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Melissa Benham

on 11 May 2015

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Transcript of Autism


Bridging the Gap
one word
trying to describe
millions of stories
Severity is based on a continuum
Communication difficulties
Restricted, repetitive, and/or stereotyped patterns behavior
Social impairments

(Cihak, Smith, Cornett, & Coleman, 2012)
What Autism can look like to Teachers
Lack of self- regulation

Difficulty with planning, writing, switching focus, reflecting, organizing, and remembering details
-Executive functioning

Trouble understanding different perspectives
-Theory of Mind

Limited ability to "see the bigger picture"
-Central Coherence

Differences in motor skills (poor handwriting) and cognition

Struggles with relaying wants and needs, asking questions, or engaging socially

Overly sensitive to touch, to movement, sights or sounds

Difficulty making transitions from one situation to another

Easily distracted

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012) (Cihak, Smith, Cornett, & Coleman, 2012) (Hart, & Banda, 2009) (Graetz, 2014)
1 in 68 children

5 times more common among boys

Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability

ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurologic, chromosomal, and genetic diagnoses.
- The co-occurrence of one or more non-ASD developmental diagnoses is 83%

It is estimated to cost at least $17,000 more per year to care for a child with ASD compared to a child without ASD

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015)
Unique Abilities
Strong visual skills
Ability to understand and retain concrete concepts, rules, sequences and patterns
Good memory of details or rote facts (math facts, train schedules, baseball statistics)
Long term memory
Computer and technology skills
Music ability or interest
Intense concentration or focus, especially on a preferred activity
Artistic ability
Mathematical ability
Ability to decode written language (read) at an early age (but not necessarily comprehend)
Strong encoding (spelling)
Problem solving ability (when you cannot ask for something you want, you can get pretty creative about getting your hands on it yourself.)

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
Teaching Peers About Autism
Lesson Ideas

Being a Friend

1. The Autism Acceptance Book by Ellen Sabin
(includes teacher's guide)

2. The Sixth Sense II by Carol Gray
(provides lesson plans)

3. My Friend with Autism: A Coloring Book for Peers an
Siblings by Beverly Bishop
(illustrations for readers to color)

4. Kids Booklet on Autism presented by Autism New Jersey
Online at http://www.autismnj.org/document.doc?id=157
(addresses FAQ and action plans)
Communicate Clearly

Find Common Interests

Be Persistent and Patient

Take the Initiative to Include Him or Her

Stand Up For Him or Her

Remember Sensory Sensitivity

Give Feedback

Don’t Be Afraid
(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
A Teacher's Challenge
Multi-step directions and activities

Following verbal directions

Organization skills and following the schedule

For younger students, circle time, since it generally means sitting, listening to auditory informationand verbal output

For older students, classroom lectures that require sitting, listening to auditory information for long periods of time

Centers time for younger students or independent work for older students, since this involves academic tasks, sometimes-unclear expectations, following directions

Free play for younger students, because it involves social skills, co-operative play and verbal skills with very little structure

Group instruction

Assemblies, music and PE classes for students with sensory issues.

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
What Teacher's Can Do
Provide opportunities for engagement

Establish clear routines and habits to support regular activities and transitions

Alert the student to changes in routine, staffing, etc., in advance, whenever possible

Provide written rules or pictures of expectations of behavior in the classroom

Use visuals wherever possible- less words

When giving choices, know how many choices are appropriate

Use template organization tools for all writing assignments

Allow for wait time
(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
Topic Obsession
Provide scheduled opportunities to discuss this topic.

If appropriate, use a visual schedule.

Establish boundaries (when it is, or is not, appropriate to discuss this topic).

Set a timer to establish duration.

Support strategies for expanding to other topics

Reinforce the student for talking about other subjects or the absence of the topic.

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
Sensory Needs
Reduce highly decorated classrooms- can be visually over-stimulating and distracting for some students

Transition earlier than other students or may require a few minutes to unwind after walking in a noisy hallway

Allow the student an “out” in instances such as assemblies or classroom parties

Sensory integration techniques such as the use of headphones, fidgets, weighted or pressure vests, bumpy seats

If appropriate, allow student to move about the classroom freely during class instruction

A space away in the classroom where the student can take a break (specify time limit)

Consider placement if light sensitive- not near windows, colored overlays, wear hat

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
(Polen, 2014)
Topic Obsession
Provide scheduled opportunities to discuss this topic

If appropriate, use a visual schedule

Establish boundaries (when it is, or is not, appropriate to discuss this topic).

Set a timer to establish duration.

Support strategies for expanding to other topics

Reinforce the student for talking about other subjects or the absence of the topic.

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
Avoid the Meltdown
Offer choices and provide the student some control

Respect the student’s personal space

Provide a home base or safe place where the student feels safe and can regroup, calm down, or escape overwhelming situations or sensory overload

Practice flexibility and self-monitoring

Provide behavior specific feedback and ample praise and reinforcement

Utilize breaks as a way to return to a calm state or as a reward for ‘good working- Be careful!

Provide communication options

Teach contingencies and waiting strategies- First/Then

Teach and provide the student with a list of strategies for calming when anxious, stressed or angry

(Autismspeaks.org, 2012)
When transition strategies are used, individuals with ASD
Reduce the amount of transition time
Increase appropriate behavior during transitions
Rely less on adult prompting
Participate more successfully in school

The techniques can be used before a transition occurs, during a transition, and/or after a transition, and can be presented verbally, auditorily, or visually

Techniques include:
Cues of next activity
Creating a "finished" box
Social stories
Personalized schedule of events
(Hume, 2008)
Find Out More
1. Autism Speaks
-Information and resources

2. Autism Internet Modules (AIM)
-Free interactive empirically-based training modules on autism topics. Presented in small increments with pre/post testing.

2. Do2Learn
-Easy to use and downloadable resources including social games, organizational tools, picture cards, etc.

1. The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timel by Mark Haddon

3. The Accidental Teacher by Annie Lubliner Lehmann

1. AutisMate Lite
-Enables users to develop communication and life skills simultaneously

2. SocialStories
-Easily create and share educational stories and visual schedules
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