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Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Classroom

September 24th, 2012

Shannon Roberts

on 7 April 2013

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Transcript of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Classroom

Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Classroom * Increase general knowledge about Autism Spectrum

* To identify students in your classroom that these strategies
can be applied with. (Not just for kids with Autism)

* Think about programming and curriculum content for
particular students.

* Learn to be the giver of good things! (Make your classroom
a place that your kids want to be.) Goals for Today ~ 1:88 children identified with autism (compare that to the
Willard student body)

~ That is a 78% increase since 2007.

~ ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1
in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).

~ Three Different Types of ASD's"
Autistic Disorder
Asperger Syndrome
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified

~ Begins before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person's life.

~ Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test.

~ There is currently no cure for ASDs. Research shows that early
intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s
development. General Facts 4 Functions of Behavior It feels good!
Or...it drives me crazy! Sensory Defining features of Autism Spectrum Disorders A. Social impairment

B. Impairments in language,
communication and play, and

C. Repetitive and restricted behaviors. Tangible I want something! Social / Attention You paid attention to me! Escape I would rather get in trouble than do what you just asked me to do! Behavioral interventions to address problem behaviors can be either preventive or reactive. Behavior Intervention: Before you try to get rid of a behavior, you HAVE to determine the function.
TAKE DATA! Teaching Strategies Staying a Step Ahead Under-reactivity Common in all intellectual levels.

Maybe unable to tolerate bright lights, loud noises, including music, loud talking, machines, or airplanes, certain tastes and smells, and certain types of touch.

Fire drills can be excruciating.

May like/crave deep pressure, such as a firm back rub, or piling pillows on top of themselves.

They may pull away from light touch (tactile defensiveness).

Certain types of fabric may be very uncomfortable. Over-reactivity Used to provide certain types of repetitive sensations.

Rocking back and forth, twiddling fingers in front of eyes...

If they are not disruptive, they can be ignored.

If they are distracting, replace the behavior. Sensory-Seeking Behaviors Can be seen in any children, but more common with cognitive impairment.

May ignore stimuli that should be painful. Attention is very problematic in people with ASD!

Many times the real impairment doesn’t lie with the ability to sustain attention, but there is a huge disconnection between the ability to focus on nonpreferred topics and activities and preferred topics/activities.

•Research shows increased attention when individuals were given preferred tangible reinforcers (snacks, coins) while performing boring tasks. Research suggests that motivation is crucial in helping students with ASD optimizing their attention when performing nonpreferred tasks.

•Make material as interesting as possible, keep requirements for sustained attention to a reasonable level, use external reinforcers as necessary. Inattention and ASD YOU MAY FIND THAT THE CHILDREN WITH ASD IN YOUR CLASSROOM ARE NOT UNFEELING, AND MAY WANT TO HELP OTHERS, BUT NEED TO BE SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED IN HOW TO DO IT.

Children who are most likely to be included in regular education classrooms are typically within the “active, but odd” group. Children with ASD may reenact scenes from videos, movie or TV programs (which they also like to watch repetitively as well.)

Don’t expect kid with ASDs to understand sarcasm. Your student may take you literally if you say sarcastically, “Nice job cleaning up, John!”

Pragmatic skills are usually impaired. Includes: Conversational skills such as staying on topic, acknowledging the other person’s statements, and expanding or adding to what the other person says, maintaining an appropriate degree of eye contact and physical distance.

Echolalia: Imitation of what others say to an unusual degree.

Scripted language: a “script” an individual has learned to use in certain situations. Pre-teach and post-teach!

Visual Memory is generally an area of strength.

Memory for verbal material can be quite difficult. “I just told the class the directions. Weren’t you listening??” Teaching Academics Staff has training in the behavioral needs and learning style of children with ASD.

Classmates are made aware of special skills/expertise the student with ASD has.

Parents are kept informed and support the program.

Staff are optimistic about the student’s success and are committed to doing whatever they can to make it work.

The child’s team meets regularly to consider the student’s progress.

The general education teacher receives sufficient consultation and supervision.

The teacher has enough time to make needed modifications to material, or has access to an assistant that can help. Characteristics of school programs that promote successful inclusion: The teacher fosters a classroom atmosphere to group cooperation and acceptance of everyone’s differences.

The student with ASD is placed in a classroom with a high teacher to student ratio.

The class has only one or two children with ASD or other significant disabilities that require intensive adult support.

If needed, the student is provided a trained one-on-one assistant.

Support services and therapies are available (PT, OT, Speech and Language, etc.)

Adaptive or assistive devices are available as needed. Determining the Function of Behavior:

Functional Behavior Assessment: formal system of evaluating and analyzing problem behavior that is often used with children on the autism spectrum.


Antecedents: What comes before the behavior?
Behavior: What is the behavior itself?
Consequences: What are the consequences? What comes after the behavior and may be serving to reinforce and maintain it? • A reactive intervention is one in which you’re reacting to a behavior that has already occurred, by changing the usual consequences, or controlling the child directly.
o Commonly, paying attention to the child or letting her escape from a nonpreferred task reinforces problem behaviors.
o If a child is throwing a tantrum over a writing assignment that has just been assigned, they are not going to hear what you say, or be able to process it.
o Exclusively reactive methods of intervention tend to be ineffective. •Preventive, or proactive interventions anticipate the student’s possible reactions and provide supports to help the child react in an appropriate way.
*Make minimal changes. (Drive different
*Includes reducing demand.
*Changing physical environment. (Smells,
florescent lights, noise, movement)
*Teach the child to cope with the environment. Teaching appropriate behaviors  Stopping Out of Control Behaviors
• Teach a script! (Practice this a great deal out of the heat of the moment!)
1. Take a deep breath
2. Count to 10
3. Say, “I can stop ______,”
4. Then say, “I can _______ instead.” Teach how to ask for help:
•Teach a script!
1.Do I need help, or should I keep trying myself? If I really need help, I
2.Interrupt appropriately
3.Clearly say what I need help with
5.If I do not understand, I will ask questions
6.Say thank you Make substitutions for problem behaviors
•Look for something the student can do easily so they won’t revert to the problem behavior.
•If student has been throwing books on the floor when upset, it may not be easy for them to verbalize, “I need a break please.” Instead have a break card they can flip on their desk.
•To motivate the child to continue to use the alternative behavior, adults and peers must be sure of give them what they are seeking through the appropriate behavior. Noncompliance Setting limits on inappropriate behavior and reinforcing appropriate behavior is extremely important!
Student needs a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Pick your battles and set priorities. Don’t choose to address all behaviors at once.
Don't get into a debate. You won't win!
Social Stories. State the consequence of noncompliance with the rule.
Give positive consequences for appropriate behaviors!
Self Monitoring Modify the environment Reinforcers Define most potent reinforcers for the student!
Gaining time to engage in preoccupations
Preferred snacks
Break away from interaction with other people.
Rewards will lose their potency over time.
Always pair concrete reinforcers with social praise. Social praise when paired with concrete reinforcers will start to become more meaningful.
Premack Schedule: Following the completion of a task, the student should be reinforced with a scheduled break. Breaks are built into the schedule that the student is given at the beginning of the day.
Breaks can involve talking about a favored topic or doing a favored activity.
Gradually increase the length of time the child must wait between rewards.
Token reinforcement systems. What to Do If the Child Loses Control Coach the student to use the “stopping strategy”.
If behavior escalates too much and the student can’t use the strategy, try to remove the audience.
The adult needs to tell the student that they need to help the student get back into control.
If student is completely out of control, the only demand should be that they stop. The adult needs to continue to give reassurance that they can get back into control.
Make sure to use a calm, firm tone. Don’t yell. Only use CPI restraint techniques as a last resort.
Let the parents know.
When the child is calm, later, go through the “stopping strategy” and coach them through it. •Before school ever starts, give a tour of the building and their schedule when the school is empty. (This may need to be done multiple times.)
•Take pictures or videos of the school and staff.
•Prepare the student for any staff changes.
•Give the student a schedule to prepare. Picture or written depending on their skill level.
•Students with ASD typically are more successful with their own desk/area rather than a shared table with community supplies.
•Let them know clear expectations upfront. Many people with ASD like rules and take them literally. Getting off to a Good Start Keep frequent communication with parents about what is happening at home and school.
Have fun and educational small projects put away for the student. Students with ASD do better when they are kept busy with interesting activities.
Present the work in manageable chunks.
Provide reinforcement for effort.
Predict the end of preferred activities.
Let the student do one thing at a time. Students with ASD are often terrible at multitasking.
Multi-sensory presentation (visual, auditory, movement)
Teach rules and provide opportunity to practice.
Give motor breaks after periods of work.
Social Stories! Strategies to Use All Year Use pre-practice or pre-teaching liberally
Errorless Learning
Provide prompts:
Stroll down the aisle, make eye contact and smile.
Remind him quietly of the time left.
Remind him of the reinforcer.
Ask if he needs help.
Provide help with a problem he is stuck on.
Use positive reinforcements very liberally.
Use Schedules
Self Monitoring
Use Functional Analysis of Problem Behavior (FBA)
Use peers as mentors or buddies.
Video Self Modeling
CHOICES Tips for Yourself Keep your cool. Don’t take negative behavior personally. Students typically do not understand the emotional reaction he provokes in others by being disrespectful, he’s just being truthful.
Provide consistency and predictability. As he gets to know the classroom routine, he will come to depend on it and on the consistency of the reactions to his behavior. If a change is made, let him know in advanced. Give him a rule that can comfort him when something unexpected happens, like, “Sometimes surprises happen and it’s OK.”
See the child’s strengths.
Try to understand the student’s motivations. •Using hands on activities
•Relating the material to subjects of interest to the child
•Giving intermittent gross motor breaks (running an errand, erasing the board)
•Preparing for a quiz with opportunities to earn powerful reinforcers for good performance.
•Look at your environment. Is it too stimulating?
•PREMACK SCHEDULE! Alternate preferred and nonpreferred activities.
•Look at reinforcement schedule, length of time needed to wait on reinforcement.
•Look at length of nonpreferred activity. Help focus attention by: Addressing Language concerns in the classroom
Discourse: the ability to put together a higher level of connected speech, such as when telling a story.

People with ASDs when asked to tell a story will often give a set of descriptions of separate events, but without weaving them into a coherent narrative, or even something to understand that there is supposed to sequence of events, with each event leading to the next.

Many learn the “what, who and where”, but “why and how” are much more complex.

Fine Motor difficulties: Many have fine motor difficulties which makes writing very difficult. When kids start to get a little older (upper elementary), consider using keyboarding Writing Reading The more cognitive and language challenges a child has, the more, modifications you will have to make in simplifying the concepts you teach him.
Consistency and predictability are important in developing a classroom approach to stimulating language. If you present information one way at one time and in a different way at another time, the child will probably not understand that the same concept is being presented. You should present information in exactly the same way until the child has mastered it, then encourage generalization by presenting the information in new ways.
Try not to work on too much at once. Keep long term goals in mind, but focus on achieving short-term goals first.
Graphic organizers.
Conversations with Peers
Keep the Conversation going.
Eye Contact
Personal Space
Not saying everything you think.
Picking up on social cues.
Turn taking
Staying on topic
Talking about things others are interested in.
Social Stories 1.Make a set of index cards with a single topic written on each (e.g., sports, school, recess, vacation).

2.Make a stack of 21 cards, 7 of which say, “ask a question” (e.g., “where did you go?”) 7 say, “make a comment” (“that sounds like fun”), 7 say “add information” (“my cousin with there, too”).

3.Put the 2 stacks of cards face down on the table.

4.Play: Player #1 chooses a topic card. The other players each choose a card from the other pile. Player #1 generates a topic sentence about the topic selected and then 2 detail sentences. After player #1 is finished, each child in the game does what his or her card says, in turn, to continue the conversation. When everyone’s turn is over, then player 2 selects a topic card and plays continues as above. Keep the Conversation Going Written language is often a strong point for children with ASD…however understanding what they have read and making inferences are very difficult.
Having organized and sensible responses is often very challenging.
May not automatically extract the most important elements of a story.
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