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Understanding Students with Autism

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1 Understanding Students with Autism
Chapter 11 Understanding Students with Autism Each Power Point presentation can be viewed as transparencies or computer presentations. There are discussion questions and links to websites imbedded in each Power Point presentation to assist instructors and students. Please refer to the Instructors Manual for the complete list of ancillaries that support each chapter. The DVD and Companion Website all have video clips and other materials for an enriching multimedia instructional experience.

2 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)
Defining Autism IDEA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) Autism is a developmental disability that affects children prior to the age of three in three areas: –Verbal & nonverbal communication –Social interaction –Academic performance Autistic disorder Rett’s disorder Childhood disintegrative disorder Asperger’s disorder Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) *DSM will be revised with a new definition of ASD in 2013

3 Prevalence of Autism In 2008, 292,818 students
Embody 5% of students served under IDEA Fewer students with Asperger’s Syndrome Males outnumber females four to one Increased prevalence in last decade Different theories for the increase in prevalence: Greater public awareness More refined diagnostic procedures Discuss the prevalence of the disability and the dramatic growth it has undergone over the past decade. For discussion purposes you may want to access the 60 Minutes program title “To Vaccinate or Not” ( This offers a 60 Minutes expose on the issues surrounding vaccination and its possible tie to autism.

4 Characteristics of Autism
Language Development Ranging from no verbal communication to complex communication Delayed Language Echolalia Social Development Delays in social interaction and social skills Impaired use of nonverbal behavior Lack of peer relationships Failure to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests, and achievements Lack of reciprocity Theory of Mind

5 Characteristics of Autism
Repetitive behavior Fixations, tics, and perseverations Problem behavior Self-injurious behavior Studies indicate the less communication needs are met, the more self-injurious behavior Aggression Need for environmental predictability Sensory and movement disorders Intellectual functioning Approx. 75% have intellectual disabilities Savant syndrome

6 Determining the Causes
Incorrect historical perspectives on causes “Refrigerator mothers” Biomedical causes Abnormalities in brain development Brain growth rates in early development Neurochemistry Genetic factors Twin studies

7 Evaluating Students with ASD
Usually in early childhood Often uses some of the same tests given to students with intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities Criteria may include: Speech and language Academic achievement Cognitive functioning Medical physical status Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)

8 Determining Supplementary Aids and Services
Address the domains of access, classroom ecology, and task modifications Access involves modifications to the community, campus, building, or classroom to ensure physical and cognitive access Also provide “behavioral access” The lunchroom is a frequent environment in which problem behaviors occur; consider modifications to seating Include accommodations for before and after school and in the hall between classes

9 Planning for Learning Some characteristics associated with autism spectrum disorders are potential areas of learning strengths and provide a basis for curriculum adaptation Ability to focus attention on detailed information May excel in areas of the curriculum that are not as language-based, such as math or science Mnemonic strategies Keyword Pegword Letter

10 Planning for Other Educational Needs
Provide students instructional supports that enable them to develop appropriate social skills Promoting friendships Include students in all areas Use peer buddy programs Use person-centered planning models that involve peers Ensure peers learn about the goals of inclusion

11 Planning for Other Educational Needs
Students’ IEPs should address the following instructional areas: Trustworthiness and loyalty Conflict resolution General friendship skills Positive interaction style Taking the perspective of others (theory of mind)

12 Effective Instructional Strategies: Early Childhood Students
Early intervention and preschool programs use different approaches, including the following: Applied behavior analytic (ABA) techniques, such as discrete trial training Incidental teaching in natural environments Communication, sensory processing, motor planning, and shared affect with caregivers and peers Social stories address the “hidden curriculum”

13 Effective Instructional Strategies: Elementary and Middle School Students
Schoolwide positive behavior supports A systems-level and evidence-based method for improving valued social and learning outcomes for all students Proactive, problem-solving, and data-based approach to improving appropriate behavior and achieving important academic, social, and communication outcomes Also seeks to rearrange school environments and change school systems to prevent students from engaging in problem behaviors Includes three components: universal support, group support, and individual support

14 Effective Instructional Strategies: Secondary and Transition Students
The techniques underlying positive behavior support emerged from a set of strategies referred to as applied behavior analysis (ABA) ABA uses the principles of operant psychology Discrete trial training is based on the “three term contingency” outlined by applied behavior analysis: Presentation of the discriminative stimulus (cue) Presentation of the prompting stimulus (if needed) The response The reinforcing stimulus

15 Measuring Students’ Progress
Autism Screening Instrument for Educational Planning (ASIEP-2) Five components: Communication, social interactions, behavior, academic content, other Teacher also need to measure outcomes related to school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports Direct counts of problem behavior Problem behavior reported by environment or time of day Indirect indicators of success Data collection tools School Wide Information System School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET) School-wide Benchmarks of Quality (BoQ)

16 Making Accommodations for Assessment
Students with autism may perform better on standardized assessments when provided more frequent positive reinforcement They may also perform better when assessments are administered by a familiar person Presence of the examiner minimizes the students’ anxiety and stress associated with testing

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