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2012 autism booklet_military

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  • 1. Supporting Children & Youth withAutism Spectrum Disorders
  • 2. Supporting Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders Table of Contents Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Supporting Communication . . . . . . . . . 4 Supporting Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Helping Children Understand Their Peers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Recommended Book List . . . . . . . . . . . 16 - 17List of References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 1
  • 3. Understanding Autism Spectrum DisordersEach child is an individual with his or her own unique In an out-of-school time program, a child with autism maystrengths and challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorders need support in the following areas:are neurological disorders that affect a child’s develop- • Interpreting communication in verbal &ment in the following areas: communication, socializa- non-verbal formstion, and behavior. • Initiating & responding to social interactionAutism is a spectrum disorder that affectsindividuals differently. • Adjusting to the program routine & schedule • Processing & regulating sensory input from theSpectrum disorders include autism, Asperger’s environmentSyndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder NotOtherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s Syndrome, • Coping with change or uncertaintyand Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
  • 4. Supporting CommunicationSupporting communication includes much more than Clarify communicationencouraging verbal language. It involves careful obser- Children with autism may have a difficult time inter-vation, clarifying verbal and non-verbal communication preting non-verbal communication like body languageand using visual supports and cues. and facial expressions. Processing and interpreting verbal communication may alsoAll children communicate through their behavior. be difficult for a child.More than words When a child does notThe first step to supporting a child’s communication naturally pick up on subtleis to observe their behavior. Ask yourself questions cues, clear, simple expla-like, “What does the child’s behavior look like when he nations may help. Foris having fun? What does it look like when he seems example, to help a child interpret your bodyoverwhelmed? What does it look like when he appears language when you areupset?” Watch for subtle cues to learn how the child busy, tell her what touses his behavior to communicate his wants and needs. look for: “When my head is down and Video resources and FAQs on strategies to I am reading something, I am support communication are available at busy. You can ask me if I am busy if you are not sure or kitonline.org you can come back later.” Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 5
  • 5. Communication Continued…Simplify communication Visual cues can clarify communication and provide a support for a child if they have trouble processing theSimplifying directions and communication may be actual words. Visual supports can be added to almostnecessary to support a child. Try different ways of everything in a child or youth program. Some visualcommunicating and see what works best for thechild. You can: supports to try include: • Use fewer words: “Sit down” versus “Can you please come over here and sit down?” Pairing simple signs and gestures with spoken language. • Break down activities into smaller steps. • Speak slowly and clearly. • Give the child more time to respond. Taking pictures of the steps involved in an activity. • Monitor the pitch and volume of your voice.Visual supports Providing written instructions for a game in a school-age program.Adding a visual component to words, activities, games,and interactions can help to support communicationfor children with autism. Many children have a difficult Holding up an object that corre-time processing verbal language in a noisy and busy sponds to the topic or directions.program environment. Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 7
  • 6. Communication Continued…Child and youth programs offer children many different teachable steps for a child with autism or explain atypes of opportunities to engage in social interactions playground game in an easy-to-understand format.and make friends. Many children develop the ability to Encourage the child’s family to promote popular itemsgrasp unwritten social rules and norms without explicit at home and practice the steps involved in a game.instruction. Children with autism may need your helplearning how to interact with and respond to their peers. Explain abstract concepts Slang and metaphors may be difficult for children toTeach popular activities understand. It may also be hard to distinguish betweenIdentify the games, toys, and activities that are popular playful name-calling (like “homie” or “G”) and hurtfulwith the children in your program. Spend time thinking name-calling (like “stupid”). Children with autism mayabout how to break down a popular activity into small, need help in learning what slang words mean and how to interpret them in a school-age or teen setting. Model how to use communication supports Children may be hesitant to interact with a peer who does not use words to communicate. Adults can model how they use pictures, gestures, or communication de- vices to talk with the child. Encourage peers to practice using these supports to play and interact with the child. Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 9
  • 7. Supporting BehaviorAs children with autism navigate your program consistency, sudden changes can feel devastating. Youenvironment, they are working hard to interpret com- can help a child cope with changes by spending timemunication, social cues and to regulate their responses talking about and explaining the changes before theyto sensory stimuli. That is a lot of work! happen. For example, if a child’s teacher is going on vacation, let the child know ahead of time. ShowEstablishing a predictable and stable environment pictures of where the teacher is going and talk aboutand supports will help children feel secure and what will happen at the program while his teacher is away.promote positive behavior. Pay attention to the environmentEstablish a consistent routine & schedule Many children with autism spectrum disorders areChildren with autism often look for things that are either over or under sensitive to the stimulationpredictable and stable. Following a consistent program in the environment (lighting, sound, smell,routine and schedule will provide a base of support for material, touch, etc.). Paying attention tochildren. You can use visual supports to communicate what is going on in the environmentthe schedule and help a child prepare to transition and how a child reacts will providefrom one activity to another. clues on what types of environments work for the child and which cause stress.Prepare children for changes Quiet, small group activities might work bestUnexpected changes and events are inevitable in a for one child while active, movement-basedchild or youth program. For a child who relies on activities work best for another child. Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 11
  • 8. Helping Children Understand Their PeersInclusion promotes relationships and understanding, Not everyone’s brain works the same wayas well as the celebration of diversity. Spend time explaining to children that all brains areProgram personnel know it is important to avoid high- wired differently. This means that sometimes kids actlighting how one child may appear different or unusual in a way that we do not understand or have neverand to make sure all children feel uncomfortable. seen before. Facilitate discussions and activities toIt is also important to answer children’s questions help children realize how everyone is different andabout their peers with autism in an open and honest sometimes behave in different ways.way (while always maintaining confidentiality). Askingquestions is a way to gain understanding and is also a Keep it simplegreat opportunity to initiate interaction! Some kids notice all the small details that others might not pay attention to. They might walk into the gym and focus on the floor boards, the basketball, the net, the nails in the bleachers, the whistle around the coach’s neck, or many other details instead of focusing on the gym as a whole. Since seeing all the small things can be overwhelming, encourage chil- dren to keep everything in its usual place and mini- mize clutter from backpacks and personal belongings. Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 13
  • 9. Peers Continued… Resources for Program PersonnelRemember to maintain confidentiality. Visit kitonline.org for additional resources.Knowledge of or information about a child’s disability While you’re there, sign up to become ais confidential. Staff should never tell other children orfamilies that a child has autism without written member -- it’s FREE!permission from the family. Staff can work to increaseunderstanding of differences without giving the child alabel or disclosing their disability.All children like to play and have fun.Emphasize that all children play in different ways. Point The KIT Online Learning Center Includes:out that sometimes kids may play alone when theyhave trouble understanding a game or activity. Support Instructional Videoschildren in using patience with one another and finding Webinars eLearning Modulesways to spend time together throughout the day. Facili- Articlestate small group activities and create opportunities for Bookletsall children to play. Support Center Information Earn CEUs and Certificates of Completion! kitonline.org > click sign-in Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 15
  • 10. Recommended Book List for Children & Youth Recommended Book List for Adults10 Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew Making Lemonade by Ellen Notbohm (Future Horizions, Inc., 2004). by Judy Endow (Cambridge Book Review Press, 2006).A Walk in the Rain with a Brain The Way I see It by Edward M. Hallowell (ReganBooks, 2004). by Temple Grandin (Future Horizons, 2008).All About My Brother by Sarah Peralta (Autism Asperger Publishing Co, 2002). Walk Awhile in My Autism by Kate McGinnity and Nan Negri (Cambridge Book Review Press, 2005).The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone with Autism by Ellen Sabin (Watering Can Press, 2006). You’re Going to Love This Kid by Paula Kluth (Paul H. Brookes, 2003).Blue Bottle Mystery: An Asperger Adventure by Kathy Hoopmann (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001).Different Just Like Me List of References by Lori Mitchell (Charlesbridge, 1999). Donnellan, A. & Leary, M., Movement Difference and Diversity inIan’s Walk: A Story about Autism Autism/Mental Retardation (DRI Press, 1995). by Laurie Lears (Albert Whitman and Company, 1998). McGinnity, K. & Negri, N., Walk Awhile in My AutismMy Friend with Autism (Cambridge Book Review Press, 2005). by Beverly Bishop (Future Horizons, 2002). Sabin, E., The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend toThe Don’t-give-up Kid Someone with Autism (Watering Can Press, 2006). by Jeanne Gehret (Verbal Images Press, 1996).The Silent Boy The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, by Lois Lowry (Laurel-LeafBooks, 2003). (Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine, May/June 2008).Trevor Trevor Youth Advocate Programs, It’s about Relationships: For you, for your by Diane Twatchtman-Cullen (Starfish Press, 1998). child (unpublished document, 2006). Supporting Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders 17
  • 11. Every child’s life is e nh a n ce d through sharedex p e r i e n ce s and friendships with peers of a ll a bili t i e s . Thank you for making a difference. kitonline.org © 2012 Kids Included Together & National Training Center on Inclusion

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