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Chapter 11. Understanding Students with Autism. Defining Autism. IDEA. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Autistic disorder Rett ’ s disorder Childhood disintegrative disorder Asperger ’ s disorder

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chapter 11

Chapter 11

Understanding Students with Autism

defining autism
Defining Autism


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)

Autistic disorder

Rett’s disorder

Childhood disintegrative disorder

Asperger’s disorder

Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

*DSM will be revised with a new definition of ASD in 2013

  • Autism is a developmental disability that affects children prior to the age of three in three areas:
  • –Verbal & nonverbal communication
  • –Social interaction
  • –Academic performance
prevalence of autism
Prevalence of Autism
  • In 2008, 292,818 students
  • Embody 5% of students served under IDEA
  • Fewer students with Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Males outnumber females four to one
  • Increased prevalence in last decade
      • Different theories for the increase in prevalence:
          • Greater public awareness
          • More refined diagnostic procedures
characteristics of autism
Characteristics of Autism
  • Language Development
      • Ranging from no verbal communication to complex communication
        • Delayed Language
        • Echolalia
  • Social Development
      • Delays in social interaction and social skills
        • Impaired use of nonverbal behavior
        • Lack of peer relationships
        • Failure to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests, and achievements
        • Lack of reciprocity
        • Theory of Mind
characteristics of autism1
Characteristics of Autism
  • Repetitive behavior
      • Fixations, tics, and perseverations
  • Problem behavior
      • Self-injurious behavior
        • Studies indicate the less communication needs are met, the more self-injurious behavior
      • Aggression
  • Need for environmental predictability
  • Sensory and movement disorders
  • Intellectual functioning
      • Approx. 75% have intellectual disabilities
      • Savant syndrome
determining the causes
Determining the Causes
  • Incorrect historical perspectives on causes
      • “Refrigerator mothers”
  • Biomedical causes
      • Abnormalities in brain development
        • Brain growth rates in early development
      • Neurochemistry
      • Genetic factors
        • Twin studies
evaluating students with asd
Evaluating Students with ASD
  • Usually in early childhood
  • Often uses some of the same tests given to students with intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities
  • Criteria may include:
      • Speech and language
      • Academic achievement
      • Cognitive functioning
      • Medical physical status
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
determining supplementary aids and services
Determining Supplementary Aids and Services
  • Address the domains of access, classroom ecology, and task modifications
  • Access involves modifications to the community, campus, building, or classroom to ensure physical and cognitive access
      • Also provide “behavioral access”
      • The lunchroom is a frequent environment in which problem behaviors occur; consider modifications to seating
      • Include accommodations for before and after school and in the hall between classes
planning for learning
Planning for Learning
  • Some characteristics associated with autism spectrum disorders are potential areas of learning strengths and provide a basis for curriculum adaptation
      • Ability to focus attention on detailed information
      • May excel in areas of the curriculum that are not as language-based, such as math or science
  • Mnemonic strategies
      • Keyword
      • Pegword
      • Letter
planning for other educational needs
Planning for Other Educational Needs
  • Provide students instructional supports that enable them to develop appropriate social skills
      • Promoting friendships
        • Include students in all areas
        • Use peer buddy programs
        • Use person-centered planning models that involve peers
        • Ensure peers learn about the goals of inclusion
planning for other educational needs1
Planning for Other Educational Needs
  • Students’ IEPs should address the following instructional areas:
      • Trustworthiness and loyalty
      • Conflict resolution
      • General friendship skills
      • Positive interaction style
      • Taking the perspective of others (theory of mind)
effective instructional strategies early childhood students
Effective Instructional Strategies:Early Childhood Students
  • Early intervention and preschool programs use different approaches, including the following:
      • Applied behavior analytic (ABA) techniques, such as discrete trial training
      • Incidental teaching in natural environments
      • Communication, sensory processing, motor planning, and shared affect with caregivers and peers
  • Social stories address the “hidden curriculum”
effective instructional strategies elementary and middle school students
Effective Instructional Strategies:Elementary and Middle School Students
  • Schoolwide positive behavior supports
      • A systems-level and evidence-based method for improving valued social and learning outcomes for all students
      • Proactive, problem-solving, and data-based approach to improving appropriate behavior and achieving important academic, social, and communication outcomes
      • Also seeks to rearrange school environments and change school systems to prevent students from engaging in problem behaviors
      • Includes three components: universal support, group support, and individual support
effective instructional strategies secondary and transition students
Effective Instructional Strategies:Secondary and Transition Students
  • The techniques underlying positive behavior support emerged from a set of strategies referred to as applied behavior analysis (ABA)
  • ABA uses the principles of operant psychology
  • Discrete trial training is based on the “three term contingency” outlined by applied behavior analysis:
      • Presentation of the discriminative stimulus (cue)
      • Presentation of the prompting stimulus (if needed)
      • The response
      • The reinforcing stimulus
measuring students progress
Measuring Students’ Progress
  • Autism Screening Instrument for Educational Planning (ASIEP-2)
      • Five components: Communication, social interactions, behavior, academic content, other
  • Teacher also need to measure outcomes related to school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports
      • Direct counts of problem behavior
      • Problem behavior reported by environment or time of day
      • Indirect indicators of success
  • Data collection tools
      • School Wide Information System
      • School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET)
      • School-wide Benchmarks of Quality (BoQ)
making accommodations for assessment
Making Accommodations for Assessment
  • Students with autism may perform better on standardized assessments when provided more frequent positive reinforcement
  • They may also perform better when assessments are administered by a familiar person
      • Presence of the examiner minimizes the students’ anxiety and stress associated with testing