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Unlocking the Puzzle: Educating Our Students with Autism in Elementary Classrooms Christina Mikuljan and Amy Duncan PowerPoint Presentation
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Unlocking the Puzzle: Educating Our Students with Autism in Elementary Classrooms Christina Mikuljan and Amy Duncan. Today we will…. Discover key information about Autism Spectrum Disorders Examine the needs of students with ASD in the elementary school setting

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Unlocking the Puzzle: Educating Our Students with Autism in Elementary ClassroomsChristina Mikuljan and Amy Duncan

today we will
Today we will…..
  • Discover key information about Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Examine the needs of students with ASD in the elementary school setting
  • Identify strategies that you can use tomorrow in your classroom
accessing our expertise
Accessing Our Expertise…..

What is Autism?

Quiz:

  • Write down three things that come to mind when you hear the word Autism.
  • You have 1 minute!
  • Ready, set, …
group discussion
Group Discussion
  • What did you come up with?
  • What are some common threads among our ideas?
so what is autism
So, What is Autism?
  • Autism is a complex developmental disability
  • Typically appears during the first 3 years of life
  • The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain
educational definition
Educational Definition
  • Autism is a developmental disability that:
    • significantly affects verbal and non-verbal communication
    • Affects social interaction
    • Is generally evident before age 3
    • Adversely affects educational performance
autism is a puzzle
Autism is a puzzle

Social

Cognitive

Repetitive Behaviors

Age

Intervention

Communication

Gender

what we do know
What we do know…
  • Worldwide increase in the incidence of autism in past 10 years
  • CDC Study estimates between 5.5 and 5.7 in 1000 school age children have the diagnosis of autism
  • It is estimated that at least 300,00 school age children had autism in 2003-04

(http://www,edc.gov/mmwr/

statewide growth in california ages 0 22 years with autism as the primary handicapping condition
Statewide growth in CaliforniaAges 0 – 22 years with Autism as the primary handicapping condition
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SELPA vs. County wide growth in CaliforniaAges 0 – 22 years with Autism as the primary handicapping condition
recent research indicates
Recent Research Indicates….
  • Two subtypes:early onset and regressive
  • The distribution of white matter, the nerve fibers that link diverse parts of the brain is abnormal
  • The immune system may play a critical role
  • Many of the classic “behaviors” are coping mechanisms
in addition
In addition…
  • What appears to be lack of responsiveness or emotion may be the result of impaired communication
  • The most likely causes are a combination of genetic vulnerabilities and environmental triggers
brains on the autism spectrum
Brains on the Autism Spectrum
  • Grow at an unusual rate by age 2 and have enlarged frontal lobes
  • The corpus callosum is undersize causing poor coordination between the hemispheres
  • Amygdala is enlarged perhaps is response to anxiety
  • Hippocampus is 10% larger perhaps indicating the need to rely on memory to interpret situations
  • Cerebellum does not support motor planning and coordination
in short
In short…
  • There are too many local connections and fewer long distance ones creating processing that is poorly coordinated.
slide15

Autism is a “Umbrella Disorder”

Autism

PDD-NOS

Asperger’s Syndrome

Rhett’s Syndrome

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

subcategories of autism
Subcategories of Autism
  • Autism
  • High Functioning Autism
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Rhett’s Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
classic autism
Classic Autism
  • Prefer to be alone
  • Engage in self stimulatory behavior
  • Limited communication skills
  • May not want to be cuddled or touched
  • Like to watch parts of or the same movie over and over
  • Routine bound
  • Prefer sameness
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Noticeable physical over activity or extreme under activity
high functioning autism
High Functioning Autism
  • Not an official medical term
  • Individual with average to above average IQ
  • Can function in the typical settings with minimal assistance
  • Fairly good communication skills
  • Verbal skills higher than comprehension
  • Often able to decode but has poor comprehension
  • LRE maybe the general ed setting, RSP or SDC.
asperger s syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Impairment of two-way social interaction
  • Speech which is odd and pedantic
  • Limited non-verbal communication skills
  • Resistance to change and enjoyment of repetitive activities
  • Distinct special interests and rote memory
  • Poor motor coordination, with odd gait and posture and some motor stereotypes.
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While we need technical information to inform our thinking, sometimes the answers we need come from the heart.You can understand what autism is by what we know about ourselves
think about it
Think About It……..
  • Do you like to know what you are doing during the day?
  • Do you have a hobby or special interest?
  • Do you like some time to be alone when you get overwhelmed?
  • Do you like roller coasters?
  • Do you get into a social situation and not know what to say or do?
  • Do you have days when it really is all about you?
  • Do you think it would be easier if everyone just could see things your way?
impaired communication
Impaired Communication

May exhibit the following:

  • Non verbal very verbal
  • Echolalia
  • Poor receptive/expressive language
  • Oral motor difficulties – apraxia
  • Appears “not to hear”
communication continued
Communication continued…
  • Inconsistently shows lack of communicative intent
  • Language used to obtain a “goal” rather than for a social purpose
  • Literal/concrete
  • Use of language “scripts”
more communication cont
More Communication cont…
  • Difficulty answering questions
  • Difficulty with pronouns, negatives, and time concepts
  • Difficulty switching/staying on topic
  • Limited range of conversational topics
  • Odd rhythm, intonation and/or volume
strategies to support communication
Strategies to support communication…

Rely on visuals

Picture symbol communication

systems (PECS)

  • Time to process receptive language
  • Assistive Technology
vantage point
Vantage Point

The low-functioning child with autism, “lives in a world of his own,” whereas the higher functioning child with autism “lives in our world but in his own way”. (VanKrevelen, 1991)

impaired social interaction
Impaired Social Interaction

May exhibit the following:

  • Limited eye contact
  • Less responsive to social/nonverbal cues
  • Unusual play or limited interests with toys and objects
  • Lack of imaginary play
social interaction continued
Social Interaction continued…
  • Lack of join attention/joint reference
  • Limited social awareness
  • Difficulty initiating social interactions or maintaining reciprocal conversation
  • Preference for isolation or parallel play
  • Difficulty taking perspective of another, including their feelings, motives or intent (Theory of Mind)
  • Not seeking comfort when hurt or distressed
  • Lack of understanding of social distance/proximity
more social interaction cont
More Social Interaction cont…
  • Lack of understanding of social rules and conventions:
    • Turn taking
    • Sharing
    • Rules of the game
    • Winning/losing
    • First/last
strategies to support students with asd
Strategies to support students with ASD…

Teach the social rules

  • Structured play/group activities
    • Simple board games
  • Provide structured peer interactions
    • Schedules
    • Teaching the rules
  • Social Stories
sensory processing deficits
Sensory Processing Deficits

May exhibit the following:

  • Difficulty processing and regulating sensory information – auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic, olfactory, taste and environmental conditions
    • Hypersensitivity may lead to avoidance of the source
    • Hyposensitivity may lead to seeking or fluctuating response to the source
  • Poorly modulated attention
strategies to support sensory needs
Strategies to support sensory needs…

Provide opportunities for sensory processing regulation (breaks)

Provide “fidgets”

Build sensory diet into the schedule

Teach “self regulation” options

alternative learning styles
Alternative Learning Styles

May exhibit the following:

  • Stronger visual learner
  • Rote memory skills are stronger than conceptual abilities
  • Display “splinter” skills
  • Functions better with structure and routine
  • Learns by association
learning styles continued
Learning Styles continued…
  • Uneven developmental patterns
  • Difficulty generalizing knowledge and skills
  • Difficulty learning through imitation and observation
  • Poor executive functioning
strategies to support learning styles
Strategies to support learning styles
  • Visual supports
  • Organization
  • Predictable schedules
  • Reduce auditory processing
  • Reading and math programs need to be visual
  • Utilize direct instruction
behaviors are restrictive and repetitive
Behaviors are Restrictive and Repetitive
  • Rigidity, inflexibility, adherence to sameness
  • May melt down when sensory needs or anxiety is increased
  • Difficulty with changes in environment or routine/transition
  • Stereotypical behavior
  • Non-compliance
more behavioral responses
More Behavioral Responses
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Sudden changes in emotional states
  • Perseveration – high areas of interests, desires
  • Poor organizational skills
strategies to support positive behaviors
Strategies to support positive behaviors
  • Scheduled reinforcement
  • Framing new activities
  • Consistency
  • Building upon Communicative Intent
  • Implementing behavior plans
students with asd need to be supported in developing
Students with ASD need to be supported in developing…

Flexible responses

  • Provide choices
  • Allow routines
  • Respect refusals
  • Monitor medications and health issues
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Goals for educational services are the

same as those for typically developing children:

PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Educating Children with Autism, National Research Academy, 2002, (birth to eight years)

what we must remember
What we must remember…

Every person with autism is an individual, and like all individuals, has a unique personality and combination of characteristics.

slide48
If children can’t learn the way we

teach, then we’d better teach them

the way they learn.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly… what is essential is invisible tothe eye.

The Little Prince

effective instruction
Effective Instruction

If it’s GOOD, it…

  • respects neurology of autism
  • is structured
  • is motivating to child
  • is developmental/hierarchical
  • is individualized
  • facilitates independence
  • transitions across contexts
  • includes practice of learned skills
  • provides positive behavioral supports
slide50
Now…
  • What are 3 new insights that you have about students with ASD?
  • On your mark
  • Get set
  • GO!
effective programs
Effective Programs

Characteristics include:

  • staff development and support
  • support to families
  • comprehensive curriculum
  • utilization of effective instructional strategies
  • evaluation of student progress
  • structured educational settings and supports
in closing
In Closing…

If children can’t learn the way we

teach, then we’d better teach them

the way they learn.

references
References

Thank you

to the

Southern California Autism Training Consortium

SCAT-C