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By Paula Jacobsen Chapter 12

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1 By Paula Jacobsen Chapter 12
The Education Team: Positive, Effective Interdisciplinary Collaboration By Paula Jacobsen Chapter 12

2 The Challenge of Programming for Students with ASDs
Students with ASDs have different ways of communicating, processing information, and understanding language than neurotypical students Therefore, recognizing their challenges and strengths and determining appropriate expectations is not always easy

3 Successful Programming for Students with ASDs
The likelihood of developing appropriate expectations increases when interdisciplinary team members work together to understand the student Each person brings to the table his or her expertise and his or her set of experiences with the student

4 The Interdisciplinary Education Team
Parents Student Special education teacher General education teacher School psychologist School administrator Speech-language therapist Occupational therapist Behavior specialist Outside professionals

5 Engaging the Student in the Collaboration Process
The student is more likely to be engaged in the collaboration process if other team members maintain positive, accepting, respectful, problem-solving relationships with him The student is less likely to engage if he believes that the adults are primarily interested in gain his compliance

6 Formal Opportunities for Collaboration
Student Study Team (SST) Convened when parents or teachers have concerns about a student who has not yet been evaluated or identified as having special education needs

7 Formal Opportunities for Collaboration
504 Plan Team A 504 plan is for students who can function adequately in general education with accommodations Team is responsible for planning and monitoring progress

8 Formal Opportunities for Collaboration
Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team For students who have been identified as eligible for services (special education placements, OT, etc.) Team is responsible for developing and monitoring goals, plus accommodations and/or modifications

9 Informal Collaboration
With or without a formal team, informal collaboration between teacher, parents, and any others who work with the student can facilitate understanding and enhance communication

10 Areas for Collaboration
Language and Communication For lower-functioning students with ASDs, their efforts at communication can sometimes be difficult to understand, even by those who know them well For higher-functioning students, pragmatic challenges that affect learning, communication, and relationships are not always obvious Team members should work together to ensure that unreasonable expectations are not being set

11 Areas for Collaboration
Social-Emotional Issues When students with ASDs are taught new social skills, they often have difficulty generalizing these lessons from one setting to another Team members can support the student’s needs, self-awareness, and generalization of skills

12 Areas for Collaboration
Behavior Some students with ASDs have little awareness of their emotional and behavioral escalation Team can: Help each other (and, ultimately, the student) to recognize warning signs Work with the student throughout day, using clear expectations and pre-arranged cues

13 Areas for Collaboration
Academics and Learning Collaboration can help everyone understand and accept what a student knows and how he learns Sharing “what works” helps teachers to use the most effective interventions, modifications, and accommodations Each teacher doesn’t have to start from scratch

14 Areas for Collaboration
Academics and Learning (cont) The most effective way to prepare for the future is to keep the student from being too overwhelmed to function in the present The best way to help the student function in the present is to ask or require of her only what she can do Collaboration helps all team members understand what the student can and can’t do

15 Preparation and Planning for Effective Team Meetings
Sharing data in advance allows all team members to prepare for a meaningful, problem-solving process Assessment results Observations Possible goals and benchmarks Preparing the student for the meeting allows him to consider what issues he’d like to see addressed

16 Formal Assessments Results of formal assessments should:
Be an accurate reflection of the student Be consistent with and help explain what team members’ experience with the student If they’re not, every effort should be made to understand the inconsistency The team members’ diverse expertise can help find the answer

17 Why Formal Assessments May Be Inaccurate
Does the student generally do better or worse on a test than in the classroom? Does the student have difficulty answering if he’s not sure of the answer? Does the test address more concrete questions, whereas class assignments delve into more abstract issues?

18 Why Formal Assessments May Be Inaccurate
Can the student answer questions about rules of pragmatics, but not apply them in real-life situations? Is the student dependent on a particular cue that wasn’t available during testing?

19 Formal and Informal Observations
All team members should discuss their observations at team meetings When a formal, written observation report is written, it should differentiate between: Descriptions (concrete observations) Impressions (attempts to interpret what the behaviors mean about and to the student)

20 Formal and Informal Observations
Suggestions, recommendations, and questions for the team to address should logically follow from the descriptions and impressions If observations are not consistent across team members, possible reasons for the inconsistencies must be explored, just as with assessments

21 Quality Observations Should include examples of when the student is doing well and what the teacher may be doing to support that success Noting when unusual behaviors (e.g., rocking) occur in conjunction with desired behaviors may help the team recognize them as problem-solving, rather than problematic behaviors

22 Goals and Benchmarks The most meaningful and useful goals and benchmarks are based on an understanding of what what the student does and does not understand Not just what he can or cannot do Benchmarks are most achievable when they address the very smallest steps that come next

23 Teams Can Work Together to Improve Goals
One team member suggested: “Brandon will increase awareness of and use of abstract language and thought” Together, the team improved that goal to read: “Brandon will differentiate questions of fact and opinion.”

24 Teams Can Work Together to Write Better Benchmarks
Rather than this broad, ambitious benchmark: “During discussion of a story, Brandon will answer questions such as ‘What do you think about …?’ and ‘What might happen next?’ with one prompt 50% of the time.” The team collaborated to come up with smaller, more focused benchmark: “Brandon will identify questions of opinion, possibility, or personal preference as questions that do not have a right or wrong answer, one out of four attempts.”

25 Long-Term Goals Rather than simply recording parents’ long-term goals for their child, the team should discuss them in the context of the student’s current functioning, including Maladaptive functioning Missing skills Then, small steps toward improved skills and functioning can become the short-term goals and benchmarks

26 Factors That Contribute to Positive, Effective Collaboration
Team members are open to hearing, reflecting on, and trying to understand each participant’s observations and concerns.

27 Factors That Contribute to Positive, Effective Collaboration
2. Team members make an effort to understand the student (his strengths and challenges and how they impact his learning), as well as his responses to academic, social, and behavioral expectations at school.

28 Factors That Contribute to Positive, Effective Collaboration
3. Team members work to understand and show respect for the student’s perspective, whether or not it conforms to that of the team members or the student’s classmates, and work to help the student learn about the perspectives of others.

29 Factors That Contribute to Positive, Effective Collaboration
4. Team members are interested in and willing to provide support and develop expectations that the student can meet (a manageable environment).

30 Conclusions The best plan for a student with ASDs allows him to
be who he is, experience an educational environment he can manage, and (step by small step) learn to live and function adequately in the world as it is

31 Conclusions The likelihood of success increases when team members work together to understand the student.

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