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Active Social Engagement. Active Social Engagement for Students with Autism Alice Hammel, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison Universities. Background. Challenges for students with ASD. Little interest in objects of people May not play simple interaction games

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Active Social Engagement

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Active social engagement

Active Social Engagement

Active Social Engagement for Students with Autism

Alice Hammel, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison Universities



Challenges for students with asd

Challenges for students with ASD

  • Little interest in objects of people

  • May not play simple interaction games

  • May not laugh or smile in response to positive statements

  • Limited interest in social speech, imitation, and joint attention

  • Lack of social function or understanding of social cues

Socialization and academic progress

Socialization and Academic Progress

  • Social communication and academic progress are inherently linked

  • We learn by observing others and through witnessing the outcomes of those behaviors

Fundamentals of social development

Fundamentals of Social Development

  • Social speech

  • Collaborative play

  • Eye contact

  • Joint attention

Jim Along Josie

Rhythm Game (imitation)

Eye contact

Eye contact

  • Gather information

  • Indicate interests and emotions

  • The intent of others can be very confusing

Active social engagement


  • Attention has been drawn elsewhere

  • Anxiety related to the expectations of the classroom at the moment

  • Sensory input needs (hypo or hyper)

  • Delay in cognitive processing necessary to comprehend or retain information

Levelance (in pairs)

Joint attention

Joint attention

  • Attending to the interest of others

  • This can be extremely difficult.

  • Some students are not interested in engaging with others, their objects, or situations.

  • An inability to process via eye gaze, theory of mind, or other means can exacerbate joint attention miscues.

  • Simon Says

Central coherence

Central Coherence

  • Central Coherence Theory

    • Focus on the local rather than the global aspects of an object of interest

Theory of mind

Theory of mind

  • Trouble predicting actions, intent by assuming beliefs or state of mind

  • Tone of voice

  • Often cannot understand looks, glances, figures of speech, tone of voice, etc.

Let s make music

Let’s make music!

Pass the Ball

We are the Dinosaurs

Other challenges for students with asd

Other Challenges for Students with ASD

  • Language Delays

  • Age Appropriate Interests

  • Difficulty interpreting behaviors and emotions

  • Difficulty interpreting facial expressions that include emotion

Socialization strategies

Socialization Strategies

For Music Educators who teach Children with ASD

Considerations for lesson planning

Considerations for lesson planning

  • Imitation

  • Fine motor movements

  • Motor planning

  • Taking turns on instruments

  • Performing partner songs

Bach Activity

Social stories

Social Stories

  • As individual books

  • Using pictures of the student modeling appropriate social behavior

  • “Setting up” social scenarios

Lets make music

Lets make music!

Lucy Locket

Great Big House in New Orleans

Strategies for educators

Strategies for Educators

  • Eye Contact

  • Appropriate Responses

  • Joint Attention



  • Finding interests that connect students

  • May not be typical or age appropriate

I love to laugh

I love to Laugh

  • The Prism Project

  • Theory of Mind (revisited)

  • What is means to be funny

  • Telling Jokes

I love to laugh1

I love to laugh

Other c onsiderations

Other considerations

  • Appropriate Atmosphere

  • Reverse Inclusion Opportunities

  • Pairing or “Buddying Up”

  • Literal Explanation (slang, etc.)

Lets play

Lets play

Up, Up, and Away

Reverse inclusion

Reverse Inclusion

  • Students who are neurotypical may be included in music settings with students with autism. Some models of this include:

  • ASSET (Autism Spectrum Support Education and Training)

The prism project hip hop experience

The Prism Project: Hip-Hop Experience

Concluding thoughts

Concluding thoughts

Alice Hammel

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