Fall Starting Transition Autism Class

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by AspieTeacher, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2010

    This fall, I will be working with autistic adults ages 18-22. I haven't been to the room yet, but I think it's designed like an office rather than a classroom. I have no clue as to what to expect when working with adults because the oldest students I used to teach were high school profoundly multiple disabled. What types of skills will I need to know when working with adults with moderate-severe autism? I was told that they will need to be going out in the community as much as possible. I also know that they don't have any basic employment skills at this time due to their deficits. If you work with transitional adults, any feedback would be appreciated.

    Aspieteacher :dizzy:
     
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  3. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jun 18, 2010

    Could you cook once a week? using picture recipes?

    going to the grocery store, maybe volunteering in the community, and around the school (washing desks/tables, putting papers in the teacher's mailboxes, stapling papers, stuffing envelopes, delivering newspapers around the school, picking up trash arond the building and outside.) You may want to send an email out to the staff in the school and let them know that you would be intreseted in having your students volunteer with different tasks around the school and to let you know if they have any tasks avaliable for your students. Can you take public transportation out into the community so that the students can learn about public transportation.

    Also maybe walking in the community, so that the students can learn about crossing the street, street safety, and community signs around the community.
     
  4. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Jun 18, 2010

    Unique learning has a transition level program that I'm finding great. You get a core unit which helps to outline what the day should look like and then each month you get a set of new materials that fit in to the outline. I ordered and am using pieces for my older students but would love to have students the right age so I could build the program as they outline.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Jun 18, 2010

    If you have an office setting you could try to have them file things (alphabetically or for the lower functioning by color, etc.). Stuffing envelops, stapling papers together, sorting, photocopying? Hopefully they will give you a budget for supplies.
     
  6. JustJim

    JustJim Companion

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    Jun 23, 2010

    Aspieteacher, you do get all the fun assignments, don't you? :lol: I suspect you already have the skills you will need to work with the kids, but working transitions may call for a different approach than you might have used in past classrooms.

    I wish you were asking this in January, I've a research project in the works on just this issue that might be of help but it is far from done. The stuff I've done on mentoring kids w/ASD in post-secondary education probably won't be of much use on this one.

    Transitions going from /student/ to /adult in the community/ can be interesting . . . I've worked transitions in several different capacities and have to admit there are always issues.

    You can get some idea of what to expect from the students and what their needs might be by reading their records. Look closely at their assessments: you'll want to particularly know how they react to novel situations, particular sensory idiosyncrasies, past experiences, and anything else that might be a trigger for problematic behavior.

    In the community, "problematic behavior" has a much wider definition than it does in the school . . . I've had kids run into traffic to look at the ad on the side of a bus, another guy was fascinated by babies, and yet another had a meltdown in reaction to the sodium lights at a baseball diamond then tried to run away when a police officer asked him if he needed help . . . If we hadn't been aware of these and other potential problems in advance the problems could have been much worse.

    Another thing to look for is how their autism presents in different contexts. For example, in some contexts I still present as having what might be described as "moderate" autism; in other contexts it is seldom an issue. I've learned how to select contexts and how best to interact in those different contexts for best outcomes; this is something you'll want to identify in your kids, then hopefully help them learn. It will also help if they know what to do if they do have a problem.

    Pay close attention to the transition plans that should be in place already. You'll need to know that in order to live up to the IEP, but it will also help you get an idea of their needs, and of who in the community you may need to work with or co-ordinate with.

    More in the "know your kids" vein: start doing community outings early, but do them with one kid at a time at first. Get to know the kid in the community before adding other kids (each of whom you should have observed in the community unaccompanied by other students). Then make up your groups (and depending on the number of students, you will want at least two groups to avoid problematic match-ups) based on who works out well together--shared interests, good chemistry, similar transition plans, etc.

    (Before doing outings, I'd also introduce myself to the local police department so if there is a problem they know me and I know who to ask for.)

    From the sounds of it, some or even most of the kids may be going into community-based day programs, or combined residential/day programs. Day programs can be a lifetime thing, or extend the transition time between school and competitive employment--sometimes you have to just do the best you can, and hope for the best. It's OK to plan on one avenue but prepare for both.

    In those settings, typically we (I'm currently working in that field) hope to see the kids have basic self-care skills, as well as a working knowledge of survival/communication skills (don't run into traffic, don't take rides from strangers, this is how we find a restroom, etc). Many of the kids today enter day services with few actual employment skills, and often with few self-care skills.

    One approach might be to try to work with the day services providers to find out what work is actually done at day services: are they doing contract work or is it an in-house job, what kind of work are they doing, what skills will the students need, etc.

    It would help immensely if the students can begin to acquire some leisure skills, or at least know their own interests and what they like to do. There is always time after work, on weekends, etc when they will have time to engage in things that interest them. This is also an important social skill for the jobsite: we all talk about the things that interest us, and having interests like that is important to being accepted.

    With many of the kids with whom I've worked, we've also had to address some issues related to age-appropriate behavior. This relates to interests, to attire, and even to what kind of lunchbox the kid takes to work.

    That's all that comes to mind right now (but I'm writing at the tail end of a fit of insomnia--I just hope it makes sense!). Good luck!

    Jim
     

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