Thursday, February 8, 2018

Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Putting Together the Puzzle: Autism spectrum disorder: Academic, Social and Sensory Supports

Here is another session that I attended at the SC Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Myrtle Beach. The presenter was Lisa Raiford , a SC- OSES Education Associate in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

1.     Characteristics and behaviors behind ASD
2.     Learn about positive traits
3.     Strategies and Interventions to use in the classroom
4.     What are ASD?
a.     Identified as a group of neurological and developmental disorders
b.     First recognized in 1944; Asperger’s defined 30 years later
c.     Initially thought to be schizophrenia, mental retardation or caused by “refrigerator” mothers
d.     Wide spectrum in terms of intelligence and functional levels.
e.     ASD Statistics
f.      4.5 times more common in boys than girls
g.     Prevalence has double in less than 5 years in SC
h.     Diagnosed as early as 2 years but most not diagnosed until 4
i.      Intensive behavioral interventions can range between $40,000 - $60,000 per year per child.
j.      44% of children have average or above average intelligence
5.     Positive traits
a.     Strong visual skills
b.     Ability to understand/retain concrete concepts, rules, sequences
c.     Good memory of details or rote facts (i.3. schedules, statistics)
d.     Long-term memory
e.     Computer and technology skills
f.      Musical ability or interest
g.     Intense concentration or focus, especially on a preferred activity
h.     Artistic ability
i.      Mathematical ability
j.      Ability to decode written language (read) at an early age
k.     Strong encoding (spelling)
l.      Honesty
m.   Problem solving ability
6.     Females and ASD
a.     Females may manifest ASD differently than males
b.     Diagnosed if their symptoms are much more severe than males
c.     Brain of a female looks more like the brain of a male peer without ASD
d.     May not sow same level of restricted interests
e.     Sensory issues may play into hygiene that bring on mean girl syndrome
7.     Characteristics (handout)
8.     Comorbidity (handout)
9.     Behavior Exhibited on the Spectrum – behaviors are due to a lack of social communication ability, sensory needs, or process ability
a.     Meltdown
b.     Anxiety – pacing talking to self
c.     Unfocused
d.     Shut down
e.     Withdrawn
10.  A Little Perspective (image)
11.  What does ASD really look like
a.     Communication Needs – may take things very literal, rote memory good, bad comprehension, memories from a long time ago seem real now, echolalia, conversations are “one way”, may or may not be verbal
b.     Routine and Repetition – likes schedules, notice before changes, few transitions
c.     Restricted Interests – may be interested in few/very specific topics, difficulty transitioning from those interest to no desirables
d.     Sensory Needs – temperature, food, colors, touch, movement, may or not respect personal space, stimming behavior
e.     Social Impediments -difficulty starting, joining conversations, may over/under empathize, difficulty reading body language
12.  Communication Needs
a.     Takes things literally – Having “cold feet”; “running into a wall”
b.     Limited verbal ability or nonverbal difficulty understanding body language, gestures
c.     One-sided conversations
13.  Strategies
a.     Teach meanings for metaphors, similes
b.     Have students explain what you have said
c.     List directions in steps
d.     Use simple clear language
e.     Be sure the student has access to their means of communication
f.      modeling
14.  Routine ad Repetition needs
a.     Students may align or order toys instead of playing with them
b.     May hold item to spin while working on academics – may comfort and help with concentration
c.     Students may not understand multi-step directions
d.     Student may need to finish task before moving on to the next task
15.  Strategies for Routine and Repetition
a.     Provide visual schedules
b.     Notify for changes in schedules/activities
c.     Repeat directions, write down, or give picture directions
d.     Allow extra time to finish task, or give shorter assignment
e.     Give warning to upcoming changes
f.      Use a good organizations system for student’s belongings
g.     Use a transition object such as a clipboard or toy to signify going from one activity to another
h.     Use times to countdown to changes
i.      Use social stories to prepare for changes
j.      Use a transition signal (lights off, music)
16.  Restricted Interests
a.     Student may be obsessed with a particular thing
b.     May want to constantly discuss or focus on this item
c.     May resist transitioning from focusing on his interest to a less desirable taks.
d.     Allow them to share it
e.     Create lessons around their interest
f.      Expand their knowledge
17.  Specific Sensory Needs
a.     Student my be sensitive to fabric types, sounds, lights, noises, food, textures, movements
b.     May need to stim – moving with repetition (stimming: flapping arms, spinning, rocking, spin object in ham)
c.     Student may elope when overstimulated to escape
18.  Strategies for Specific Sensory Needs
a.     Bring in lamps
b.     Have sensory available so they can experience it in an appropriate way (bubbles – slow breaths; Mermaid pillow etc.)
19.  Stimming
a.     Most commonly associate with Autism
b.     Also called Autistic Stereopathy
c.     Helps block out excess sensory input
d.     Provide sensory input as needed
e.     Supports self-regulation of emotions
f.      Can soothe/comfort individual when overwhelmed
20.  Food Sensory Needs
a.     May not like food touching
b.     May choose the same food each day
c.     May be averse to using utensils
d.     May not want to touch food
e.     May be averse to certain food textures.
f.      Tell the cafeteria ladies
g.     Other signs
h.     Overly sensitive to touch, movement, sights or sounds
i.      Under reactive
j.      Easily distracted
k.     Social and /or emotional problem
21.  Strategies for Sensory Needs
a.     Ask parent if student has any sensory needs
b.     Communicate these needs to others on the student’s education team
c.     Work with OT/PT to determine implements that might support sensory needs
d.     Consider classroom/school environment and changes that might benefit student
e.     Allow student to use sensory implements
f.      Give student a safe place to run to, alert all staff that student left, find the source for the overstimulation for proactive prevention of elopement, Have an elopement plan.
g.     Pamphlet on wandering
22.  Strategies for Low Sensory Needs
a.     Need Fidgets – heavy work
b.     Difficulty sitting still – pushing things
c.     Runs instead o walks – weighted implements
d.     Impulsive
23.  Strategies for High Sensory Needs
a.     Doesn’t like touch – deep pressure
b.     Sensitive to light – low lights
c.     Sensitive to some movement – crawling on all voice
d.     Sensitive to textures
e.     Sensitive to food textures
24.  Social Impediments
a.     Difficulty understanding how you feel and relate that to the context in which you are operating
b.     Misconception that student is having a tantrum rather than a meltdown from inability to regulate emotion appropriately
c.     May get anxious easily
d.     May over or under react
e.     May be difficult for teacher to find cause of reaction in order to remediate/help
f.      Student may have difficulty “reading” others, understanding body language and gesture
g.     Difficulty starting/joining/ending conversation and discussing topics of shared interests
25.  ASD and Empathy
26.  They lack cognitive empathy
27.  Strategies for social impediments
a.     Teach conversational skills
b.     Conversational peer buddy to practice conversations
c.     Teach and practice calm down techniques
d.     Know the difference between meltdown and tantrum
e.     Use simple language
f.      Don’t rely on body language
g.     Avoid sarcasm
28.  Meltdown vs. Tantrum (handout)
29.  Overall de -escalation Strategies
a.     Safety first
b.     Calm voice
c.     Don’t try to reason with an unreasonable person
d.     Teach person to use calming strategies
e.     Calm down sandwich
f.      Breathing
g.     Blowing bubbles
h.     Visualization
i.      Debrief once person is calm
30.  Evidence Based Practices for ASD (handout)
a.     Before selecting an EBP
b.     Identify the behavior that needs remediation
c.     Collect data to indemnify the severity, frequency of the behavior
d.     Understand the function of the behavior
e.     Create working goals that are measurable based on skills
f.      Choose an evidence-based practice
31.  Function of Behavior – 3 main functions
a.     Escape/avoidance
b.     Attention/control
c.     Sensory
32.  Replacement Behaviors – to provide an intermediate and appropriate behavior that serves the same function of the undesired behavior , while working to extinguish the undesired behavior
a.     Yelling out in class – holding up a sin to ask for help to learn to raide hand or use wait time
b.     Hitting other students when frustrated – hit a pillow and use words to learn to verbalize frustration
33.  Follow Up
a.     Be sure IEP goals are written clearly
b.     Don’t try to change all behaviors at once
c.     Explain goals/strategies to all stake holders
34.  Social Stories – Narratives that describe social situations in some detail by highlighting relevant cues and offering examples of appropriate responding. Social narratives are individualized according to learner needs and typically are quite short, perhaps including pictures or other visual aids
35.  Steps to “authoring” a social story:
a.     Discovering a topic that “fits” the student’s needs
b.     Gathering information specific to student needs
c.     Development of personalized text and illustration
d.     How to Implement social Stores
e.     Read consistently for events story is relevant to
                                               i.     Before the event
                                             ii.     After an event
                                           iii.     Upon arrival or leaving
f.      Allow others on the team to have access to the stories
g.     Share the stories with the parents
h.     Allow student o have access to the story
i.      When student masters skill, get a new social story
36.  Modeling
a.     In order to learn from a model, a learner must be able to
                                               i.     Imitate others
                                             ii.     Perform some of the component skills that make up the target skill
                                           iii.     Sustain attention long enough to watch the model perform the target skill
b.     The best person to serve as the model is a peer who is physically similar to the learner and respected by the learner. If a peer cannot be a model, a teacher, paraprofessional, therapist, or parent can serve as an effective model
37.  Prompting (PP) – verbal, gestural or physical assistance given to learners to assist them in acquiring or engaging in a targeted behavior or skill. Prompts are generally given by an adult or peer before…
38.  5 types of prompting
a.     Gesture – least intrusive
b.     Verbal cue
c.     Visual cue
d.     Modeling
e.     Physical
39.  How to prompt
a.     Initially begin using the least invasive
b.     Positively reinforce
c.     As the student learns, fade the reinforcement
d.     Being prompting with a plan of fading it gradually
40.  Visual Supports
a.     Any tool presented visually that supports an individual as he or she moves through the day
b.     Include
c.     Pictures
d.     Schedules,
e.     Scripts
f.      Written words
g.     Maps
h.     Timelines
i.      Visual boundaries
j.      Labels
k.     Organizational systems
l.      Objects within the environment
m.   Arrangement of the environment
n.     They are used across settings
41.  Visual Schedules
a.     Pictures
b.     Time slots
c.     Just words
d.     Paper
e.     Put in binder
f.      Strip with Velcro tabs to be changed
g.     First, then and next – can mix undesirables with desirables
h.     Scales
i.      Picture Exchange Communication System – work with speech language therapist
j.      Behavior Contingency Map – keep it simple, time limit on rewards, don’t get reward
k.     Choice Boards – can be any shape, good for assignments that they want to do first, give choice of rewards,
42.  Technology-Aided Instruction and Intervention (TAII) Supports
a.     Apps available
b.     Computer software for academics and social skills
c.     Prompting devices
d.     Text to speech devices
e.     Technology for speech to typed format
f.      Robotics for modeling ad social skills
43.  Sensory Implements
a.     Wiggle seats – beach ball slightly deflated, therapy ball in a pool noodle
b.     Weighted vests, blankets, toys
c.     Sensory bottles – baby oil and water, hair gel and water, rice, sand – hot glue gun on cap to seal it, superglue will melt the plastic bottle
d.     Fidget/fidget pencils – put nuts on the end of a pencil to screw on or off
e.     Stretchy bands – put around chair legs and pool noodle for student’s legs
f.      Pencil grips – Use rubber bands
g.     Headphones
h.     Mermaid pillow -buy fabric and glue on a cutting board
i.      Many items can be made or found cheaply at department stores

Original Photo by Pat Hensley


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