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Teachers Teaching Teachers – Heather Mathieson

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Heather Mathieson

on 27 July 2016

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Transcript of Teachers Teaching Teachers – Heather Mathieson

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ASD – Focusing on Social Skills
Autism Spectrum Disorders put a strain on an individual’s social skills. Children with ASD struggle with understanding social skills and do not learn them through organic experiences and require direct instruction. They then need to be provided withv opportunities to then use their newly acquired social skills and learn to generalize them to be used in multiple social environments (example: home, community center, grocery stores, etc…).

One key component of ASD that needs to be understood is “Theory of Mind”. Theory of Mind describes one’s ability to understand thoughts and feelings of others. Individuals with ASD struggle with this understanding and this highly affects their responses and actions during social interactions.

Social Characteristics
Social Characteristics that you may encounter while working with a student who has ASD can be found below:
- may demonstrate difficulty when communicating and interacting with others
- may struggle with reading and understanding social cues or social situations
- individual may withdraw from social situations
- may provide unusual or unexpected responses in social situations
- may lack imaginative qualities that are required for social play


Teachers Teaching Teachers – Heather Mathieson

Learning to Teach Students with ASD
A Focus on Social Skills

What is ASD?
New advancements have been made and the new Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, from DSM-5, replaces 5 prior diagnoses: Asperger syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Autistic Disorder. All 5 of these disorders now fall under ASD. This new definition defines autism as a single “spectrum disorder”, and provide a set of criteria describing symptoms that can be experienced on a scale. Symptom domains focus on social communication, flexibility, sensory sensitivity, and behaviour.

The DSM-5 diagnodis provides the following three functional levels of criteria.
Level 3: “Requiring very substantial support”
Level 2: “Requiring substantial support”
Level 1: “Requiring support”
v
New advancements have been made and the new Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, from DSM-5, replaces 5 prior diagnoses: Asperger syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Autistic Disorder. All 5 of these disorders now fall under ASD. This new definition defines autism as a single “spectrum disorder”, and provide a set of criteria describing symptoms that can be experienced on a scale. Symptom domains focus on social communication, flexibility, sensory sensitivity, and behaviour.

The DSM-5 diagnodis provides the following three functional levels of criteria.
Level 3: “Requiring very substantial support”
Level 2: “Requiring substantial support”
Level 1: “Requiring support”

Students who are diagnoses with ASD most likely will require an Individualized Education Plan to support their success in the classroom. It is important the classroom teacher prepares before hand and is proactive by creating a supportive relationship with the parents/guardians and the ISSP/IPRC team. All individuals are critical in the creation of the IEP. All of these individuals are also required to continue to communicate and share resources to ensure IEP remains current and continuously supports and appropriately challenges the student it is designed for.
Creating an IEP
Be Proactive and Prepare
Before your new student comes to your classroom, it is encouraged to prepare yourself and your class. Some suggestions include:
-Contact you support team at the school and the parents of the child, begin to build your relationship to ensure full communication
-Begin to use your contacts and documented information to begin creating a profile of social skills the students already demonstrates in other environments
-Knowledge is Power – prepare your students by having a discussion about what ASD is and some differences they may notice in their new peer; it is better students are prepared and can respond appropriately in new situations
-Organize student buddies for the new student to promote positive social interaction during the entire school day, include nutrition breaks and cooperative group work periods (see buddy system guidelines from the document, Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders p.90.


Tools and more
There are many tools that can be used to help track observations of a student with ASD and working on their social skills. Please find below one example from the Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders document, that was created by the Durham District School Board.
Key Social Interactions that may be Encountered
To create and maintain a positive learning environment and positive interactions at school, the following social skills are highly important for a student to learn:
• greetings – some students may require prompts or extra wait time for the student to respond
• initiating and closing interactions – understanding how to initiate and also leave social situations with peers; such as playing games or chatting
• choosing activities and working on smooth transitions
• sharing – this is due to Theory of the Mind
• waiting – weather it is for lunch, for a turn, to go inside after a fire drill, during an assembly, etc…
• turn taking – built with a combination of sharing and waiting
• playing games – requires a quiet, non-distracting environment where the student can focus on the many sub skills that will be required


Tips for Teaching
Social Understanding
Social Scripts are an excellent strategy to teach children with ASD how to respond appropriately during social situations and understand others more clearly. Scripts can be written to target various social situations the student is struggling with. Social scripts break down social situations into steps, allowing the student to gain a clearer understanding, allowing them to respond and communicate clearly and with good manners. Tips for composing scripts can be found below from the Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders document on page 98.
PPM 140
What is Policy/Program Memorandum No. 140 and why is it important?

PPM 140 was issued by the Ministry on May 17, 2007 and was put into power to support the facilitation of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into programs for students with ASD.
PPM 140:
- provides direction to school boards on how to apply ABA as an effective instructional plan when working with students who are diagnosed with ASD.
- Meant to strengthen collaborative working relationships between parents, educators, support staff, community members etc…

References
https://learn.etfo-aq.ca/content/enforced/46817-A3221EI/docs/autismSpecDis.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=lh52v1mmPsiWaPaSK4zs81inq&ou=46817

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/140.html
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