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Southern Maine Autism Conference 2015

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1 Southern Maine Autism Conference 2015
Students with Autism: Strategies for Success in the School and Classroom Presented by Heidi Eastman Bowden MAINE AUTISM ALLIANCE Powerpoint Templates

2 What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism is a brain disorder that often makes it hard to communicate with and relate to others. With autism, the different areas of the brain fail to work together.

3 DSM V PDD-NOS, Asperger’s Syndrome removed from DSM V One umbrella term “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Language Delays Not Part of Diagnosis NEW: Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3. The new DSM will have only two core areas: communication and social deficits and fixed or repetitive behaviors

4 What causes autism? Autism is caused by a combination of Genetic Risk Factors that interact with Environmental Risk Factors.

5 The Numbers CDC March 27, 2014 1 in 68 American children has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum 1 in 42 Boys 1 in 189 Girls Prevalence: Almost 5 times more likely in boys % of people Seizure Disorders Most children diagnosed after age 4.

6 Areas Affected Communication Social Skills
Restricted/Repetitive Behaviors

7 Communication Verbal, Non-Verbal, Vocal
Development of language is significantly delayed Experience difficulty with both expressive and receptive language Difficulty initiating or sustaining conversations Robotic, formal speech Repetitive use of language Echoic

8 Social Skills Difficulty developing peer relationships
Difficulty with give and take of social interactions Lack of spontaneous sharing of enjoyment Impairments in use and understanding of body language to regulate social interaction

9 Restricted/Repetitive Behaviors
Inflexibility related to routines and rituals Stereotyped movements Preoccupations with parts of objects

10 Strengths Ability to understand concrete concepts, rules and sequences Strong long term memory skills Math skills Computer skills Musical ability Artistic ability

11 Strengths Excellent sense of direction
Ability to decode written language at an early age (This ability is called Hyperlexia. Some children with autism can decode written language earlier than they can comprehend written language.) Ability to think in a visual way Honesty – sometimes to a fault Ability to be extremely focused – if they are working on a preferred activity Excellent sense of direction

12 (Could include or varying degrees)
Characteristics (Could include or varying degrees) Difficulty with transitions, need for sameness Difficulty accepting “NO” Possible aggressive, disruptive, or self-injurious behavior; unaware of possible dangers Challenges interpreting nonverbal language Difficulty with pretend play Rigid adherence to rules

13 Characteristics Poor eye gaze or avoidance of eye contact
Few facial expressions and trouble understanding the facial expressions of others Poor judge of personal space – may stand too close to other students Trouble controlling emotions and anxieties Difficulty understanding another person’s perspective or how their behavior affects others Literal thinkers

14 Characteristics Very literal understanding of speech; difficulty in picking up on nuances Echolalia – may repeat last words heard without regard for meaning Unusually intense or restricted interests in things (maps, dates, coins, numbers/statistics, train schedules) Unusual repetitive behavior, verbal as well as nonverbal (hand flapping, rocking) Unusual sensitivity to sensations – may be more or less than typical peers

15 Study The study, published in January 2014 in the Journal of Neuroscience “Multisensory Temporal Integration in Autism Spectrum Disorders” Sight, sound out of sync in children with autism Stephen Camarate co-authored the study. He explained, “The auditory and visual signals do not match in their brains.”

16 “Stimming” (Self-Stimulation)
Many individuals on the autism spectrum exhibit some form of repetitive motor behavior Speak a word or phrase over and over again (echolalia) Utters the same sound repeatedly Flapping hands Flick fingers Bang their heads Grind their teeth Endlessly perform other seemingly random physical acts

17 Sensory Sight - visual stimulation - Bright lights, flashing lights etc Sound - loud noises, screams, bells ringing, thunder etc Touch - The feel of certain fabrics, clothes label, hot and cold etc Taste - certain foods Smell - Some smells can trigger anxiety, smoke etc TIP: Fidget toys, elastic band on chair

18 Hypersensitive vs. Hyposensitive
Some individuals with an ASD can be hypersensitive, that is over-sensitive, to stimuli Hand over hears, crawl under table, flinch from a touch (unexpected or not) (Fluorescent Lights)

19 Hypersensitive vs. Hyposensitive
Other individuals appear to be HYPOSENSITIVE, that is under-sensitive, to sensory information coming at them from the environment. For instance, a child may not be able to feel the cold, or when to go to the bathroom or pain.

20 What about Eye Contact? Eye contact is physically painful for many people with autism. Others can either make eye contact or talk, but not both at the same time. Eye contact should not be forced or physically manipulated .

21 Theory of Mind Theory of mind refers to the belief that many people with autism do not understand that other people have their own plans, thoughts, and points of view Furthermore, it appears that they have difficulty understanding other people's beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.

22 Physical & medical issues
Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy) Genetic Disorders Fragile X Syndrome, Angelman’s Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis Allergies, Gastrointestinal Disorders, and Pain Sleep Dysfunction Pica Motor Challenges Emotional Issues, including Anxiety & Stress Recognize that many behaviors of autism may also be signs of stress or anxiety (pacing, distractibility, acting out, nail biting, repetitive actions, etc.)

23 12 tips for classroom 1. Keep it structured: Routine and structure provide great comfort to a child on the autism spectrum.  2. Use visuals: A picture speaks a thousand words 3. Schedules: People with autism like order and detail.  They feel in control and secure when they know what to expect.  4. Reduce distractions: Many people with autism find it difficult to filter out background noise and visual information. 

24 12 tips for classroom 5. Use concrete language: Always keep your language simple and concrete.   Get your point across in as few words as possible.  Avoid using idioms.  “Put your thinking caps on”, “Open your ears” 6. It’s not personal: Children with autism are not rude.  They simply don’t understand social rules or how they’re supposed to behave.   Transitions: “In 5 minutes..3..” Time Timer Establish independence: Make time to show them the ropes (again, and again, across all settings.)

25 12 tips for classroom 9. Rewards before consequences: Rewards and positive reinforcement are a wonderful way to increase desired behavior.  10. Teach with lists: Teaching with lists can be used in two ways.  One is by setting expectations and the other is by “ordering” information. 11. Creative teaching: People on the spectrum think out of the box and if you do too, you will get great results. Make up your own story about dinosaurs, baseball statistics or any other topic your students enjoy.  Act things out as often as you can.

26 12 tips for classroom #11--Example Creative Teaching:
Teacher: Plants need sun.  What do they need? Class: Sun Teacher: That’s right.  They also need air and water.  What do plants need? Class: Air and water. Teacher:  That’s right and what else? Class:  Sun Teacher:  Correct.  Plants have stems and leaves.  What do they have? Class:  Stems and leaves. Teacher:  And what do they need? Class: Air and water Teacher:  And what else? Teacher:  That’s right…

27 12 tips for classroom 12. Don’t sweat the small stuff: By correcting every action a person does, you’re sending a message that they’re not good enough the way they are.  When making a decision about what to correct, always ask yourself first, “Will correcting this action help this person lead a productive and happy life?”

28 For your consideration…
IQ does not necessarily = level of ability, function, understanding If you are discussing your student, always assume they can understand every word spoken. Should they hear this conversation? Person first! Child with autism

29 Embracing the journey "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher." - Temple Grandin “If they can't learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn” – O. Ivar Lovaas "From my clinical experience, I consider that children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome have a different, not defective, way of thinking." Tony Attwood

30 Web Sites

31 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
1. Behavior is communication. All behavior occurs for a reason. It tells you, even when my words can‘t, how I perceive what is happening around me. Negative behavior interferes with my learning process. But merely interrupting these behaviors is not enough. Teach me to exchange these behaviors with proper alternatives so that real learning can flow. Start by believing this: I truly do want to learn to interact appropriately. No child wants the spirit-crushing feedback we get from ―bad behavior. Negative behavior usually means I am overwhelmed by disordered sensory systems, cannot communicate my wants or needs, or don‘t understand what is expected of me. Look beyond the behavior to find the source of my resistance. Keep notes as to what happened immediately before the behavior: people involved, time of day, activities, settings. Over time, a pattern may emerge.

32 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
2. Never assume anything. Without factual backup, an assumption is only a guess. I may not know or understand the rules. I may have heard the instructions but not understood them. Maybe I knew it yesterday but can‘t retrieve it today. Ask yourself:  Are you sure I know how to do what is being asked of me? If I suddenly need to run to the bathroom every time I‘m asked to do a math sheet, maybe I don‘t know how or fear my effort will not be good enough. Stick with me through enough repetitions of the task to where I feel competent. I may need more practice to master tasks than other kids.  Are you sure I know the rules? Do I understand the reason for the rule (safety, economy, health)? Am I breaking the rule because there is an underlying cause? Maybe I pinched a snack out of my lunch bag early because I was worried about finishing my science project, didn‘t eat breakfast and am now famished.

33 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
3. Look for sensory issues first. A lot of my resistant behaviors come from sensory discomfort. One example is fluorescent lighting, which has been shown over and over again to be a major problem for children like me. The hum it produces is very disturbing to my hypersensitive hearing, and the pulsing nature of the light can distort my visual perception, making objects in the room appear to be in constant movement. An incandescent lamp on my desk will reduce the flickering, as will natural light tubes. Or maybe I need to sit closer to you; I don‘t understand what you are saying because there are too many noises in between – that lawnmower outside the window, Jasmine whispering to Tanya, chairs scraping, pencil sharpener grinding. Ask the school occupational therapist for sensory-friendly ideas for the classroom. It‘s good for all kids, not just me.

34 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
4. Provide me a break for self-regulation before I need it. A quiet, carpeted corner of the room with some pillows, books and headphones allows me a place to re-group when I feel overwhelmed, but isn‘t so far physically removed that I won‘t be able to rejoin the activity flow of the classroom smoothly.

35 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
5. Tell me what you want me to do in the positive rather than the imperative. ―You left a mess by the sink!‖ is a statement of fact to me. I‘m not able to infer that what you mean is ―Rinse out your paint cup and put the paper towels in the trash.‖ Don‘t make me guess or have to figure out what I should do.

36 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
6. Keep your expectations reasonable. That all-school assembly with hundreds of kids packed into bleachers and some guy droning on about the candy sale is uncomfortable and meaningless to me. Maybe I‘d be better off helping the school secretary put together the newsletter.

37 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
7. Help me transition between activities. It takes me longer to motor plan moving from one activity to the next. Give me a five-minute warning and a two-minute warning before an activity changes, and build a few extra minutes in on your end to compensate. A simple clock face or timer on my desk gives me a visual cue as to the time of the next transition and helps me handle it more independently.

38 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
8. Don’t make a bad situation worse. Even though you are an adult, you can sometimes make bad decisions in the heat of the moment. I truly don‘t mean to melt down, show anger or otherwise disrupt your classroom. You can help me get over it more quickly by not responding with behavior of your own that makes things worse for me. Beware of these responses that prolong rather than resolve a meltdown;  Raising pitch or volume of your voice. I hear the yelling and shrieking, but not the words.  Mocking or mimicking me. Sarcasm, insults or name-calling will not embarrass me out of the behavior.  Making unsubstantiated accusations  Invoking a double standard  Comparing me to a sibling or other student  Bringing up previous or unrelated events  Lumping me into a general category (―kids like you are all the same‖)

39 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
9. Criticize gently. Be honest – how good are you at accepting ―constructive‖ criticism? The maturity and self-confidence to be able to do that may be far beyond my abilities right now.  Please! Never, ever try to impose discipline or correction when I am angry, distraught, overstimulated, shut down, anxious or otherwise emotionally unable to interact with you.  Again, remember that I will react as much, if not more, to the qualities of your voice than to the actual words. I will hear the shouting and the annoyance, but I will not understand the words and therefore will not be able to figure out what I did wrong. Speak in low tones and lower your body as well, so that you are communicating on my level rather than towering over me.  Help me understand the inappropriate behavior in a supportive, problem-solving way rather than punishing or scolding me. Help me pin down the feelings that triggered the behavior. I may say I was angry but maybe I was afraid, frustrated, sad or jealous. Probe beyond my first response.  Practice or role-play – show me—a better way to handle the situation next time. A storyboard, photo essay or social story helps. Expect to role-play lots over time. There are no one-time fixes. And when I do get it right ―next time,‖ tell me right away.  It helps me if you yourself are modeling proper behavior for responding to criticism.

40 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
10. Offer real choices – and only real choices. Don‘t offer me a choice or ask a ―Do you want…?‖ question unless are willing to accept no for an answer. ―No‖ may be my honest answer to ―Do you want to read out loud now?‖ or ―Would you like to share paints with William?‖ It‘s hard for me to trust you when choices are not choices at all. You take for granted the amazing number of choices you have on a daily basis. You constantly choose one option over others knowing that both having choices and being able to choose provides you control over your life and future. For me, choices are much more limited, which is why it can be harder to feel confident about myself. Providing me with frequent choices helps me become more actively engaged in everyday life.  Whenever possible, offer a choice within a ‗have-to‘. Rather than saying: ―Write your name and the date on the top of the page,‖ say: ―Would you like to write your name first, or would you like to write the date first?‖ or ―Which would you like to write first, letters or numbers?‖ Follow by showing me: ―See how Jason is writing his name on his paper?‖  Giving me choices helps me learn appropriate behavior, but I also need to understand that there will be times when you can‘t. When this happens, I won‘t get as frustrated if I understand why: o ―I can‘t give you a choice in this situation because it is dangerous. You might get hurt. o ―I can‘t give you that choice because it would be bad for Danny o ―I give you lots of choices but this time it needs to be an adult choice.

41 Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm
The last word: believe. That car guy Henry Ford said, ―Whether you think you can or whether you think you can‘t, you are usually right.‖ Believe that you can make a difference for me. Autism is an open-ended learning difference with no built-in upper limits on what I can achieve. I can sense far more than I can communicate, and the number one thing I can sense is whether you think I ―can do it.‖ Encourage me to be everything I can be, so that I can continue to grow and succeed long after I‘ve left your classroom.

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