Moving from Autism to Multiple Disabilities Same Ages

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by AspieTeacher, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Jun 21, 2008

    Hello everyone,

    I have finally decided to give autism a break. I was getting way too many students and it became too overwhelming for me and I wasn't able to do any teaching due to the lack of support from my staff as well. I'm moving to a classroom with 1/2 the amount of my previous students. I have 5-6 students with multiple disabilities and i'm clueless on how to structure my day with them. I used to work with this population when I first started, but I burned out due to a lack of knowledge. The good thing about this move is the new classroom has an extra full-sized classroom which is totally empty and I could structure it into a sensory diet room if I want. I need ideas (please be as concrete as possible) on how to structure my day. I am working with middle school aged students 11-14 and this summer only 5 students to work with. I have TONS of hands-on activities of materials from Lakeshore. I haven't visited the class to see what they have in the classroom though. I'll keep you posted on what I've found. I plan on clearing up the classroom by getting rid of materials which are unusuable. I'm fortunate that I was given the opportunity to work with these students. I really needed a serious break from my former autism classroom. I actually ended up with 10 students and only 2 support staff. They weren't helping me with a behavior plan, so I decided to move on. :( Oh well, enough about the past it's time to move forward now. :up::D

    Aspieteacher :confused:
     
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  3. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

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    Jun 21, 2008

    What are the range of disabilities or do you know yet? I had to put in a nap area because some seizure meds make the kids sleepy. Check out the thread on severe/profound schedules. It might help give you an idea.
     
  4. JustJim

    JustJim Companion

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    Jun 25, 2008

    AspieTeacher, I'm sorry to hear of your move; your posts were a big factor in helping me decide how I want to approach discussion of issues involving being a teacher w/ASD. Except for being in California, I thought you had a near-perfect job.

    I can't directly help much with your question, but I do hope you will continue posting in the future.
     
  5. Teach96

    Teach96 Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2008

    Hi Aspie Teacher,

    I'm glad to hear of another Multiple Disability Middle School teacher out there. I've been in MD for 5 years and Middle School for the past 2. I don't think I could leave this. I LOVE it.

    We are on a 6 period day.
    1st - Life Skills
    2nd - Language Arts
    3rd - APE
    4th - Math
    Lunch
    5th - Science/Video/Job
    6th - Group Work

    Life Skills includes a name paper/application, practice dialing phone numbers, spelling worksheet, Handwriting page, trace day of the week, trace month of the year, and if they get all of that done in 60 minutes then they can pick a "fun" page from a box of extra worksheets I have.

    LA includes workbooks in their desk (comprehension, vocabulary, sentences writing, sight words, etc) they practice typing their address/personal info, 1:1 reading practice with an aide, computer practice (type to learn, vocabulary builder, reading programs)

    APE is my prep time (thank goodness for that)

    Math they work in a note that has sections in it that are based on their IEP goals (calculation, multiplication, word problems, etc) they also have a telling time folder, they earn money during group lesson so during math they count how much they have earned toward their prize, I have also made a lot of "basket games" that are quick activities for them to learn about life skills (reading a bus schedule, making a pattern, counting money, figuring out a tip, etc).

    Science video is after lunch as I have to give my assistances a lunch break. We watch a Bill Nye, Magic school bus, or other science/life skills video, they brush their teeth during the video and then we end the period with our daily job (feed the class pet, turn off computers, vacuum, sweep)

    Group lesson is like "calendar" time. I changed it this year and am loving it. First we go on history.com and look at this day in history for an interesting article, then we count how many days we've been in school to 100 and then backwards to the end of the year, we learn the 30 days hath September poem and the 50 nifty United states song, then we go to weatherchannel.com to look at the local weather and the map of the us for trends, then I have a question of the day that each student answers and their classmates ask follow up questions, finally I introduce a community sign each week and during the week we review the ones we've learned, if we have time then I use a social skill lesson worksheet to teach them middle skill social etiquette.

    It's a full day but it's great. I rely on my assistants a lot to make the day flow. It is important for the students to know the routine but it's also very important for the assistants to know the routine also.
     
  6. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2010

    Hello fellow comrades,

    It's me again. I'm still working with the multiple disabilities classroom right now. I'll give you a review of my students. I have 3 children in wheelchairs and they have difficulty with using their hands. One of them has spastic CP (Cerebral Palsy) so bad that it's difficult for him to even press a switch. One of my students is seizure prone to almost anything, even giggling sends her into a seizure. The last student in the wheelchair is semi-ambulatory but he's so weak now because of his condition. He misses school quite frequently. Two of my last students are ambulatory. One of them is severely developmentally delayed and must wear a diaper. She is very resistant when she has to do "work" unless it's a "toy" or "book" she likes to stim off of. She wears a diaper and doesn't have the cognitive ability to let staff know she is wet or soiled. She drops to the floor when she wants to avoid tasks too. My last student is a student with Down's Syndrome and he's very low functioning. When "work" is placed in front of him to perform he pushes it away completely. He fights with staff constantly when he doesn't want to perform tasks. He is very tactile defensive and hits staff randomly. He walks rather slow and expects staff to carry his back pack or take his hand when walking to the restroom, cafeteria. I didn't mention that my students are all in 6th-8th grade. I am fortunate to have 2 very large classrooms to use for their changing and educational needs though. I'm just still lost on how to teach and work with them all day long. Two of my students are tube fed, so any kind of cooking skills would be out of the question. If you can suggest ideas, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Troy in Los Angeles, Ca
    Aspieteacher
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2010

    What difficulty do the three who are wheelchair bound have with their hands? Tremors? Difficulty opening/closing hands? Difficulty with extension of fingers?

    What doesn't set off the seizure-prone student?
     
  8. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Oct 3, 2010

    This response is all mixed up. I just started typing and throwing out a few things that I have learned along the way teaching htis population. Like you, I'm always looking for new stuff. I am a long way from knowing all the best practices in teaching this population but here are a few things that I have found that work for the gropu that I have :).

    My classroom used to "multiple complex disabilities" but has slowly moved to a 50/50 split between "multiple complex disabilities" and "autism". The students that I have with autism are generally non-verbal or have limited verbal skills and would be labeled as "extremely low functioning". I have five students similar to the ones that you describe and five students who are on the spectrum. My ten students range in age from grade 1 through 12. As we have increased the number of students on the spectrum in the room, I'm finding that a lot things that "work for autism" also work for my students with multiple complex needs with a bit of tweaking.

    Visual materials are great for all of the students. For those with multiple complex needs, it exposes them to picture representations of activities and items. Those same picture representations can be used in building partner assisted communication systems including eye-gaze activities and partner assisted step scanning. We spend classroom time developing these types of skills - starting with identifying known items and objects using the system but then expanding out to being able to answer questions related to self and curriculum material as well as state preferences.

    We use discrete trial training techniques (modified) with our studnets with multiple complex needs too - doing task analysis and breaking down objectives and then learning little steps at a time. We do things like ask the student to look at a picture of X only displaying that one picture to begin with, then look a picture of X displaying 2 pictures (or holding up a matching picture that we want student to look at) and put a strong effort in to building this system. Once you have this system built you can do things like have the student answer questions related to curriculum materials or description words or sight reading...etc. The possibilities are endless once you have a solid way for the student to communicate what they know.

    We also do a lot of switch work with our students who have difficulty accessing the world in other ways. With the students I have none of them have consistent enough hand control to use hand switches so we have had to find other places that they can be more consistent with. A majority of them use head mounted switches but I do have students who use elbow mounted (move elbow back a bit to hit the switch) and foot mounted (move food slightly to hit a switch). We use switches for everything. Even if the student can't eat, our kids love being able to make things for other people to eat (particulraly other staff as they get a great response). Making cupcakes and icing with a switch adapted mixer is always a hit... and then we deliver them to staff using a step by step message switch so that they again have to use their switch in a functional way.

    With my students with multiple complex needs we try really hard to always access curriculum through more than one sense (the more the better with them). If we are reading a newspaper article about an oil spill, we will have both water and oil available and we will compare them - their color, the way they pour, what happens when you mix them...etc. This covers both science and social concepts. We use news-2-you but you can also just find pictures related to a current news story, make a quick power point, have students look at the pictures (by advancing the power point with a switch), do some sort of hands on sensory exploration, discuss concepts a bit and then ask some basic questions using eye gaze to pictures. Its a bit of work to set up but works well for current events.

    This sensory approach can be used with a lot of the work you do with the students. I always think in terms of how many different senses can I bring in to a lesson with these students. Of course, this is difficult at times when the other half of your class is on the spectrum and you need to ensure that they are maintaining a "just right state" and not getting sensory overloaded ;). Its an interesting mix!

    We also do experience books related to activities and community outings. One simple example would be to do an experience book about a "fall walk". We take pictures and collect items that indicate its fall and then make a book out of it (either classroom or individual). The more hands on stuff that can be put in the book the better as it allows the student to feel and touch fall as well as see it. This can be done for a lot of different concepts that you are working on.
     
  9. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Oct 8, 2010

    Good luck with your new class. I hope you like the switch.
     

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