From a teacher's perspective From a parent's perspective Progress Monitoring
Transition Plans
Sources for More Information, Research, and Support The following websites offer more information about understanding Autism and assisting students with Autism in the classroom. Autism Community: http://www.autism-community.com/
Autism Speaks: http://www.autismspeaks.org/ Kid's Health: http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/brain/autism.html NINDS: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm Autism Society: http://www.autism-society.org/ Please also see Handout #4 which is an annotated list of resources about Autism information for teachers. Tips for Classroom Teachers 1.Continuous collaboration with the Special Education teacher and other support staff servicing the student is critical.

2.Learn about the student from the student.


3.Keep the student aware of daily activities.


4.Watch for signs of high anxiety.

5.Give the student a visual menu of appropriate behaviors.

6.Schedule transition time into your day between activities to allow time for needed movement and sensory breaks.

7.Use special interests to help introduce new ideas, as motivators.

8.Help the student develop organizational skills

9.Give choices

10.Help the student feel INCLUDED

*Please see Handout #3 for more information

Kluth, 2005 and National Education Association You can continue to fill in your chart as we discuss these characteristics in more detail. Atwood, T. (2005). What is Asperger‘s Syndrome?. Retrieved from http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/Articles/What-is-Asperger-Syndrome-.aspx .

Autism Community. (2010). Individualized Education Plan. Retrieved from http://www.autism-community.com/education/individualized-education-plans/.

Autism Society. Placement. Retrieved from http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/lifespan/school-age/placement.html.

Autism Speaks. (2012). Educating Students with Autism. Retrieved from http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/sctk_educating_students_with_autism.pdf .

Best, S., Heller, K., & Bigge, J. (2010). Teaching Individuals with Physical or Multiple Disabilities. Upper Saddle River; Pearson Education Inc. ISBN-13-159012-0.

Bryant, B., Bryant, D., Smith D. (2008). Teaching Students with Special Needs. Boston: Pearson Education Inc. ISBN 978-0-205-43092-5,

Collins, B. (2007). Moderate and Severe Disabilities. Upper Saddle River; Pearson Education Inc. ISBN:0-13-140810

Kluth, P. (2005). Supporting Students with Autism: 10 Tips. Retrieved from http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/supporting-students-with-autism.html.

Lee, S. (2011). Understanding Autism. Retrieved from http://understandingautism.org/uaorg_1FACT/UAORG_2.cognitive.html.

National Education Association. Intervention Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism. Retrieved from http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/autism-students-in-inclusive-classrooms.html.




National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). (2012). 10 Basic Steps in Special Education. Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/schoolage/steps.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). (2010, Jun.). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/autism.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2011, Oct.). What Are Symptoms of ASD?. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/a-parents-guide-to-autism-spectrum-disorder/what-are-the-symptoms-of-asd.shtml .

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2013, Feb.). Autism Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm .


Pathfinders for Autism . Understand Your Student’s Placement Options. Retrieved from http://www.pathfindersforautism.org/ages/birth-5/education/placement-options.

Rodrigues, J. (2007). Making Modifications, Accommodations, and Variations for Student Access. Retrieved from http://impactofspecialneeds.weebly.com/uploads/3/4/1/9/3419723/making_modifications_autism.pdf

Wright, K. (2001, Dec.). 20 Classroom Modifications for Students with Autism. Autism/Asperger’s Digest. Retrieved from http://www.kdp.org/teachingresources/pdf/podcast/20_classrm_modifications_for_students_with_autism.pdf
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