Autistic Child with an Aide

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by alisoncharm, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. alisoncharm

    alisoncharm Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2006

    Hi, I was just informed that I will have an autistic child in my am and pm kindergarten classes. Each will be with an aide the entire class that is also supposed to help me in anyway that I may need.

    I am a new teacher so here are my questions. I am meeting with the two families (separately) and I would like to know what kind of questions I could ask that could help me to understand the child's needs.

    Secondly, I am nervous about having an aide in my room that I am supposed to work with. Not that the help will not be amazing, but how do the children react to having two adults in the classroom at the same time, and how do they distinguish between the different roles we will lead? I am a great team player, but I guess my fear is that I will not know how to ask an aide to help me...I am just so used to doing things on my own. Any advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Julie

    Julie Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2006

    For your first question, what to ask the parents, ask if they went to preschool and how that experience was. Ask how they get along with other children and what their hopes are for this school year.

    For your second question, I had a full time aid in my K class and when I had an autistic child he had his own aid when he was there. When I was doing introductions on the first day I introduced myself as the teacher and my assistant as an assistant. I told the kids that if I can't help them with something then the assistant could and sometimes she may teach them something if i had to be out of the room or read them a story, etc. As for your autisitc aid, I told the kids that she was there to help ------ but if they needed help and she was available then she could help them. She mainly helped the kids sitting at his table, especially with social skills.

    hope this helps a little
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 7, 2006

    I have been working as an aide for the past four years. I have always been introduced as another teacher in the classroom and was treated as an equal by the teachers. I will also have a student that has autism and a one on one aide. Basically a one on one has to follow the directions the special education teacher gives her/him. You will not be their boss. The special ed teacher will tell them what they need to be doing in your classroom. If problems arise you should probably talk to your special ed teacher about them. Of course as a one on one I would help other students in the classroom if my student was doing ok.
    Best of luck! I am sure you will learn a lot for both your little guys! It may be hard but just remember you are going to have fun!
     
  5. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 7, 2006

    Other things to find out, either from parents, preschool teacher, file, etc... what kinds of things are motivating to this student? Needs a lot of sensory "breaks" or movement? How about language/verbal skills... speaking or non-speaking? USes a communication book or device?

    Have a schedule posted... this will help you whole class but particularly your autistic kid.

    I had 2 TA's last year and were were all just "teachers." Of course, this was PreK SPE, but they knew they needed to listen to ANY of us, not just me. Kids are pretty willing to adapt to knowing there are twice as many people to help them. ;)
     
  6. sbtellmann

    sbtellmann Companion

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    Aug 7, 2006

    I had an autistic child in my room this year and she had a "behavior therapist" with her at all times. Is that what the aid is? Or is she really and aid helping out everyone. My child's therapist helped the child but also helped me and other children in my class so I could take turns working with the child without her therapist. Don't worry too much. The parent meetings will hopefully give you more insight to the children and maybe you can suggest that the parents bring the children in (separately!) to meet you and you can quietly observe them too.
     
  7. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 7, 2006

    i would also agree to ask the families what works/ doesn't. Sometimes kids have problems at home that they will not at school and vice versa, but well you can at least get an idea. Children with autism like all children can have a wide range. I have had pre-k kids who are totally nonverbal functioning as a baby and pre-k kids who are reading fluently (at like a 2nd grade level) but without comprehension. Visuals help many of these kids. I suggest trying to get acess to Boardmaker or find someone who can help you with it.

    As for the assistants. In our room to the children we are all "teachers" the pre-k heads always tell us they want to walk in and not be able to tell who is the teacher and who is an aide. However with a 1:1 this may be slightly different. We always say our ultimate goal for 1:1 aides is for them to LOOSE their job. Mind you we don't really want that to happen to the grown-up, but that means that the child has developed enough independance skills to make the step up to maybe a classroom aide vs. a 1:1.

    I also have trouble asking for help sometimes. I think I am going to do a written schedule with my co-teacher for our assistants and see how that helps...

    Good Luck. Students with autism can be quite challenging, but also rewarding!
     
  8. specFLed

    specFLed New Member

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    Aug 7, 2006


    I would ask what type of therapy is currently being used. One that is highly successful is rapid response. I would also find out from the parents what they are expecting from you. I have worked with an aid for years and it can be challenging and great at the same time. If you have an aide who thinks they are a know it all and have been around you are in trouble. You need to establish yourself as the teacher but do so without undermining your aides presence and authority. I would outline what your expectations are of her and then stick with it. You need to schedule about 15 minutes a day in which to plan with your aide. I hope this helps.
     
  9. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Aug 7, 2006

    I always introduce my aides as teachers and tell the kids that they are so lucky to have two(or whatever the number) adults in the room to help them learn what they need to learn. I try not to distinguish that they are there for a particular student even though the kids usually figure it out. I also encourage the paras to circulate and not stick next to the student they are assigned to. All students need some independence.
     
  10. maebowler

    maebowler Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2006

    It has been mentioned that you should ask the parents of the children with autism what the hopes are for the student this year. I would make that the first question after introductions and a little about the student. Show the parents a positive side before getting into everything else.
    I was a one-on-one aide for a little boy with EBD. I don't remember being introduced to the class althought I started in March when the boy started and I had already worked in the class as a para sub a few times. I worked with all the students when "my student" was at group or was doing okay by himself. Which was more towards the end of the school year. I have my ed license and so the teacher gave me a lot of leway in working with "my student" and the rest of the class and offered me a lot of ideas. I would say get to know your assistant and don't think of them as an assistant by as a co-worker. Good luck!
     
  11. wifemomteach06

    wifemomteach06 Companion

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    Aug 8, 2006

    So how much are you able to help the regular classroom teacher? From what my student sounds like, I may be with her a lot, so there may not be time. I am curious to hear from others that have worked as a 1:1 aide.
     
  12. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Aug 8, 2006

    When I have a student with a 1-1 aide, that aide is pretty much there for that student. I kept a basket of prep work (cutting, coloring, etc) for "if you have time." Here, it's considered inappropriate to ask an aide who is there for one student to run a small group or to tutor other students, but you could get together a couple of kids with similar abilities as your autistic student, and she could work with all of them, using the "normal" kids (is there such a thing?! LOL) as peer models. The thought here is that if the aide is free enough to work more than 20% of her time in tasks not directly associated with HER student, then that student doesn't truly need 1-1 help. And our aides have to document what they've done all day, in hourly blocks, and that is evaluated by the special ed team to ensure that the aide is, indeed, using at least 80% of her time in direct contact with HER student. Unfortunately, our 1-1 aides get little to no guidance from our special ed dept. The teacher has the IEP and the list of modifications, and she is supposed to tell the aide how to modify any assignment for HER student. For example, if a child needs a bigger work area, the teacher can tell the aide to enlarge a ditto on the copier and work on it with the kid. But the teacher isn't supposed to ask the aide to copy for the whole class. I assure you that, many times, if the aide is going to the copier anyway, she'll copy for the whole class, though, just in the spirit of cooperation.

    As for introductions, we just tell our kids that "Ms Tracy" is there to help "McKenzie." that's all. No big, drawn out explanations necessary.
    Kim
     
  13. OhioGirl

    OhioGirl New Member

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    Aug 8, 2006

    When I had a child with autism in my k room, I did not have an aide for him. However, there was one woman in our district who tracked progress on all of our students with autism. She recommended designating a "quiet place" for my student that was a way for him to get away from the rest of the class if he felt overwhelmed. I basically taped off a small area(very small--i didn't have a lot of extra space), put up a neat poster, and stocked the area with some books on his level. I made sure and showed him the area and let him know that he had his own place to go when he wanted some time alone. It was important that he realized that it was his choice to go to his area and that by going there he wasn't in trouble. He never took advantage of his place. Sometimes when he was having a rough day I would just ask him if he would like to go to his quiet place so that he was reminded of its existance. I thought it worked well.
     
  14. puzzlesolver

    puzzlesolver Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2006

    1:1 for child with autism

    Having an aide or 1:1 in your classroom can be helpful or a handful...but the main thing to keep in mind is communication! Communicating with the special ed teacher and the 1:1 is so important. Ultimately the 1:1 reports to the special ed teacher, but when the two of you (the teacher and the 1:1) work so closely everyday its easy to bypass that step and make decisions without consulting the special ed teacher, avoid this! Always keep everyone in the loop informed. Make sure that the spec. ed teacher clearly identifies your child's goals and then compare those goals to the goals of your classroom. They may not look the same on paper but spec. ed is all about adaptations, so when your goal is ...math(number stories) but the student with autism isn't able to complete the project with the general directions thats when the spec.ed & 1:1 come into play and make adaptations. Whether it be something that they practice before the actual lesson or using apremade number story and having the student answer yes/no questions. Bottom line, the child is still doing a number story, completing a math lesson and working towards the same general goal, quanitative concepts.
    As far as parents, they are your most valuable resource, so absorb as much info from them as possible. Try and ask about the positive aspects of the child, what is he/she good at, what does he/she enjoy doing, and what makes them laugh and feel comfortable. Build your interactions with the child on those positive aspects. Also identify triggers that might set off undesired behaviors (hitting,kicking,screaming) etc. What makes the child feel uncomfortable, upset or angry? Keep up to date records of medications, although they can help, they can always cause behavior too. Many meds have effects when a child is exposed to heat or sunlight, which could look to you like a tantrum but really is a cry for help.
    Ultimatley it is important to all be on the same page....parents, spec. ed teacher, reg ed teacher and the 1:1. It is a team effort to educate every child not just those in spec. ed programs. Remember children with Autism are kids too, when they exhibit behaviors that are not typical for K, its important to teach them what they should be doing instead of punishing them for what they did, because Autism affects development and most behaviors stem from the fact that they just haven't learned the appropriate ones yet. :)
    You will have so much fun with this student in your classroom, don't be afraid, enjoy the experience, you will learn lifetime lessons.. :)
     

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