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  • Educating the Student with ASDBeckie Rotondo and Marybeth HarmerItinerant Autistic Support Teachers

  • Gaskins Overviewformal resolution between the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and a group of families and advocacy organizations who had filed a class-action lawsuit against PDE on behalf of a group of children with disabilities in 1994.

  • GaskinsGoal is to ensure that the IEP team first considers the regular classroom with supplementary aids and services before considering a more restrictive environmentIncrease opportunities for students with disabilities to receive the supports and services needed to be educated with nondisabled peers in regular classrooms in their home schools

  • Supplemental Aids and ServicesCollaborativeAdults working together to support studentsInstructionaldevelopment and delivery of instruction that addresses diverse learning needsPhysicaladaptations and modifications to the physical environmentSocial-Behavioralsupports and services to increase appropriate behavior and reduce disruptive or interfering behavior

  • DSM-IV General Deficit Areas of ASDCommunicationSocial skillsRestricted interestsSensory integrationBehavior

  • Additional Core DeficitsDifficulty identifying important global concepts and elements of tasksDifficulty with processing auditory information-understanding, retaining and retrievingDifficulty generalizing skills-skills must be taught in contextDifficulty with sequencing information or steps in a taskDifficulty with transitioningDifficulty with time concepts and time managementUneven academic, social, or emotional development (high functioning in some areas, low in others

  • What specifically is ASD???Classic Autismusually non-verbal, unengaged, and unable to perform well on standard diagnostic tests. Affects communication, social skills, and verbal/nonverbal playSometimes paired with Mental RetardationHigh Functioning Autismuse meaningful language, read, write, do math, show affection, complete daily tasks but can't hold eye contact, maintain a conversation, engage in play, pick up on social cues

  • PDD-NOScatch allall function levels whose symptoms don't fully correlate with classic autism Asperger SyndromeAffects the same triad of impairments as autism Usually average to above average intelligenceDiagnosed around or after age 3

  • Autism vs. Asperger Syndromethe child is very intelligent he or she is endowed with special abilities in certain areas of interest the child first shows symptoms in the third year or later the child develops highly grammatical speech very early

  • Why do educators need to know about ASD?represent the fastest growing diagnosiswithin the disability category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)-US Dept. of EducationAffects children of all socioeconomic strata, cultures, and raceIncreased identification will raise the number of children found in every schoolEstimated cost of $90 billion per year according to the ASA

  • How does ASD affect learning and behavior?Affects the neurodevelopment, resulting in distinct learning and behavioral stylesUnderlying biological/genetic cause that produces organic and/or physical changes during brain development-resulting in atypical cognitive and social developmentAffects individuals uniquelyAffects the ability to integrate sensory information and regulate emotions

  • Role of General Educators in IEPProvide information about how the included student performs academically and socially in the general education settingIdentify types and amounts of support students may need in their classroom (SAS)Regular education classroom teachers are an integral member of the IEP team for the included studentFor students not yet included, special area teachers are extremely important IEP team members

  • Interventions and Strategies for Students with ASDNo single intervention or strategy has proven to be successful for all students with ASDTo maximize the effect of the intervention, consider the students following:Communication proficiencyPreferred mode of communicationCognitive abilityLearning style

  • Interventions and Strategies for Students with ASDStudents with ASD require direct instruction in all areas due to the difficulty with generalizationInterventions/strategies must be connected to and generalized across settings, partners, materials, etc.

  • Strategies to Facilitate Successful InclusionConsistent classroom routinesProvide visual schedules, rules, choice boards and instructions (either pictures or words)Social stories (see an AS teacher for details)Be aware of situations causing anxiety and stress-the AS teacher should give specific examples and provide strategies to ease frustration or anxiety

  • StrategiesPlan for transition or changes in schedule-transition cue, schedule changes written in different color, discuss changes with student prior to event happening if possibleBe cognizant of specially-designed instruction as per IEP-preferential seating, peer buddy, writing accommodations, etc. (Goals at a Glance or Meet ____)Highlight directions or tasks, number steps, provide an exampleSimplify directions

  • More strategiesMake sure purpose of activity is clearly explainedstudents with ASD have difficulty making inferencesUse subjects or items of interest to increase motivation and participationScripts for group workColor coding subject areasfolders and notebooks for organizationClearly identify where items should go

  • Communication ConcernsDifficulty with answering wh questionsDifficulty with understanding figurative language, persuasive techniques, idioms, words with multiple meaningsDifficulty finding most important details or information-stories and text

  • Strategies for Improving Communication SkillsPreteach new concepts and content vocabulary prior to group instructionModel procedures, expectations, thinking strategies, or directionsPost visual reminders for components of essential concepts or questions (posting subject goals, objectives, content vocabulary)

  • Communication StrategiesPair verbal instructions with visual cuesIdentify verbally and visually when transitions occurUse auditory signals to alert students of important information, repeat informationProvide handouts for information being taught orally (key words, open notes)

  • Communication StrategiesBe careful of comments or information you say around students with ASD, they may copy it or repeat it out of contextTry to avoid assessments that rely heavily on essay or short answer questions (fill in the blank or multiple choice are better)

  • More Communication StrategiesProvide communication supports to help with student independence in initiating conversations (choice cards for asking for help)Encourage conversations, pull more language, dont except one word answersIf you know about an event a student participated in ask the student about it, try to engage student in a conversation about it

  • Sensory Integration IssuesSensory integration refers to the manner in which the brain processes, organizes and interprets information coming from the sensory systemStudents with ASD have a variety of sensory impairmentsDifficulty with gross and fine motor movements, locating their bodies in space, and regulating the level of sensory input

  • Sensory Difficulties Students with ASD may have difficulty with sensory processing in the following areas: -Sensitivity/insensitivity to sensory information -Attention and focus-Regulation of activity level-Transitions to between activities-Control of impulses, behaviors, and/or fear in dangerous situations-Oral Motor (objects in mouth, etc)-Recognition of personal space

  • Sensory Accommodations to Promote Focus Locate student desk in an area that will allow the students to adjust to changesClearly defined areas within the classroom (work, leisure, break, prohibited areas)Seat cushionsProvide opportunities for movement (songs, exercises during transitions)Suggest a sensory break (walk, deliver note or books to other teacher)

  • Sensory Accommodations: WritingAllow student to type assignments (Alpha Smart)Use graph paper to organize math problems and lined paper for writing tasksPencil gripsMechanical pencils (students who press too hard)Markers (students who press too lightly)

  • More Writing AccommodationsUse slant boardRemind students to hold paper with non dominant hand Shortened writing assignments, multiple choice options, fill in the blank, provide answers orally Peer note taker

  • Accommodations for Sensory SensitivitiesMenu or choice card for sensory breaks/stress release activities (leave noise environment, etc)Have obsessive/stress release items in a designated place. Provide clears instructions of when, where and how items can be usedApproach student from front if possibleHave student use headphones in loud/over stimulating situations Students with sensory difficulties should not be denied breaks, recess or P.E class

  • Socialization/Social Skills Students with ASD may exhibit deficits in some or all of the following:Engaging in reciprocal interactionsMaintaining eye contact Attention to gestures or facial expressionsConforming to rules of social behaviorEngaging in conversations on nonpreferred topics

  • Social Skill Deficits:Transitioning between conversation topicsFeeling empathyEngaging others appropriately in social situations Initiating, terminating, and repairing conversations Understanding importance of small talk and other social speech

  • Strategies to Improve Social Skills Provide explicit instruction and reminders of conversation etiquetteTeach students to recognize facial features/emotions