Discussion in 'Preschool' started by MSYPLA, May 29, 2016.
May 29, 2016
How many work with children with Autism?
I've had a couple children with autism in my class, but never a full class of just special needs
What kind of strategies have you used to help children with Autism integrate with the other students? During play time?
It was never a problem. The other kids didn't notice anything was different about them other then they didn't immediately obey me (lol. My kids were so good last year).
They were pretty high functioning. They were bussed to the local public school for special ed classes about half the day and brought back to me for the rest of the day (private school). Only the kids with severe needs were qualified for the district's full time program at the Pre-K level.
I teach spec. ed. preschool. I have 1 class of all students with autism and 1 class that is blended with other disabilities. Most of my students are moderate-severe, although I have a few mild-moderate that have some verbal skills. What types of interactions are you trying to promote in your classroom? We work a lot on parallel play, cooperative play, turn taking, initiating play, etc.. The strategies used greatly vary by the needs of my students and their level of functioning.
May 31, 2016
As this is not a big issue to deal with, kids suffering from autism are like other kids only, but some times it becomes difficult for them to communicate and establish a relationship with others. For proper growth and development of kids parents need to take a lot of efforts. The best possible solution is to admit their kids in preschools such as Best Huntington Preschool or any such types of schools where kids are able to learn in a playful manner which helps to increase their thinking abilities and to develop them with other kids in a secure environment.
I am interested in strategies to promote play. I work a lot with sensory difficulties and would like to also address play skills. It seems that many of the children with autism seem to prefer to play alone. How do you help them move towards more cooperative play?
So nice to here the students all fit so well together!
This depends on the level of the student and their IEP goals, but in general the first skill I work on is proximity, just the skill of being able to be near a peer. I'll set out highly motivating activities or even reinforcers near/next to where a group of students are playing. This year I had a lot of students who enjoyed sensory bins. So I would introduce a bin filled with rice/beans/water and sit it on a table. Use whatever is motivating to your students. Once proximity is no longer an issue, I work on seeing peers as play partners. If they are doing a puzzle, I'll hand a piece of the puzzle to a random peer and they have to take it from them to complete the puzzle. Typically most of my students have difficulty with accepting a shared item, so sometimes it has to be reinforcing, even as simple as a peer handing them a goldfish. Once they can accept a shared item and allow a student to hand them a toy, I work on turn taking. I start with a very structured activity and encourage back and forth play through block building, throwing/catching a ball, etc. After they are proficient with structured turn taking with adult prompting, we practice that skill just in the classroom during free play. I usually encourage other students to go up to them and engage in whatever they are already playing with. Finally, we work on play initiation. For higher students, I'll create a social story. Something like "when I want to play with someone, I walk up and say "can I play, please?". For lower students, you can use visuals, like having them take a picture symbol of "play" up to another student.
Jun 6, 2016
What a wonderful outline of the process you use! Thank you for sharing. I use similar strategies when working with children with autism, but have just begun addressing the peer social side of interactions. I have so many children who seem genuinely interested in playing with other children but lack the social, motor, and play skills to engage with peers. I often work from a skill-base perspective in increasing motor and play skills to a point where children can engage in tasks other children their age are participating in. The next step is to encourage that interaction.
For me, I think that's why I find it important to set up social interactions in a structured way. Even though many of my students are never going to be able to just walk up to another student in the block center and start building blocks with them, they might be able to participate in a turn taking activity where I set up a tray with 10 blocks and they go back and forth with another student stacking. It seems like you're working more on play interactions, but you can also focus on things like greeting a peer, maintaining eye contact, accepting shared items, giving a shared item, etc... for your students that you are still working on building motor and play skills.
Jun 20, 2016
Can you explain more for a pre-service teacher on strategies used to encourage them to play inclusively? How do you teach this skill explicitly?
How do you encourage other students to participate when the majority of the class is not interested in interacting with this student?
Jun 24, 2016
So it sounds like the teacher really has to lead the pack! Do you ever talk openly about these issues with the students like in morning meetings, for example? Thanks for the input!
Jun 25, 2016
Usually at the beginning of the year we work really hard to make sure our "typical" students are including everyone in their play. So, if I'm sitting in blocks and one of my students with autism is near, I might say "oh it looks like jane wants to play with us. she really likes cars, does anyone have a car she can have?". Whenever we hear a student say something like "Jane doesn't talk" or "Jane screams a lot", my go-to line is "We are all learning different things. You're learning how to write your name, and Jane is learning how to talk. We come to school to learn together".
Sometimes it can depend on the classes I have each year. Because I teach many students with moderate/severe autism and other disabilities, it can often be very challenging to encourage our typical students to interact with them. Usually I make it a really special "helper" job in the beginning of the year to play turn taking games with me and my spec.ed. students. So, I try to make it a really exciting thing that a student gets to "help" one of their friends learn how to share/play a game/etc. I give a special sticker/stamp afterwards to reinforce how nice it was to play together. I've also done things like let a student wear a tiara/crown or a special badge/vest that meant that are the "best friend" of the day and their job is to be a good friend to everyone. Usually after a few months I have students coming up to me saying "Ms. Preschool, I shared with ____!" or "Ms. Preschool, ____ smiled at me!".
Apr 9, 2017
I find that this a tricky symptom of autism and was in my classroom with several children diagnosed. It seems to me that there needs to be an adult there to facilitate the play and keep both or most of the children engaged in the same play. The Block Center is a great place to start! It gets tricky because it could also be the Childs personality. These kiddos definitely need exposure to social interactions and the skills to cooperate but I often wonder if its just their own personal preference. For many children with Autism, its hard work to be social. But I have to honest, I am a typically developed adult and I prefer to be alone every chance that I get. I can use my social skills all day long and interact appropriately with other adults/children but I prefer to be alone. As a teacher its always hard to find that balance because it truly is different for every child!!!
Good Luck and Keep in Touch
This year and last year I had a child with autism and ESL needs in my classroom. He would cry at the drop of a hat, was sensitive to noise, smell, weird sensations, and needed directions spelled out for him very clearly. I, too, am on the spectrum and was an ESL student in the past, so I could relate to him. I even taught him how to trick people into thinking he is looking them in the eye (it's a trick I was taught by a sped teacher/ex boyfriend). I taught him how to socialize, use tools, and interact with others, but I made sure other people knew how to talk to him. We modeled social behavior and interactions as a class whenever possible, so children would know they needed to make an effort to be inclusive. It gets tiring for one person to always be thinking like everyone else, and it's nice when someone else gives you the processing time you need to be yourself. I used a lot of visuals in my classroom, lists with visual aids were big, and he always received checklists with visual aids to help him complete projects. I chunked everything into small bits, and we summarized activities after every page or after certain goal posts, so he wouldn't get confused and cycle back to a totally unrelated topic. It actually also helped me focus and stay on topic this year a lot, too. I also have a german student who is as sweet as can be, and she was his buddy until he moved back to his home country (dad was military and retired). She was so accommodating, mature, and was able to help him out when he got stuck on an idea. He also got a seat right in the front and center of the classroom.
He just needed a lot of processing time. He also really avoided eye contact, and the kids were very good about that. He felt best when he knew how to follow rules and had a friend who had his back.
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