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Autism Awareness For The School Transportation Association of Indiana Presented by Barb Fogarty Autism Consultant MSD of Lawrence Township Schools Indianapolis,

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Presentation on theme: "Autism Awareness For The School Transportation Association of Indiana Presented by Barb Fogarty Autism Consultant MSD of Lawrence Township Schools Indianapolis,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Autism Awareness For The School Transportation Association of Indiana Presented by Barb Fogarty Autism Consultant MSD of Lawrence Township Schools Indianapolis, IN

2 Training Presentation Adapted From: Glenda Pate and Lucy Wieland Old National Trail Special Education Cooperative 522 Anderson St., Box 267, Greencastle, IN 46135 765-653-2781

3 The Wheels on the Bus...

4 ….go round and round all through the town.

5 Characteristics of Autism

6 Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lifelong developmental disorders characterized by impairments in communication, learning, and social interaction which typically become evident in infancy or early childhood.


8 Children with autism tend to display difficulties with:  Communication Skills  Social Skills  Behavior

9 & Communication Language

10 COMMUNICATION May have difficulties: * Understanding what they hear * Comprehending simple language * Using appropriate language Grammar/pronoun confusion Using “made up expressions” Idiosyncratic language Verbal rituals * Using appropriate voice volume- loudness/softness

11 Communication - (cont.) May have difficulties with: * Direct gaze * Reciprocal gaze * Abstract, vague concepts (i.e. if you say “take a seat”, the student my try to physically take a seat) * Teasing * Tend to be very literal (i.e. if you say Hi Pal, the ASD student will say, “my name is not Pal, it is Jeff) 40-45% of students with autism are nonverbal

12  Regardless of the student’s level of functioning, communication will be challenging.  A common error is to assume students with ASD understand communication.  A student with ASD may use nonverbal gestures (a poke or tap) to communicate rather than using words.  All behavior communicates a need, anxiety and/or frustration.

13 Social Behavior

14 SOCIAL May have difficulties:  Understanding social gestures  Making/maintaining eye contact  Showing and directing  Social smile (reciprocal)  Ability to judge social situations and reading the intentions of others  Making friends  Reading nonverbal cues

15 BEHAVIOR May display:  Unusual preoccupations  Repetitive use of objects  Compulsions/rituals –Hand/finger mannerisms –Body movements  Unusual sensory interests/input  Self-stimulatory behavior  Self-injurious behavior  Special skills

16  Social interactions are always difficult for students with ASD.  Difficulties may include a lack of interest in social interaction, reciprocal conversation and active listening.  Students with ASD have difficulty understanding social situations—they are not rude!  Are often bullied by other students

17 Sensory Input

18  Students with ASD often have varying sensory issues which are sometimes erroneously classified as behaviorally- based.  Oversensitivity- tactile & auditory defensiveness *sensitive to sunlight *sensitive to touch-even a light brush of someone’s hand may feel like a hard punch *extremely sensitive to noise of students, traffic etc.  Undersensitivity – absence of pain.  Fatigue, anxiety, comfort level, trust and motivation often effect sensory-based issues.

19 Miscellaneous Characteristics  1/4 to 1/3 have epilepsy  4 out of 5 will be boys  Girls usually have more severe characteristics  Same incident rate in all countries, races, socio-economic status  May have poor motor skills

20 Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome Students with Asperger’s are higher functioning and look “normal”. Behavior is often thought of as “oppositional”, “defiant”, “spoiled”, and “manipulative”.

21 Common difficulties include :  Perseveration on specific topics of interest  Insistence on sameness/difficulty with changes in routine  Inability to make friends  Difficulty with reciprocal conversations  Pedantic speech  Socially naïve and literal thinkers  Poor coping strategies  Restricted range of interest

22 Difficulties - (cont.)  Tend to be reclusive  Difficulty being in large groups  Difficulties with abstract concepts  Problem-solving abilities tend to be poor  Vocabulary will sound great; but overall comprehension is poor  Low frustration tolerance  Emotional vulnerability

23 Students with autism will perform better when provided structured settings within their environment. On the bus, students can be provided: K Physical Structure K Visual Schedules

24  Provide structure by assigning seats so the student will know where he will sit.  Define student’s personal space on seat with tape or chalk lines.  Forewarn the student of changes – substitute bus driver, change in route, etc.  Provide visual cues. List bus rules.  Limit auditory input. Don’t attempt to reason with the student. Helpful Hints for the Bus:

25  Use short/concise directives  Tell student what “to do”-such as “sit down”  When giving students directions, allow “wait time” for processing  Use concrete language, objects…avoid abstract phrases  Be consistent with routine  Look at the physical setting of environment  Look at student placement within environment  Provide visual or gestural cues in place of verbalizations

26  Recognize that students maybe responding from their developmental age rather that their chronological age  Provide with social stories explaining appropriate behavior.  Provide choices when possible  Pair students with good role models and facilitate interaction when possible.  Be aware that these students are easy targets to be teased and bullied by other Helpful Hints for the Bus:

27  Do not force eye contact  For students who touch/kick items (such as back of seats) or use bus equipment improperly, (opening and closing windows), put a visual “stop” sign or universal no sign on them  Make sure these students know the expectations that we feel are common sense---such as being quiet on snowy and icy days, if the bus driver frowns at you, you need to be quiet Helpful Hints for the Bus:

28 Behavior Strategies  React before inappropriate behavior occurs  Scan the environment for red flags  Watch for signs of escalating stress—such as rocking, tense body language, escalating voice level— verify that you know they are getting upset—reassure them—and direct them to items that will calm them  Allow student to look at book, draw, listen to own music, hold fidgets etc. to keep the student calm

29 Behavior Strategies  Allow use of headphones to block out noise  Diffuse tense situations  Increase structure & predictability  Confidentiality is paramount. Do not tell others that an autistic student is on your bus unless you have permission from the parents.  The special education teacher of record is your resource for any specific information pertaining to that autistic student.

30 SOCIAL STORIES are a way to help with students with autism. They provide the student with rules explaining/defining social interactions and social settings.

31 Social stories are written for a specific student and a specific situation.. Situations that are difficult for the student.. Situations where the student “misreads” the situation or the interaction.. A Social Skill assessment shows an individual, specific need.




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