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Moving on: from a focus on challenging behaviour to a focus on maximising achievement for students with autism 1 ©2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Moving on: from a focus on challenging behaviour to a focus on maximising achievement for students with autism 1 ©2013."— Presentation transcript:


2 Moving on: from a focus on challenging behaviour to a focus on maximising achievement for students with autism 1 ©2013

3 2 ©2013

4 Bonjour et bienvenue J'espère que vous trouverez cette présentation intéressante et que vous apprenez quelque chose d'utile 3 ©2013

5 The Paradigm Shift Who is challenging who? On that prior slide the challenge for many students with autism in the classroom is illustrated. When the teacher is talking so fast (or illogically) that they are hard to understand and the noise in the room compounds that difficulty. Did you find my behaviour challenging or did you think it was great that I could write a sentence in French? 4 ©2013

6 Present observed paradigm Teacher instructs students to do a task Most students start task Teacher repeats instructions All students except student with autism now on task Teacher thinks the student with autism is either work refusing or incapable of doing the work What is the student with ASD thinking? 5 ©2013

7 What are they thinking? 6 ©2013

8 Is the child being naughty? Yes, children on the spectrum, just like all other children can be naughty.... However, when they are exhibiting challenging behaviour it is important to work out if they are being naughty or not without prejudice and to realise that their view and the NT view may not be the same ©2013 7

9 Teacher ideas: challenging behaviour Work refusal Inappropriate tone/use of language Inappropriate physical interactions with peers Doing own things instead of class work The more verbal the child the more challenging these things are viewed as 8 ©2013

10 Teacher ideas: Types of challenging behaviour Class work / activities Student wont do the work Student wont ask for help when they cant do the work Student wont join in group or class activities Student will join in but only if they can control the group or class Communication & Interaction Student is too loud/quiet Student hurts others in class Student hurts others in playground Student is impolite Student doesnt respond to adult questions 9 ©2013

11 Changing expectations through building understanding Thinking differently does not make anyone stupid (NT or autistic) Thinking differently does lead to being different and understanding the world differently Difference is valuable – do you understand how to write a computer programme to calculate safe doses of drugs? 10 ©2013

12 The teacher wasnt being stupid...but was being completely illogical 11 ©2013

13 NT Teachers understanding students with autism People with autism do think differently, they are highly logical Being logical they usually interpret the world logically, thus if you say something they think you MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. Most NTs say this is a literal understanding of language. Being logical they often only do things that are worth doing. When you say they have to do something they know this is rarely the case. 12 ©2013

14 Lack of shared meanings Does this indicate a lack of intelligence? On whose part? I would say neither but I would say that if a teacher knows a student is on the spectrum and chooses not to modify their language it shows a lack of understanding of what being on the spectrum means. 13 ©2013

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16 Examples of how to develop shared meanings Explicitly explain phrases you commonly use, e.g. When I say you should be ready to work, I mean you must sit at your desk, have your pencil ready.... (use visuals to support complex instructions like this) Mean what you say. If you say the students have 5 minutes to do a task, mean that! Say what you mean. If the work is not good enough, say so and say why. If the work is a great effort, say that. Do not say both.... ©2013 15

17 (Natalia & Gabriel, 2006) 16 ©2013

18 People with autism understand and interact with the world differently than neurotypical people. Dont forget how they interact with the world is normal for them. thinking, speaking, doing and being differently 17 ©2013

19 Seeing potential and not potential problems Having autism does not mean the student is disabled and/or violent & aggressive The student may or may not be violent &/or aggressive at times, and they may or may not have an intellectual disability/mental health difficulty/learning difficulty etc However, having autism does mean the student is a learner and has potential ©2013 18

20 Examples of the potential of people with autism ©2013 19 Temple Grandin, professor and cattle industry expert. Temple did not speak as a young child – being non-verbal when you start school does not mean you will never be able to communicate (whether orally or another way) Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon. As a child fixated by bugs and by computer games, Satoshi linked these two ideas to create Pokemon and become a highly successful part of the Nintendo corporation.

21 Thats all good but.... Tara hits people all the time... Tahu does no work in class, but just sits there drawing cartoons for hours My answer is why? Does Tara know any other way of interacting with people? Are others being mean and provoking her? Can you use Tahus love of cartoons to introduce new learning? ©2013 20

22 Writing Potential NT teachers think: NT teachers think young students need to write news every day to develop their writing skills NT teachers think handwriting practice is useful Writing skills indicate intelligence (not all teachers think this) Problematic People with ASDs think: There is rarely news about which to write or talk about so what exactly are they meant to write or talk about? If I can write why do I need to do it over and over? If I cant why do I need to be shown that I cant over and over? Teachers are very unclear about what they want. ©2013 21

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24 Teacher responses to my question; why should students with autism write news? Because they have to. Really?! Because thats what our school does every morning. And that makes it a good idea?! So that they learn to write more and develop more skills. And no other task would do this?! That is one of the ways we teach lots of concepts – time, past events, sequencing etc. Cool – could we vary the task so you use other ways too? ©2013 23

25 Removing the problem and finding the potential Teacher Be clear about why the students need to develop their writing or other communication skills Provide a visual checklist for the student with autism for their writing or communication Ensure the writing (or presentation) tasks reflect these reasons and are working towards the students goals Student with autism Understand that improving writing (or presentation) will help meet personal long term or short term goals Use the checklist to ensure you complete your writing (or presentation) tasks so that you benefit and your teacher is happy with you Communicate with your teacher ©2013 24

26 ©2013 25 so that mum will buy food you like! To study geology at university

27 Why students with autism do write: Because it makes my teacher happy. Because I like seeing the words on the paper Because I know what I am supposed to write about and how to do it. Because I get computer time if I write a page. Because I can write about what I am interested in, so I write lots about Rugby stadiums when everyone else writes about other stuff. ©2013 26

28 And why they dont: I dont like using a pen, if I can write in pencil then I dont mind. The teacher says my writing is wrong but I like capital letters. I dont know what I am supposed to do. I am not interested in sea creatures. Nothing new happened. I cant be bothered, Id rather draw. ©2013 27

29 Going from compliance to non- compliance In my experience this is usually caused by a sentinel event... After my teacher refused to mark my five page story because he said my handwriting was too small, I never made my writing look nice again When my teacher said my story wasnt an appropriate subject to write about I stopped writing stories. When my teacher made me cry I refused to go to his class ever again ©2013 28

30 Fixations of thought All these previous sentinel events caused fixations of thought, which can present as challenging behaviour but much more seriously these negative thoughts/reactions can often hinder childrens achievement and success However, fixations can also present great opportunities and be really useful to foster achievement ©2013 29

31 Using fixations to promote achievement Introduce new concepts via special interests Introduce new skills to interact with fixations Facilitate leadership and teaching others to celebrate existing knowledge ©2013 30

32 Examples Rugby stadiums – art, design/technology, maths (volume, capacity, ticket sales etc) Animals – labelling pictures orally, matching words and drawings, art, practical skills to care for animals (brushing, feeding etc), measuring food, colours, patterns, classifications Computers – programming, art, music, design/technology, presentations, hand-eye co-ordination, sensory integration ©2013 31

33 IEPs to promote achievement Timely reviews of SMART goals demonstrates the success of students with autism This ensures teachers see these students as learners with potential This promotes planning for achievement ©2013 32

34 Example 3 goals; 1 from family/whanau, 1 from student, and 1 from school team Reviewed termly Strategies to achieve goals include; differentiated topics, resources, methods of doing and presenting tasks What goal looks like when achieved is clearly explained and referenced back to regularly ©2013 33

35 If someone with autism doesnt do something they are asked is it generally because; They are in sensory overload &/or They dont understand what you want them to do &/or They dont know how to do what you want them to do &/Or… what you have asked them to do is illogical and so they wont do it because it is silly Make sure you are clear and explicit about what you want and that it is meaningful and the purpose is easily explainable. Ensure the learner has the tools to comply. If you think you can make them comply – think about how you can do this! ©2013 34

36 Achievement is fostered by: An environment that meets the sensory needs of the student with autism A teacher who communicates clearly and logically, explaining not just what to do, but why to do it with high expectations for behaviour and learning (and an understanding that meltdowns are not bad behaviour) Being able to learn new things using interests and then being encouraged to share new knowledge and skills and celebrate these Facilitating the making and sustaining of friendships ©2013 35

37 For this teachers need: To understand how people with autism think, interpret and interact with the world To use this understanding to influence the way they communicate and teach their students with autism To see their students with autism as learners with huge potential (to go to university, to have jobs, to have families etc) To have positive and constructive interactions with their students with autism ©2013 36

38 EVERY CHILD ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM CAN ACHIEVE ©2013 37 Daryl Hannah famous actress Liane Holliday Wiley, author & professor TONY DeBLOIS Professional pianist Tito Mukhopadhyay Author (non-verbal writer who has provided insights into his world)

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