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Students on the Autism Spectrum are Succeeding in College Los Angeles Pierce College Faculty Convocation February 1, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Students on the Autism Spectrum are Succeeding in College Los Angeles Pierce College Faculty Convocation February 1, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Students on the Autism Spectrum are Succeeding in College Los Angeles Pierce College Faculty Convocation February 1, 2013

2 Emily Iland, MA – Educational Consultant – Faculty, CSUN Gabriela Sanchez – Program Director, NEXUS – Tierra del Sol Foundation Rebecca Lienhard – Director, Integration Services – Tierra del Sol Foundation

3 MISSION STATEMENT Pierce College is a student-centered learning institution that offers opportunities for access and success in a diverse college community. The college dedicates its resources to assist students in identifying and achieving their educational, career, and personal goals. Our comprehensive curriculum and support services enable students to earn associate degrees and certificates, prepare for transfer, gain career and technical proficiency, and develop basic skills. We serve our community by providing opportunities for lifelong learning, economic and workforce development, and a variety of enrichment activities.

4 What is Autism? “When you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” Stephen Shore Brief Overview Common Characteristics/Strengths Predictable Challenges Patterns help us see and understand – ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL!

5 Autism is a Spectrum Disorder Autism is a spectrum disorder that ranges from severe to less severe impairments and effects. People with autism have different levels of functioning. Even “mild” autism can have severe effects 1234 Severe Less Severe

6 R&R Behavior Social Communi- cation Plus Sensory Issues ©2012 Emily Iland, M.A. All rights reserved SBC Global

7 Communication Continuum 1.Silent, may make sounds, not words, no gestures, may understand 2.Speech that requires a prompt (object naming, echolalia, video talk) 3.Spontaneous speech, but missing pragmatic aspects (conversation & ToM); pedantic, literal 4.Very verbal, missing pragmatic aspects (conversation & ToM) 1 Severe 23 4 Less Severe

8 Behavior/intense interests 1.Parts of objects 2.Specific category of objects (collect them all); 3.Facts and information on their idiosyncratic interest (not about popularity) 4.Complex/abstract intense interests (Star Wars, periods of history) 1 Severe 23 4 Less Severe

9 The Social Continuum 1.Withdrawn/aloof (avoids/ not responsive) 2.Passive (needs prompts, acts out to get what he wants) 3.Active but odd (limited, scripted) 4.Wants friends, significantly immature (underdeveloped) probs w ToM, mini-adult style 1 Severe 23 4 Less Severe

10 1 in 88 children is now diagnosed with autism You will have more students with ASD

11 80% under 21 years old - 80% unemployed A wave of people with ASD are becoming adults

12 Tierra del Sol’s NEXUS Program BRIDGE TO SUCCESS

13 PROACTIVE AND POSITIVE STRATEGIES Managing time Developing a Plan B Taking the Perspective of Others (ToM) Alternative Coping Mechanisms Finding Safe Havens Understanding Social Nuances Developing Peer Support

14 Most Important Key Strategy

15 In the classroom Diagnosed/undiagnosed Aware/unaware

16 Capable, bright people with social-communication challenges May not understand unwritten expectations of a college classroom May make social mistakes, not be aware of them May have a concrete/literal view of course requirements (e.g. participation grade)

17 What helps Promote Success? Clear expectations and structure Relationships – Professors – The Nexus Bridge – Peers – DSS Appropriate (new) accommodations Natural supports & resources

18 How to help with specific situations 1.Interrupts, corrects, off-topic remarks, blurting things out 2.Does not understand content 3.Speaking and presenting 4. Written assignments 5.Working in groups 6.Multi-tasking 7.Sensory 8.Stress

19 1. Interrupts, corrects, makes off-topic remarks, blurts things out Why? Feels it is a personal conversation Is “making connections” Does not understand how the behavior is perceived by others Impulse control Wants to earn “participation” points Is right!

20 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Classroom Interruptions General rules and limits for everyone Post it notes – For connections – For corrections

21 . I really want to say something right now, but since it is not the right time, I will write on a post-it note instead

22 2. Does not understand content Wrong answers Asks too many questions Test/Quiz results Why? HOTS: Higher order thinking skills (abstraction vs. facts) Complexity Auditory processing Vocabulary gap Luna, Doll, Hegedu, Minshew & Sweeney, 2006; Minshew & Goldstein, 2002).

23 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Understanding Content After class can ask X questions, get answers to the rest from a peer Buy used textbooks already highlighted Electronic dictionary Office hours Tutoring

24 3. Speaking and presenting “Timid” and shy Dominates Why? Social communication disorder Support they have received (or not)

25 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Speaking & presenting Rational approach = Be fair, let everyone get their points Present to you in private, say less in class Alternate format assignment to group project

26 4. Written assignments Lack of maturity in writing Difficulty integrating, synthesizing Why? Vocabulary gap, Executive function, organization HOTS = Higher order thinking skills vs. facts

27 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Written assignments Preview/support writing assignments in office hours Allow drafts/provide input

28 5. Working in groups Dominates Does not pull weight Conflicts with peers Too much truth Why? Limited experience and skills Social/communication demand Lack of social understanding/perspective

29 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Working in groups Ask for a volunteer mentor (on the side) Clarify roles Be clear about instructions, requirements Have participants rate their own contribution

30 6. Multitasking = look, listen and write Why? Autism is a disorder of information processing (Minshew, Meyer & Goldstein, 2002) Multiple demands Processing Speed Memory Attention

31 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Multitasking Note taker Provide powerpoints Provide professor notes Allow audio recording of lecture Moodle-type system where all course materials, clarification, changes etc. are available

32 7. Sensory = reaction to the environment May be uncomfortable – Noise – Smells – Light – Proximity Why? Unusual sensory processing Over-sensitive = overloaded Under-sensitive = under-stimulated

33 Proactive and Positive Suggestions for Sensory Accommodations Allow individual accommodations – Hat – Tinted glasses – Space – Movement Classroom-wide accommodations? – Scent free zone

34 8. Stress & anxiety Pass course, amount of work May feel anxious and overloaded, withdrawn Why? The cumulative effect of multiple, simultaneous social, communication & processing demands

35 Stress is the enemy of success! Stress Learning

36 Stress reactions = Anxiety, overload Shutdown Meltdown Outbursts Fight or Flight Distress

37 Proactive and Positive Suggestions to Reduce Stress & Anxiety Clear expectations and structure Relationships – Professors – The Nexus Bridge – Natural supports Appropriate (new) accommodations

38 Final Recommendations Ongoing Office hours = plan on it Collaborate with Nexus and DSS for disclosure & more Work out arrangements & accommodations for class – Offer options – Testing (extra time, quiet place) – Technology solutions

39 CLEAR AND EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK Universal Teaching Mechanisms Bi-Semester Student Progress Reports Navigating Campus Resources Exit Strategies for Coaching Supports Feedback not Criticism

40 Most Important Key Technique


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