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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