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But I Didn’t Sign up to be a Spec Ed Teacher!. Sad Stats 1 in 88 births will result in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis Girls are not being.

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Presentation on theme: "But I Didn’t Sign up to be a Spec Ed Teacher!. Sad Stats 1 in 88 births will result in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis Girls are not being."— Presentation transcript:

1 But I Didn’t Sign up to be a Spec Ed Teacher!

2 Sad Stats 1 in 88 births will result in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis Girls are not being diagnosed early…anorexia As many as 50% of individuals with autism are non- verbal 75% of children with Asperger’s syndrome also have Attention Deficit Disorder (Attwood) Autism Spectrum Disorders are now more common than Down’s syndrome, childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, blindness and deafness

3 By the end of this session you will… Gain understanding of a parent and teacher perspective Identify key areas of challenge that are not always obvious for students with ASD Identify essential methods and attitudes integral to successfully teaching a student with Autism

4 Perspectives Parent Loss of dreams for child Questioning diagnosis Repeating the nightmare Waiting lists Funding for therapy Financial stress Time stress Teachers Everyday is a birthday party Meeting each child’s needs Self doubt Fear of judgment and criticism Island syndrome

5 If you have taught One child with Autism You have taught ONE child with Autism

6 Bring in the parents and the student What are your dreams? Nightmares? What are some words that describe your child the best? What are your gifts? Talents? Interests? Needs? What would an ideal day at school look like? Feel like?

7 Start with what works What are the student’s strengths, preferences and abilities? In what contexts, school situations or environments is the student successful? When does he successfully interact with peers in meaningful ways? Paula Kluth, You are Going to Love This Kid!

8 Good for all, Necessary for some Routines and schedules Transition tools Checklists and Rules Organization support Choices Non verbal supports and cues

9 The Triad of Impairments Impairments in Communication Stereotypical Repetitive Behaviour Impaired Social Interactions

10 Processing Problems Executive Dysfunction Sensory Problems Imitation Deficits Weak Central Coherence Mind Blindedness Language Problems

11 Communication and Language Expressive difficulties: A lot of words but no meaning What happened at recess? Can we talk about something else? Why are you talking like that? More dialogue please!

12 Communication and Language Receptive difficulties : It was just a joke!! I read it but I don’t get it! I heard you but I don’t get it! I heard you but I don’t know what you said Do you want me to look at you or hear you?

13 Don’t assume that a verbal individual understands you and that a non-verbal individual lacks understanding!

14 What do we do? Be compassionate Each Strategies for academics (PALS, SSRD) for reading comprehension Teach social thinking and skills Keep instruction systematic and direct Teach listening Support what you say with a picture or written word Stop talking so much!

15 Autistic thinking

16 Problem Solving My way!

17 Repetitive Routines, Behaviours and Movements What do you mean we aren’t going to library today???? Inflexible thinking and behavior (brainstorming, problem solving, multiple meanings…) Why does he keep doing that?

18 What you might see… Continue using an ineffective strategy “Why isn’t it working?” Less likely to learn from mistakes

19 What might you see? Does not ask for clarification Asking the same question repeatedly Rigid adherence to rules and routines Keen interest with a particular topic Difficulty applying what is learned in one situation and apply it to another

20 Impaired Executive Function Frontal lobe is responsible for much of the executive functioning of the brain. These functions include: Attention Working memory Planning, organizing Forethought Impulse control

21 Organizational Issues “Without appropriate support, the child with AS may feel he is drowning in a million sub tasks. Many of us have trouble prioritizing and organizing tasks.” Stephen Shore


23 Do you know this student? Poor ability to inhibit impulses Often impulsive; acting without thinking; interrupting Difficulty focusing, concentrating Problems inhibiting distracting stimuli; picking out relevant details Difficulty planning: setting goals, predicting future outcomes and designing course of action Difficulty following sequential steps

24 Do you Know This Student? He/she has problems: Organizing materials, turning in homework, bringing what is needed, and remembering to deliver messages Making predictions or inferences, and drawing conclusions Putting events or steps in sequence Getting the main idea and making judgments about an event Evaluating ideas

25 Do you Know this Student? Difficulty shifting attention between task and active memory Difficulty with multi-step tasks and complex instructions Often forgets directions once task is started Poor ability to monitor and check work Poor self-monitoring of behavior Tends not to use past experiences to evaluate present actions

26 What can we do? Show compassion List the sequential steps of the task, providing visual cues to each step Teach self monitoring Visual schedules: pictorial, written Clear beginning and ending to tasks…stop signs Clear visual rules and regulations Provide outlines for assignments/graphic organizers!!! Lists, written sequences, step by step

27 Teach Kids HOW to think Flexibly What else could this be? How many uses can you think of for…? Model Flexible thinking aloud We can do this, but we can also do this…” “If I stay calm, I’ll find the solution mre quickly… “The smart and friendly thing to do is to ask for help.”

28 Socializing and relationships Misunderstanding of or inattention to facial expressions in others Perimeter walkers Prefer to be alone OR does not know HOW to “be” with others Lack social thinking: inappropriate comments or responses

29 Problems with Play Seems to not know HOW to play with toys or children Lacks a soundtrack May play by himself Intense reaction if play does not goes his way (rules) Extreme difficulty sharing toys Lacks imaginative play (sticks are swords)

30 What can we do? Show compassion Develop relationships through activities/groups Teach social thinking™ not just social skills Use social scripts and social skill picture stories Video modelling Role Play Teach social secrets Write objectives for participation in community building activities and focus on collaborative learning

31 Emotional Difficulties

32 Hypersensitivity: Overly reactive to sounds, lights, fabrics, food textures, smells “One of my sensory problems was hearing sensitivity, where certain loud noises, such as a school bell, hurt my ears. It sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears.” Temple Grandin

33 Hypo sensitivity May seek deep pressure (bang into things and people, hug really hard) Unaware of clothes “falling off” Oblivious to smells Unaware of where his body is in space (movements are big and all over the place )

34 What do we Do? Show compassion Understand that the child may delay in understanding what someone may be thinking or feeling Understand what the child may be thinking or feeling Avoid of sarcasm Look at the literal interpretations rather than rudeness Stay Put box Teach relaxation…deep breathing, progressive relaxation Yoga?

35 Motor Skills Difficulties Poor coordination…clumsy and awkward in space Poor fine motor skills Possible odd gait when walking or running Poor eye hand coordination

36 Visual Skills Issues May be unable to see something “right in front of the eyes May have difficulty covering wide areas of space May be unable to “imagine” a scene Visual memory may be awesome ( can picture where something was put a year ago)

37 “Reality to an autistic person is a confusing, interacting mass of events, people, places, sounds and sights. There seem no clear boundaries, order or meaning to anything. A large part of my life is spent just trying to work out the pattern behind everything. Set routines, times, particular routes and rituals all help to get order into an unbearably chaotic life.” Therese Jolliffe

38 To sum up…A student with autism may struggle in these areas: Communication and Language Cognitive deficits and patterns of thinking Social Interaction Emotional regulation Anxiety Motor Issues Visual differences

39 The Good News There are gifts associated with autism: Incredible memory for topics of interest Perservence for subjects of interest… (think about your most specialized doctors) Visual memory can be outstanding Long term memory

40 Computer skills Computing skills Decoding skills Many deficits can be explicitly taught Less concern with peer’s opinions Detail oriented

41 Qualities of teachers who “get it” What is the most effective way to engage him in his learning? Bold and creative supports Meet students “where they are” Constantly interrogate their own teaching practices? Calmness at all costs Reduction in homework Likes the child, admires his/her abilities and perspective on life

42 Make the kid’s day more comfortable, fun, productive and successful rather than trying to “manage behavior”

43 Autism Aspirations Facebook Newsletter

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