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Strategies for Including Students with Autism in the Elementary School Classroom. Presented by Sarah Lanzo Tara Herlihy and Jenette Leonard. What is Autism?. What is Autism?. Delayed or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas: Social Interaction

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strategies for including students with autism in the elementary school classroom

Strategies for Including Students with Autism in the Elementary School Classroom

Presented by Sarah Lanzo

Tara Herlihy and Jenette Leonard

what is autism1
What is Autism?
  • Delayed or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas:
    • Social Interaction
    • Communication – delayed language
    • Patterns of behavior (e.g., restricted, repetitive, stereotyped), interests, and activities
what is autism2
What is Autism?
  • Today, it is generally agreed that Autism should be viewed as a spectrum disorder. Symptoms can occur in many varieties and varying degrees of intensity.
  • No two individuals with Autism present in the same way.
In addition to Autism, several other diagnoses are considered to fall under the Autism Spectrum. These include:
  • High Functioning Autism (HFA)
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)
high functioning autism hfa
High Functioning Autism (HFA)
  • Meets all criteria for Autism
  • To qualify as “high functioning” a child’s full scale IQ must be 70 or higher
  • Not recognized in the DSM-IV-TR
asperger s syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome
  • These students typically experience communication differences, struggle with change and transitions, and have intense and absorbing interests.
  • No significant delay in language
  • These students may go undiagnosed for years, and may be viewed as “quirky” or “eccentric”
pervasive developmental disorder pdd nos
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)
  • This label is often given to students who have “Autistic-like” characteristics, but do not meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria for Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome
  • These students have learning, communication, behavioral, or other differences and need similar supports to those with more formal diagnoses.
common characteristics
Common Characteristics:
  • It is important to remember that no two students with Autism look, behave, communicate or learn in the same way. However, there are some general characteristics that many children with Autism share.
common characteristics1
Common Characteristics:
  • Movement Differences
    • Rocking, flapping, pacing, etc…
    • Can appear clumsy or awkward
    • Poor fine or gross motor skills
  • Sensory Differences
    • Difficulty maintaining or switching arousal states
    • Hearing
    • Touch
    • Smell
    • Sight
    • Taste
common characteristics2
Common Characteristics:
  • Communication Differences
    • Some students have limited or no spoken words
    • Unusual speech intonations
    • Repetitive speech (echoing the words of others)
    • Expressive communication difficulties
    • Receptive communication difficulties
common characteristics3
Common Characteristics
  • Socialization and Interaction Differences
    • Some students have little or no desire for social interaction with peers
    • Others have a strong desire for friendships but lack the skills necessary for successful social interaction
    • Attempts at social interaction may be misunderstood or misinterpreted
common characteristics4
Common Characteristics:
  • Learning Differences
    • Processing difficulties
    • Decreased memory
    • May require “non-traditional” ways of showing what they know
  • Interests or Fascinations
    • Many have a deep interest in one or a variety of topics
    • May need favorite materials, activities, behaviors and interest areas to relax, focus, or make connections with others
academic accommodations
Academic Accommodations:
  • A structured environment
  • Visual Schedule (classroom or individual)
  • Give transition warnings (5 minutes until…)

*timer can be used on the Smartboard for class to see

  • Visual Aides/manipulatives to support instruction

*you are already doing this with Smartboard lessons

  • Increased time for processing and responding
  • Break down directions/tasks into smaller steps or chunks
academic accommodations1
Academic Accommodations
  • First, Then board
academic accommodations2
Academic Accommodations:
  • Extra time to complete assignments
  • Organizational strategies such as graphic organizers, charts, check lists, etc.
  • A scribe when the assignment is subject based not writing OR a printed copy of notes from the Smartboard.
academic accommodations3
Academic Accommodations:

Most of our students on the Autism Spectrum have far better decoding skills than comprehension skills. Just because students can decode the text does not mean they are comprehending what they read.

  • Comprehension Checks should:

-limit open ended questions

-give choices for answers to questions asked (ex.

Did the character feel excited or annoyed?)

-realize that they are getting the black and white, but they need to be taught the grey.

-assist students in understanding what is implied by the author

social emotional accommodations
Social/Emotional Accommodations:
  • Sensory breaks such as running errands, climbing structure, seat cushions, swings at recess or a quiet area if they are over-stimulated.
    • Sensory diets should be overseen by professional such as Occupational therapist.
social emotional accommodations1
Social/Emotional Accommodations:
  • Errands to be done with a partner to provide a social opportunity
  • Insert breaks during natural transition times OR at designated times throughout the day. (This will be what works best for the child and the classroom he or she is a part of.)
  • Pacing in the back of class may allow a child an easy sensory break.
  • Gum/candy to chew/suck on
social emotional accommodations2
Social/Emotional Accommodations:
  • At Recess:
    • Have a class Recess Bucket OR students can bring in a recess bag. In order to use a toy from the recess bag, you must play with the student the bag belongs to.
    • The recess rule: “First you must play____ with a friend, then you may use the swing.”
    • Provide printed sheets of easy to follow directions for recess games.
recess games example 1
Recess Games: Example #1
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Use 4 cones to mark you egg area.
  • Choose one child to call out Egg Commands.
  • Egg Commands:
  • -Scrambled Eggs: students travel according to how they
  • Are instructed; run, skip, hop, walk,
  • Tip-toe.
  • -Hard Boiled Eggs: students curl up in a ball on the
  • ground And stay completely silent
  • -Soft Boiled Eggs: students lie on their stomachs putting
  • moving arms and legs
  • -Fried Eggs: students lie on their backs putting arms and
  • Legs up in the air and shake them
recess games example 2
Recess Games: Example #2
  • Shipwreck
  • Use 4 cones to create you ship area.
  • Choose a captain. Each captain may call out 5 orders, and then it is time to find a new captain. Remember, TAKE TURNS!!
  • Captain Orders:
  • -Captain’s Comin’: children must salute the captain
  • -Hit the Deck: children get on the bellies
  • Jellyfish: children make fin shape over heads and swim
  • To the middle of the boat
  • Shark Attack: children make fin shape over their heads
  • And swim to the middle of the boat.
  • -1 Man in Boat: children sit on the ground pretending
  • to Row boat and sing, Row, Row, Row
  • your boat
social emotional accommodations3
Social/Emotional Accommodations:
  • Use of social stories or scripts during social situations, transitions, changes in routine, field trips, assemblies, fire drills, asking for help, etc.
  • Positive peer models: use buddies for recess
  • Frequent and Specific Positive reinforcement
social story examples
Social Story Examples
  • Asking for Help
  • Sometimes I do not know what I need to do.
  • This is ok. No one knows what to do all the time.
  • When this happens I should ask my teacher or another adult for help.
  • That is the right thing to do. My teacher will be so happy to help me.
  • It will help me understand what I need to do.
  • I am so happy that I know how to ask for help. This will make me a very successful student.
social story examples1
Social Story Examples
  • Our Field Trip
  • On Friday my third grade class is going on a field trip. It will be fun.
  • When I get to school in the morning I will not do morning work.
  • I will get on a bus with my friends and teachers and ride to Plimoth Plantation.
  • I will do a scavenger hunt at Plimoth Plantation. Ms. Ash will help me.
  • I will eat my lunch at Plimoth Plantation. Ms. Ash will bring me a meatball sub for lunch
  • I will have a quiet voice and a quiet body.
  • When the field trip is over, I will get back on the bus with my friends and teachers and ride back to school.
  • My teachers will be proud of me if I have a quiet voice and quiet body on the field trip.
  • On Friday my third grade class is going on a field trip. It will be fun.
social story examples2
Social Story Examples
  • Fire Drills
  • Sometimes we have fire drills at school. They help us practice.
  • It is just practice, there is NO fire.
  • I am okay.
  • I am safe.
  • I will stay in class with my friends until I hear the fire alarm ring.
  • When I hear the fire alarm I will go outside with my class.
  • I will walk slowly.
  • I will not talk.
  • I will be okay. It is just practice.
social story examples3
Social Story Examples
  • Time to Go Home
  • The end of the day is fun. I am happy that it is time to go home!
  • There are 9 children that take the bus.
  • We all really love to be the line leader, but it is not possible for all of us to be the line leader each day.
  • We are going to have a new RULE in the DLC.
  • The teacher will decide each day who will be line leader.
strategies for behavior prevention and management

Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management

Functions of Behavior & Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management

functions of behavior
Functions of Behavior
  • All behaviors have a function or reason (some have more than one).
  • In order to change a behavior, you first need to find the function of the behavior (why the student is displaying it).
  • There are four main functions of behavior: Tangible, Escape, Attention, and Sensory.
  • The student is displaying the behavior in order to get something tangible.
  • For example they want the blue marker but were given the red marker. They may start yelling or crying when they do not get the blue marker
  • Giving the student the blue marker when acting inappropriately REINFORCES their behavior.
  • The student is displaying this behavior in order to get out of doing something.
  • For example, the student may cry or yell during writing in order to not complete the task.
  • Allowing the student to not complete the work only REINFORCES their behavior.
  • A student displays a behavior in order to get attention (positive or negative) from someone.
  • For example, the student may make noises to get his peers to laugh or to get spoken to by the teacher.
  • Giving that student attention (positive or negative) only REINFORCES the behavior. As hard as it is, IGNORE the behavior.
  • The student displays the behavior because it fulfills their sensory needs.
  • For example, a student may flap their hands or make noises because it fulfills their sensory needs.
  • Behaviors due to Sensory needs are the most difficult to decrease.
  • Find a more appropriate behavior that can also fulfill the same sensory need.
functions of behavior1
Functions of Behavior

With any problembehavior you will need to identify:

  • Antecedant
  • Behavior
  • Consequence
behavior plan
Behavior Plan
  • Once you have recognized the function(s) of the behavior, you can develop an appropriate plan to decrease or increase the behavior.
  • The plan should be the opposite of the behavior. For example, if the function is attention the plan should involve ignoring and not giving the student attention for the behavior.
  • Try to recognize the antecedent before the behavior escalates.
  • There should be more positive reinforcement than punishment…even on the worst of days.
behavior plan1
Behavior Plan
  • Consistency is KEY. Everyone working with the child need to be on the same page.
  • Have a GO person or leader to call the shots. Everyone else involved should follow. The leader should be established prior to any behaviors.
  • Be warned….the behavior will get worse before it gets better!
social emotional accommodations4
Social/Emotional Accommodations
  • Behavioral Intervention Plan (i.e. Token Systems)
  • Start off with quick reinforcement. As they become successful and understand the plan, begin to spread it out.
  • If possible, have the student own it.
  • Be sure to be explicit about why they earned the token. For example, “nice job having a quiet voice. Give yourself one token.”
strategies for behavior prevention and management1
Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management
  • Structure is Essential
    • Predictability, consistency, and reliability are important
  • Identify HIGH-RISK SITUATIONS, over-stimulating, situations in advance (these may include class parties, assemblies, field trips or any change in routine) and plan ahead for them
  • TRANSITIONS can be tough for students with autism spectrum disorders. Possible strategies for transitioning include:
    • Give advanced warning
    • Use a timer
    • Rehearse the transition
strategies for behavior prevention and management2
Strategies for Behavior Prevention and Management:
  • Use CLEAR, CONCISE language
  • Be aware of TONE OF VOICE:
    • Kids react negatively to preachy, angry, whiny, pleading, infantilizing, moralistic, over-dramatic, loud, pushy, sarcastic tone of voice.
    • Kids react positively to bright, friendly, gentle, firm, humorous, simple, neutral, sing-song tone of voice.
  • Represent things VISUALLY whenever possible.
    • Provide visual cues for behavioral expectations
  • Kluth, Paula Ph.D. “Your going to Love This Kid,” Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom. Baltimore, 2003.