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Supporting Children and Adults on the Autism Spectrum

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Shaun Durkin

on 16 April 2015

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Transcript of Supporting Children and Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Lars Schabelski
Supporting People with Autism through Structure
Supporting Children and Adults on the Autism Spectrum
Maintaining Positive Approaches and Expectations
Developing Empathy for Individuals with Autism
Adopting a Low Arousal Approach
Creating and Maintaining Links
(between the individual, their wider support networks and the community)
The SPELL framework:
developed by the National Autistic Society (NAS) through evidenced-based practice since 1964
provides a context for other approaches (TEACCH, PECS etc)
dynamic - builds on input from people themselves, their families and professionals
SPELL values
Individual
Hopeful
Honest
Respectful
Ethical
Goals of intervention in autism
Increased adaptive behaviours:
social
communication
play/imaginative
learning
Reduce or eliminate problematic behaviours
Improve (enhance) quality of life
Key considerations:
individual
recognise autism features:
reduce anxiety
enhance motivation
enhance concentration/remove distraction
treat other conditions
play to strengths (not a deficiency model)
The SPELL framework
S
tructure
P
ositive approaches and expectations
E
mpathy
L
ow arousal
L
inks
Assess approach in terms of autism friendliness
Violation
: ignores or opposes the SPELL principle
Misunderstanding
: mis-application due to partial understanding or misunderstanding of the SPELL principle
Good practice:
complies with the SPELL principle and shows good understanding
Structure
SPELL definition/requirements:
enabling the individual to predict events
environment, processes, routines and programmes are modified to enhance understanding, choice, learning and communication
recognition that lack of structure and open choices may create anxiety
structure should facilitate autonomous/independent action
'I liked the game because it was safe - I knew the rules and the outcomes'
Gunilla Gerland'
What structure do you use in your everyday life?
Morning routine exercise
Write down on a piece of paper your morning routine from the time you get up until you leave the house on an average working morning
After five minutes swap your written routine with someone else
Think about how it would feel to have to live that routine for one week, for one month, for one year ...
Structure
Makes the world more predictable
plays to visual strengths
Concrete not abstract
Helps to overcome problems of sequencing
Speeds up processing
Reduces anxiety
Examples of good practice
Schedule/programme clearly depicts:
what will happen and when
where to get help or materials etc
change is programmed into schedule, including the unexpected
Examples of misunderstanding
Everyone follows same schedule or routine
Routines become fixed
No attempt to vary activities or programme
Examples of violation
No pre-planned activity
Environment chaotic or disorganised
Absence of visual signs, schedules
Activity dependent on unpredictable factors (e.g. weather, availability of staff)
Person becomes over-dependent on verbal prompts (due to lack of visual cues)
This is an example of a fairly traditional TEACCH visual timetable. These children are quite young and most of them can only deal with three or four items on their timetable.

The timetable is identified by the child's photo
and
written name.

The children complete a task, remove the symbol, put in into the box at the bottom and then check what is next.
For many children with autism, knowing what is for dinner is quite important.

Notice how all the symbols include both words and pictures. Notice how the pictures are very clearly of the things the children will have available to eat that day.

The different elements of the meal are presented separately with as little context as possible. This avoids children expecting food to be arranged on the plate in a particular order.
This is a much more complex visual timetable for older children/adolescents who can cope with lots of items.
This is a good example of using structure in the environment to make it clear what the purpose of the session is.

All the other musical instruments are in the cupboards and the chairs are arranged around the visual supports that tell the children which three instruments they are going to play today.

The layout of the chairs means that the children go straight to them and sit down, without getting distracted.
This is a wonderful example of structure to help this child become more independent, not only at making his snack but also at making choices.

The way items are laid out guides the child through the steps and reduces the need for staff prompts.
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