•Autism Defined •Characteristics •Strategies •Child in Crisis •Curriculum and Materials •Additional Resources and Information“Teaching Children with Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders in School and the Home” Jane F Iannacconi “Learning Autism for the General Education and Inclusion Setting”
Definition & Criteria1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction • impairment in the use of nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to- eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction • failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level • a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by lack of showing, brining, or pointing out objects of interest) • lack of social or emotional reciprocity
2. Qualitative impairment in communication • delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (without trying to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime) • in individual with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others • lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level • stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic langua
3.Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities3.Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns ofinterest that is abnormal in intensity or focus•Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals•Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting,or complex whole-body movements)•Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects (American Psychiatric Association (2008), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Text Revision)
Differences in the brain include:• Changes in the Amaygdala – regulating emotional responses• Cerebellum – regulating movement, balance, coordination• Cerebral cortex (Autism 101: Through the Looking Glass)Facts:• Rate of autism is 1 in 150• 4:1 ratio of autism in boys to girlsAutism Speaks
LEARNING CHARACTERISTICS OF AUTISM• Concrete- difficulty thinking abstract (autistic children typically can’t pretend or imagine something that isn’t real or couldn’t really happen)• Over selectivity- cue in or attend to irrelevant detail miss the main point of task/activity• Lack of generalization- learn in one place, can’t do in another• Same content/same context- learn skill in one environment/place change aspect of place, can’t do task• Distractibility- easy to tune into something else• Visual/spatial- learn by seeing and doing rather than hearing; difficulty processing language• Ritualistic- learn pattern one way, hard to change• Motivation- Different from peers or what others would want
• Attention: Make sure you get the child’s attention before talking to them.• Unnecessary Language: Be short and to the point! Here’s an example:Instead of saying, “You need to come and sit in your seat like all theother children until it’s time to go outside,” point to the chair and say,“Sit please.”• Do vs. Don’t: Tell the child what you want him/her to do instead of what not to do. Avoid using ‘don’t’ because a child with autism may not understand or catch the reversed meaning of the statement beginning
• Visual Schedules• Visuals• Social Stories• 5 point scale• Comic Strip Conversations/Cartooning• Power Cards
Providing a daily schedule in a visual format will make the daypredictable, ease transitions, and reduce stress. Examples:• full day may break the day into sections, or display only a part of the day at a time.• may use photos, line drawings, picture symbols or words
VisualsOther types of visual supports include:• reminders of what to do, such as posted rules• “to do” checklists,• charts displaying consequences for inappropriate actions.Visually displaying free time or other choices helps the child to understand theprocess of decision making.Presenting a card is often easier for the child than asking for help. Using simplecue cards for the child to give to an adult or to place in a certain location may behelpful.(Crissey, 2005, p. 4) I need help I need a break
• Visual scale• Used to help students reduce abstract ideas such as emotions, feelings, or pain into simple numbers can also be used to address behaviors such as vocal volume, disrespect, etc.• Can be used to help student identify where they can use certain behaviors. (e.g. vocal volume level 5 is reserved for outside or in an extreme emergency when there is no one near by that can hear you)
Michael is a 5th grader with autism. He is very soft spoken and oftendifficult to understand. He is frequently asked to repeat thingsbecause he is so difficult to understand. He is prompted constantly to“speak louder”, however, every time he is called on the teacher has toask him to speak up again.A 5 point scale was created for him to use to measure vocal volumeand since it is been in place the teacher no longer says “speak up”.Instead she uses phrases such as, “Say it at a 3!” or “Keep it at a 2!”In addition, she will use a visual and point the volume level she wantsMichael to use.
The scale: What it looks like: Yelling (sirens, shouting, screaming, fire alarm) Loud (announcements over the intercom) Conversation (friends talking, easy to hear but not too loud) Whisper (have to be really close to hear, talk into ear) No sound (peaceful)
“Colton is in the 6th grade. He has problems getting along in school. He likes to be in control and gets upset if he perceives something iswrong. For example, if someone cuts in line he may feel compelledto punish that person by kicking or hitting them. Colton’s ability tocontrol his behavior varies from day to day. Colton enjoys schooldespite having challenges with others who do not follow his way ofthinking”(Buron & Curtis, 2003, p. 26).
Looks Feels I Can Like Like try toKicking or hitting My head will Call my mom to go explode homeScreaming or hitting Nervous Go see Mr. PetersonQuiet, rude talk Bad mood, grumpy Stay away from kidsRegular kid Good Enjoy itPlaying A million bucks Stay that way
Present appropriate social behavior in the form of a book and include:• Relevant social cues that a child might miss if not directly taught• Specific behaviors/actions the child is to expect in a given situation• Details for the child to know what is expected of him Social stories may be used to:• Address many different behaviors from fear, aggression, obsession, etc• Teach routines and changes in routines• Help teach students understand their behaviors and the behaviors of others• Give step-by-step directions for completing a task• Tell how to respond to a given situation
Social stories include the following information:1. Who, What, and Where2. Statement of desired responses3. Reaction and feelings of others involved• social stories need to be age and ability appropriate and use terms like “usually” or “sometimes” instead of “always”• social stories are typically written in present tense to describe events as the take place, but may be written to describe events that will take place in the future.• illustrations may be included depending on the need of the student.
• Present the social story in a quiet place that is free from distractions• Reread social story just before targeted situation• Review social story frequently until behavior diminishes• Keep the social story accessible to the student so he/she can refer back to it as needed.• Never refer to the social story or attempt using the social story when the child is in crisis/having a meltdown.
My Grown-Up VoiceWhen I need help, I will raise my hand and wait for Ms. Mc Kenney and Mr.Jones to call on me.When Ms. Mc Kenney calls on me, I will use my grown-up voice to ask forhelp. I will not whine or make noises.If I don’t understand something, I will use my grown-up voice and ask forhelp.I can say, “Excuse me Ms. Mc Kenney, what did you say?”Then Ms. Mc Kenney might say, “What nice manners you have Bill, andthank you for using your grown-up voice. I will be happy to repeat what Isaid.”When I make noises, my friends can not hear Ms. Mc Kenney teaching.My noises hurt their ears.
Comic Strip Conversations/CartooningComic Strip Conversations (aka: Cartooning) are visual systems used toenhance the ability of children and youth with social-cognitive challenges tounderstand their environment, including the hidden curriculum.Steps for creating/using comic strip conversations:•Drawing: Begin by drawing the drawing the comic strip conversation. Thiscan be done by you or the student. Either way, artistic ability is not required;stick figures work fine.•Guide with questions: The adult guides the student’s drawing or whatneeds to be drawn by asking a series of questions: •Where are you? •Who else is there? •What did you do? •What did others do(Myles, Trautman, & Schelvan, 2004, p. 28-29)
•Insight: The adult shares his/her personal insights during the cartooningprocess when the natural opportunity occurs. (NOTE: student should haveas much control as possible during the cartooning session and adultsshould strive to “achieve a balance between gathering insights into thestudent’s perspective, while sharing accurate social information.”•Provide sequence or structure: Use comic strip boxes in which thestudent can draw the figures, particularly if the student has organizationalproblems. This way boxes can be numbered if the events are drawn out ofsequence.•Summarize the cartoon: This allows participants to discuss the comicstrip in chronological order. The student should verbalize independently, asmuch as possible, with the adult only clarifying as needed. Summarizationensures that both the child and the adult have the same understanding of agiven situation.•Identify new solutions: The adult and student work together, again withthe student performing as independently as possible, to identify newoutcomes of the pictured event. The adult and student jointly analyze eachitem, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. The studentretains the list, which becomes a plan for future situations.(Myles, Trautman, & Schelvan, 2004, p. 28-29)
Social Stories/Comic Strip ConversationsSocial stories and Comic Strip Conversations are techniques that werecreated by Carol Gray.For more information about these techniques and their creator visit:The Gray Center
The power card strategy is a visual aid that incorporates the child’sspecial interest in teaching appropriate social interactions including:• routines• behavior expectations• the meaning of language• the hidden curriculum.The Power Card Strategy consists of presenting on a single sheet or inbooklet form a short scenario, written in the first person describing howthe child’s hero solves a problem and a small card, the POWER CARD,which recaps how the child can use the same strategy to solve a similarproblem himself.(Gagnon, 2001, p. 19)
Power Cards are NOT appropriate with/when the student:1. Has sensory needs such as difficulty tolerating certain noises, smells, or tastes.2. Is extremely challenged cognitively and appears not to understand spoken language at the sentence or paragraph level. (This doesn’t mean that the child has to be a reader.)3. Engages in the problem behavior only once.4. The teacher or other adults do not have a positive relationship with the child. Remember, the Power Card strategy is not a punishment. It should not be perceived as negative in any way.5. A child in crisis. When the child is in the rage stage, this technique will not work.6. Does not have a well-developed area of interest. In order to buy into the strategy, the child needs to want to follow the hero’s directions.
Don’t:• Loud voices• Negative statements/threats (e.g. “You had your chance”, “You made your choice, now you need to leave class”)• Taking away preferred or comforting materials or activities• Physical redirection• Angry tone or body language• Punishments (e.g., “You just lost your sticker on your behavior chart)Do:One of the most important skills a teacher can have is the ability to be clam andcomforting in a crisis or “meltdown” situation. A comforting teacher may:• talk softly and share encouraging words• repeat a calming phrase• or simply keep one’s own body relaxed (Kluth)“The more you try to control the situation, the less control you will have!”
It’s important to consider the following things:• Fight or Flight• Ask previous teachers and/or parents what typically occurs when the child has a meltdown (does he/she throw things, hit, kick, etc.)• Find out if there are triggers or warning signs that a meltdown might occur and if so what are those triggers or warning signs• Talk with teachers, parents, administrators, etc and discuss the best way to deescalate the situation• Determine when you should call for additional support
Plan for what the other students should do (Drill and Practice): Examples: Develop a code word for clearing the room. Discuss this with your class when the student is out of the room. Develop a place they should go when they leave the room (e.g. classroom across the hall, library, etc). Designate a student who will go to the office, get another teacher, etc. to notify someone Make sure that everyone involved with the student is aware of the plan
Curriculum and Materials• Super Skills: A Social Skills Group Program for Children with Aspergers Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Related Challenges By: Judith Coucouvanis (ISBN#: 1-931282-67-6)• Navigating the Social World: A Curriculum for Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Related Disorders By: Jeanette McAfee, M.D. (ISNB#: 1-885477-82-1)• Power Cards: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome and Autism By: Elisa Gagnon (ISBN#:1- 931282-01-3)• The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting students with autism spectrum disorders in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotional responses By Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis (ISBN#:1- 931282-52-8)• The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations By: Brenda Smith Myles, Melissa L. Trautman, and Ronda L. Schelvan (ISBN#: 1-931282-60-9)• Practical Solutions to Everyday Challenges for Children with Asperger Syndrome By: Haley Morgan Myles (ISBN#:1-931282-15-3)
References:Gagnon, E. (2001). Power Cards: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with AspergerSyndrome and Autism. Kansas: Autism Asperger Publishing Co. pp. 19-22.Buron, K.D. & Curtis, M. (2003). The Incredible 5-Point Scale. Kansas: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.Crissey, P. (2005). I Have Autism: A Child’s First Look at Autism. Super Duper PublicationsMyles, B.S., Trautman, M.L. & Schelvan, R.L. (2004). The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions forUnderstanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations. Kansas: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.Paula Kluth: Calm in Crisis. 6 October 2008. http://www.paulakluth.com/articles/calmincrisis.htmlAutism Speaks: Be Informed. 24 October 2008.http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/index.php?WT.svl=Top_NavBoutot, E. A. & Myles, B. S.. (2011). Autism spectrum disorders: Foundations, characteristics, and effectivestrategies. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson.