Misty Cwach, Amy Forster, Mary Nielsen Laura Thyren and Danlyn Vander Wal
Project Foundation "Exceptional human beings must be given exceptional educational treatment, treatment which takes into account their special difficulties. “ -Hans Asperger
Early Childhood Inclusion Inclusion – defined as the values, policies, and practices that will support the rights of children and their families as well as give support in the form of positive relationships, friendships, and a sense of belonging (Allen p.7) Inclusion promotes awareness within the classroom as well as the community (Allen p.9?)
Teacher Implications Need to have programs and activities that can be specified for children’s specific needs and abilities Promote suitable behaviors Realize value of play and how it can be used to promote learning and tolerance Structure learning and play so everyone can participate regardless of disability Foster caring and nurturing environments Use a cornucopia of materials and equipment to further develop learning abilities (Allen p.16)
Benefits of Inclusion Curriculum builds upon the strengths of the children Observation – can lead to higher-level motor skills, language skills, social skills, and cognitive skills Motivation – seeing what the other children are doing and so therefore want to try harder themselves Learn from the other students – everyone has something to offer (Allen p.19)
Program Delivery Assessments of the child Develop and evaluate IFSP and IEP Coordination with health providers Transition plans (Allen p.223)
Communication with Parents Notes Telephone Calls Website Newsletter Meetings – either parent/teacher or large group Parent conferences Support groups Parent feedback Home visits (Allen p.230-237)
Six Steps for Assessment Screening – identify those that need a more thorough evaluation
Comprehensive Screening – evaluates the abilities, delays, and/or impairments in areas of development
Determining Eligibility – establish if there is a disability and meets requirements for special education services Determine Services – ascertain the types of services that are needed for the specific disability and use this information to make IEP or IFSP
Six Steps for Assessment Planning the Program – use a suitable program and plan which services will be use and how Monitoring Progress – review how the child is succeeding/not succeeding in the specific program used Evaluating the Program – is it effective?
Make modifications to make it successful OR change the program completely to have more achievements for the child (Allen p.243)
Types of Observations Used for Evaluations Checklists Frequency Counts (making tally marks of how many times something happens) Anecdotal notes Duration Measures Running Records Logs Journals Diaries Portfolios
Assimilation & Accommodation Jean Piaget Assimilation - different experiences should be incorporated Accommodation – new thinking and abilities to help make assimilation happen Helps the child be included in the classroom and not be treated different than the other students (Gonzalez-Mena and Widneyer Eyer p. 85)
Defined Disability "I see people with Asperger's syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life" - Tony Attwood
History of Asperger’s Syndrome Initially described by Hans Asperger in 1944 Did not officially become a disorder until 1984 Classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Typically diagnosed after the age of 3 Exact cause unknown currently More common in males than females
Asperger’s SyndromeKey Characteristics Repetitive routines or rituals Speech and language peculiarities Non-verbal communication problems Tend to be “in their own world” Have difficulty planning and coping with change Lack of skills Difficulty in social relationships Poor concentration Restricted interests (Allen, 2005 p, 154) Limited interests Sensitive to loud noises
Definition for Children This video explains some of the basic characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome for children. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9eATBV-_lg
Behaviors Speak fluently but will continue on about a particular subject Like to learn facts and figures Have narrow, unsociable and unusual hobbies May have some obsessive behaviors Fear of change Difficulties understanding sarcasm and idioms Difficulties reading facial expressions Have unique imaginations Take longer for learning how to share and behave properly Anger tantrums Trouble making eye contact Difficulties viewing other’s perspectives
Asperger’s Syndrome Autism Higher functioning Normal intelligence Near-normal language development Diagnosed after the age of 3 primarily Want to fit but have difficulties because of social skills Do not possess any “clinically significant” cognitive delays Language delays Below average IQ Diagnosed earlier in life Lower functioning May seem uninterested in others Have cognitive delays. Some show signs of mental retardation
Student Plan Setting goals and making a plan to achieve desired outcomes
Steps in creation of an IFSP(Individualized Family Service Plan) Important to specify each family member’s concerns, priorities, and resources Incorporate all of the family’s activity settings into the plan, such as school, home, childcare setting, extracurricular activities, etc. Assessment should be ongoing and should clearly address the child’s areas of strength, needs, likes and dislikes, resources, and environments, as well as all areas of development
Important that an individual familiar to the child assesses child in all settings to achieve consistency All members of the team should work together to determine expected outcomes that “focus on enhancing the family’s capacity and increasing the child’s participation in valued activities.” Next step is to assign responsibilities to various team members in order to achieve identified outcomes Plans should be made for each team member’s actions in order to meet the expected goals
Essential to evaluate methods and results at least twice per year with revisions made at least annually in order to ensure quality, which involves much record-keeping to answer the following questions: “To what extent and at what rate is the child making progress toward attaining outcomes?” “Are the selected intervention strategies and activities promoting gains in development?” “Do changes need to be made in the intervention plan?”
Example of an Individualized Family Service Plan
Child's Name: David T. Child’s Age: 4 yrs. 11 mos. School: ______________________________________________ Date: ________________________________________________
Family Concerns and Priorities: David has a very high I.Q. and communicates very easily, but struggles to make friends. David loves bugs and knows many things about them. He will talk for hours about different types of bugs, which often bores other children, causing them to back away from him. He struggles when other children don’t do what he expects them to do or don’t follow the rules. David is very literal and doesn’t understand when others are joking with him. David becomes very agitated when things don’t happen when he expects them to and is very difficult to calm. Mom is very concerned that David does not have any friends to play with because the other children do not understand why David acts the way he does.
Resources Presently Available to the Family: The family has begun to take David to a doctor specializing in Asperger’s Syndrome, and by the doctor’s suggestion, mom and dad have joined a support group for parents of children with the diagnosis.
Family’s Current Activity Settings: David currently spends half days in the early childhood program at the school and spends the other half of his days in a family childcare setting. Mom and Dad have tried to encourage David to join extracurricular activities to help him get to know other children in the hopes that he would make friends, but David does not enjoy sports, so has protested and refused to participate.
Assessment of Child’s Current Developmental Level: David shows above average performance on standardized IQ assessments as well as above average verbal skills. David’s large motor development falls in the average to below average range, as well as his fine motor skill development. David shows below average scores in social skill development. He resists any eye contact and struggles to read others’ behavior. Annual Goals: Because the most significant concern for David lies in his social skill development, the primary goal for David’s development is to increase his ability to relate to his peers socially. Additionally, another goal for David is to help him develop coping mechanisms to manage his stress levels when things don’t go as he expects them to go.
Short-Term Objectives: David will learn to recognize emotions on people’s faces. David will learn to use a schedule to make predictions regarding what will happen next and will learn tools to cope when things change.
Special Services Plans: A Behavior Specialist trained in working with children with an Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis will meet with David twice weekly during early childhood class time and will meet once weekly with David’s classroom teacher to incorporate the skills David is learning into his time in the classroom. Emotion recognition will be targeted as well as stress management skills. Much effort will be placed on helping David to use a schedule to anticipate what will happen next in his day to day routine. Schedules will be posted for David to use, as well as expectations for David to follow. Additionally, resources will be shared with David’s parents and his childcare provider so that the skills can be extended into all areas of David’s days. Finally, the classroom teacher will work with David’s peers in the classroom to help them understand how to interact with David.
Evaluation Plan: David will be re-assessed in no more than 6 months to determine the effectiveness of the strategies put in place and make determinations regarding any changes necessary to the plan. Additionally, findings from the evaluation will be used in planning efforts for David’s transition to kindergarten for the next school year.
Student Environment “Never say or do to a student what you wouldn’t say or do to the student in front of his or her parents.” - Unknown
ObservationT = teacher C = child Observation T says “C remember we do not push on the playground” C looks to teacher and says “Ok T I can’t push on the playground” C repeats this rule until he/she gets outside for recess C notices a group of children playing in a circle C goes over to one child in the group and shoves them When T asks C why he/she pushed; C says “I just wanted to play” Material enhancement When the teacher returns to the classroom she develops a social story for C to read and review about why we do not push. And also one abut how to enter play. It also discusses other solutions to engaging in play with other children. The teacher also makes a copy for the child to review at home. Social stories can also be developed for other social situations the child may struggle with. (Allen & Cowdery, 2005, p.305)
Sample Social Story – Hitting & Pushing 3. When I am upset I must not push other people or hit them, this is wrong and it is not allowed, this is the school rule. 1. Sometimes I get angry with my friends and teachers 2. They sometimes do things that upset me. When I am upset, I must not hit other people
Sample Social Story – Hitting & Pushing 6. I will enjoy my school day and so will my friends. When I am a good (add boy/girl), I will be able to use my computer and have fun. 4. If I hit or push someone I might hurt them. This would make them sad and my teacher or parents will take away my computer time when I push or hit (or add another consequence) 5. I must try to follow the school rules and not hit and push. This will make my friends happy.
Other Instructional Approaches for Teaching Social Relations Personalized rule cards Can be taped to child’s desk as a visual reminder. Can also be laminated and given to the children to carry with them. (ex. How the children are expected to sit in their desks) Comic Strip Conversations Used to visually clarify social interactions and emotional relations Role-playing Teacher and student can act out situations that seem to cause problems for the child. The teacher can provide guidance for how the student can act (Stokes, 2002)
Other Instructional Approaches for Teaching Social Relations Peer Partners A buddy that can assist the child with AS during less structured social situations. The support network should be established in a small group setting. Modeling Using videos to discuss proper social skills The Button Jar The AS student, or include all the students in the classroom, put a button in the jar each time they are noticed doing exhibiting great social skills (Stokes, 2002) Video about teaching social skills
Incorporating Technology Teachers can use software programs to assist in teaching social skills. There are many programs out there, but I found pretty good reviews on this one. School Rules – Volume 1 & 2 Incorporate the students with AS in making the social stories on the computer. This gives them some ownership of the finished product and also teaches technology skills. (Stokes, 2002)
Incorporating Technology Word documents can also be used to help children express their feelings since writing skills are often not well developed.
Families and Communities How to connect families and communities to services and professionals available to them
Because each child with Asperger’s Syndrome is unique, the family’s ethnic, religious, and ethical background will be taken into consideration when building the program.
The program will bring in professionals that will translate for the families if need be to ensure maximum communication between all parties, while using the first language of each child in the program.
The religious beliefs and family background will be respected for each child that is in the program.
There will be no pressure from any of the professionals in the program to change the personal identity of any of the children or their families within the program.
The program will focus on creating a comfortable learning environment for each of the students.
Special accommodations will be made for students when necessary.
Each of the families of a child in the program will be given a list of websites in a newsletter when they first come into the program. These are the websites that we will encourage families to visit:
Each week, the program will send out a newsletter that will help to communicate with families. The newsletter will include:
Photos of the students in the program (if given permission by the family)
What is being taught in the program
A weekly article discussing current Asperger’s Syndrome research, and what this means to families
Weekly notes of encouragement to get involved in community awareness and support of others with Asperger’s Syndrome
New ideas for families to try at home to encourage their student’s academic and social success
Each family’s newsletter will be translated into the language that is individually appropriate for them.
Each of the families in the program will be given a list of face-to-face help that they can get for them and their child. They will be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities such as:
Helpful websites such as, http://www.autismspeaks.org/community/fsdb/state.php?sid=49 that are going to help families get connected with others like themselves in South Dakota.
Special education teachers in their districts that can help with how to encourage learning at home.
South Dakota pediatricians that are aware of what to expect when dealing with a child with Asperger’s Syndrome
Support Groups in South Dakota Central South Dakota Chapter- Autism Society of America ASA Chapters, Information and Support 19304 Robbs Flat Rd. Midland, SD 57552 Black Hills Chapter- Autism Society of America ASA Chapters, Information and Support 1818 W. Fulton Street #101 Rapid City, SD 57701
Autism Society of the Black Hills ASA Chapters, Information and support Sherri Perkins, Program Coordinator statewide, SD
Family Support Program Department of Human Services, Div. of Developmental Disabilities4050 East CapitolPierre, SD 57501-5070
As early childhood professionals, we understand the value of controlling the loss of learning due to a disability. With this program, we will help to encourage cognitive development at as normal of a rate of possible. This program also will encourage children to develop their emotional, social, linguistic, and motor skills. We will particularly encourage cross-curricular lessons that will help to develop the student as a whole. With early entrance to this program, each student will have successes greater than they would have had without this program.
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" - Marie Curie
References Allen, K.E., & Cowdery, G.E. (2005). The Exceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. Aspergers Network Support for Well-being Education and Research. (n.d.). What is Asperger Syndrome? Retrieved June 9, 2011, from ANSWER - Asperger's Support Network: http://www.aspergersmn.org/index.php?id=56 Atwood, T. (2005). What is Asperger's Syndrome. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from OASIS @ MAAP: http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/Articles/What-is-Asperger-Syndrome-.aspx Christian, J. (2006). Autism Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved June 2011, from Sanford School of Medicine: http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/autismhandbook.pdf Etsy, Inc. (2011). DAILY SCHEDULE PECS Charts for Children/Adults with Autism/PDD/Aspergers. Retrieved June 2011, from Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/57400323/daily-schedule-pecs-charts-for Gonzalez-Mena, Janet and Dianne WidneyerEyer. Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers. New York : McGraw-Hill , 2009. Hirsch, D. (2011). Asperger's Syndrome. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-Asperger's-syndrome
References Quotes on Autism or Asperger's. (2011). Retrieved June 19, 2011, from Wrongplant.net: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt74841.html Parenting Aspergers Community. (2008). Aspergers Support Groups South Dakota. Retrieved June 2011, from Parenting Aspergers Community: Rethink autism. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.rethinkautism.com/professional/intro.aspx Special Needs Toys. (2010). Retrieved June 2011, from Children's Disabilities Information: http://www.childrensdisabilities.info/shops/specialneedstoys.html Stokes, S. (5/10/2002). Children with asperger’s syndrome: Characteristics/leaning styles and intervention strategies. Retrieved from http://www.bbbautism.com Support Groups in Other States and Countries. (2011). Retrieved June 2011, from Asperger Syndrome Education Network: http://www.aspennj.org/resources_other.asp#SD