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Youth and a dolescents with Autism spectrum disorders in the school environment. Melissa Sreckovic SPHS 802. Objectives. Students should be able to: Discuss how students with ASD are impacted by education laws

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youth and a dolescents with autism spectrum disorders in the school environment

Youth and adolescentswith Autism spectrum disorders in the school environment

Melissa Sreckovic

SPHS 802

  • Students should be able to:
    • Discuss how students with ASD are impacted by education laws
    • Recognize what can cause problematic behavior in a school setting and understand some strategies to prevent/manage behavior problems
    • Recognize some strategies that are used to teach social skills in school and help children foster positive relationships
    • Describe some techniques to accommodate and modify classroom instruction to make learning successful for students with ASD
education laws
Education Laws
  • No Child Left Behind (2001)
    • Goal is to have 100% proficiency rates in mathematics and reading by the 2013-2014 school year for all students.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1991, 1997, IDEIA 2004)
    • Autism was added in the 1991 amendments
    • Individuals with an IEP need to be taught in the least restrictive environment

In order for a child to be considered eligible for special education services they must have a diagnosed disability that adversely affects educational performance (IDEIA 2004)

challenges students with autism may face in school
Challenges students with autism may face in school?
  • Students have to learn the academic curriculum and the social curriculum
  • Friendships can be difficult to foster
  • Unpredictable
  • Can be unstructured (substitute teacher, change in schedule)
  • Communication can be difficult

  • Brainstorm possible problems for children with ASD in this classroom
  • Share with a friend
  • Share with the class
the great inclusion debate
The Great Inclusion Debate

Research has shown mixed results on the inclusion of children with ASD in general education classrooms (Harrower & Dunlap, 2001).

Inclusive classrooms can be a great experience for everyone involved if it is “inclusive” and correct accommodations and modifications are in place.

behavior management1
Behavior Management
  • “As a teacher, I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, a child humanized or dehumanized.” ~Quote from Educator/Philosopher ChaimGinott (1971)
what are some causes of problematic behavior
What are some causes of problematic behavior?
  • Fear!
    • Oppositional defiance may just be fear of the unknown or what might happen next
    • Fear of making a mistake, being teased or bullied, sensory experiences, social interactions
    • Depression-low self esteem due to being rejected and ridiculed, painful awareness of being different
    • Sadness and anxiety expressed as anger

Baker, J. (2010, October). Autism/Asperger’s Conference. Future Horizons, Charlotte: NC.

typical triggers
Typical Triggers
  • Biological: tired, sick, hungry
  • Sensory: fluorescent lights, noise, people bumping into one another
  • New, challenging, or large quantities of work
  • Having to wait
  • Losing, making mistakes, getting criticized
  • Being ignored
  • To correctly identify a trigger a Functional Behavior Assessment can be done:

Baker, J. (2010, October). Autism/Asperger’s Conference. Future Horizons, Charlotte: NC.

behavior management2
Behavior Management
  • Step 1: Students should feel competent
    • Make them feel successful
    • Take the shame out of it
  • Step 2: Crisis Management
    • Try to distract the child or calm him/her down
    • Discuss a plan for next time, but don’t bring up the same exact situation!
  • Step 3: Repeat Behavior Problems
    • Explain, model, role play, incentive
    • Find out why the behavior is happening
    • Keep a journal to find triggers (Before, During, & After)
    • Develop a preventative plan
    • Give warnings to students “In five minutes you will have to stop playing on the computer.” If this doesn’t work create a schedule so the student knows when he/she can play again.

Baker, J. (2010, October). Autism/Asperger’s Conference. Future Horizons, Charlotte: NC.

  • Students have to be motivated to learn the skills
  • It has to be meaningful to them
  • Implement incentives if needed
    • 3,2,1 behavior plan
    • Entire class sticker chart will reinforce skills such as asking questions, making mistakes
    • Reward should be for the process, not the outcome

Baker, J. (2010, October). Autism/Asperger’s Conference. Future Horizons, Charlotte: NC.

why is social skill instruction important
Why is social skill instruction important?
  • Data suggests that children who have difficulties in peer interactions and relationships are at risk for maladjustment socially and behaviorally later in life (Brown, Odom, & Conry, 2001)
  • Children with HFA may be at greater risk for peer rejection and isolations than more severely impaired students with ASD (Kasari, Locke, Gulsrud, & Rotheram-Fuller, 2011)
  • Individuals with HFA are 20 times more likely than their peers to be socially excluded from school (Barnard et al., 2000 as cited in Humphrey & Lewis, 2008)

Children and Adolescents with HFA between the ages of 4-17 are 4 times more likely to be bullied than their peers (Little, 2002)

  • Students feel that their peers have the most influence on them feeling safe at school (Humphrey & Symes, 2010)
  • Wyatt in Autism the Musical:


Rotheram-Fuller, Kasari, Chamberlain, & Locke, (2010) conducted a study of the social involvement of children with an ASD in 30 elementary schools in the LA area.

  • Results showed that children with an ASD had substantially fewer reciprocal friendships in all grades
  • Friendships were more similar in early grades compared to later grades
  • Children with ASD showed misperceptions of their friendships; they rated children as friends and those children did not consider them as friends
  • Children with an ASD that had at a minimum of one reciprocal friendship, were more socially involved in their class and more accepted by their peers
  • Only 48.1% of children with an ASD were socially included
peer sensitivity
Peer Sensitivity
  • Empower all of your students to become role models!
  • 85% of bullying is hidden and usually the teacher sees the reaction
  • Teachers can educate students to generalize kindness
  • Students become coaches to other students
peer mediated interventions
Peer Mediated Interventions
  • Goals: Teach peers how to interact with children with ASD, increase frequency of interaction between subgroups, increase initiations for activities, minimize adult support, promote positive interaction, teach social skills, provide academic support (Sperry, Neitzel, & Engelhardt-Wells, 2010)
how to implement pmii
How to Implement PMII:
  • Get parent permission
  • Select peers
  • Train peers
  • Provide ongoing support to peers
  • Implement activities that promote practicing the skill in the classroom
  • Extend initiations throughout the day

For more information visit:

(Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention: Steps for Implementation (EMH) National Professional Development Center on ASD, 10/2010)

social narratives social stories
Social Narratives/Social Stories
  • Uses pictures and text to display appropriate and positive situations (Spencer, Simpson, & Lynch, 2008)
  • Beneficial because they are visual, permanent, written for the child, demonstrate what people are doing and thinking (2008)
  • Gray (2000) recommends the following format:
    • 2-5 sentence describing the good behavior
    • 1 sentence describing the positive, appropriate responses of others
    • 1 sentence describing other’s viewpoints as they react
    • 1 sentence describing shared value (optional)
    • 1 sentence that reminds the child of the appropriate behavior
ways to make learning successful
Ways to Make Learning Successful
  • Change the triggers
    • Model, prompt rather than test, explain learning curve
    • Give choice of work, use special interests
    • Visual supports: instructions, webs, outlines, labels
    • Reduce length, use timer
  • Teach “Trying When It’s Hard”
    • Try a little
    • Ask to watch first or ask for help
    • Take a break and try again
    • Negotiate how much
    • Use break cards, 2 minutes each

Adapted from: Dr. Jed Baker, Autism / Asperger’s Conference, Charlotte, NC, 2010

match the evidence based intervention with the description
Match the evidence-based intervention with the description!


Self Management

Social Skills Groups

Task Analysis

Time Delay

Effective for children 6-11 years old

This intervention includes instruction, practice or role play, and feedback

Assistance given to learners to help them with a specific skill

Learners are taught to monitor and record their behavior

Breaking a skill into smaller steps


Odom, S. L., Collet-Klingenberg, L., Rogers, S. J., & Hatton, D. D. (2010). Evidence-based practices in interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. Preventing School Failure, 54(4), 275-282. doi:10.1080/10459881003785506

  • Baker, J. (2010, October). Autism/Asperger’s Conference. Future Horizons, Charlotte: NC.
  • Brown, W. H., Odom, S. L., & Conroy, M. A. (2001). An intervention hierarchy for promoting young children's peer interactions in natural environments. Topics In Early Childhood Special Education, 21(3), 162.
  • Gray, C. A. (2000). Writing social stories with Carol Gray [Videotape and workbook]. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.
  • Harrower, J. K., & Dunlap, G. (2001). Including children with autism in general education classrooms: A review of effective strategies. Behavior Modification, 25(5), 762-784.
  • Humphrey, N., & Lewis, S. (2008). "Make me normal": The views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 12(1), 23-46.
  • Humphrey, N., & Symes, W. (2010). Responses to bullying and use of social support among pupils with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in mainstream schools: A Qualitative study. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10(2), 82-90.
  • Kasari, C., Locke, J., Gulsrud, A., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2011). Social networks and friendships at school: Comparing children with and without ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(5), 533-544.
  • Little, L. (2002). Middle-class mothers' perceptions of peer and sibling victimization among children with Asperger's syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. Issues In Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 25(1), 43-57.
  • National professional development center on autism spectrum disorders. (2010, October). Retrieved from
  • Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention: Steps for Implementation (EMH) National Professional Development Center on ASD, 10/2010
  • Rotheram-Fuller, E., Kasari, C., Chamberlain, B., & Locke, J. (2010). Social involvement of children with autism spectrum disorders in elementary school classrooms. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 51(11), 1227-1234. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02289.x
  • Spencer, V. G., Simpson, C. G., & Lynch, S. A. (2008). Using Social Stories to Increase Positive Behaviors for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Intervention In School And Clinic, 44(1), 58-61.
  • Sperry, L., Neitzel, J., & Engelhardt-Wells, K. (2010). Peer-mediated instruction and intervention strategies for students with autism spectrum disorders. Preventing School Failure, 54(4), 256-264. doi: 10.1080/10459881003800529
  • Wilde, Ld.D., Koegel, L. K., & Koegel, R. L. (1992). Increasing success in school through priming: A training manual. Satna Barbara: Univeresity of California