helping a child with autism

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by love2teach, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    HELP! I have a student in my class, and we are in the process of having an IEP written up. I am in a private school, and things take a while going back and forth to the public school. I belive that this child has slight autism. He has speech problems, can not identify letter sounds, never makes eye contact, sings and hums a lot, and has a very very difficult time sitting still or properly. There are many other things that I could mention, but this is just to give you an idea. he is a very sweet boy, who really needs a better environment, but in the meantime, what can I do help him?? I am at the end of my rope, and he takes so much attention away from the other stuedents! Any advice would be apprecaited!
     
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  3. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    ps...any web sites or books that you know of would also be great!
     
  4. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Give him a lot of structure within your room--a schedule for the day, an activity schedule for periods of time, a timer counting down the time remaining in an activity (this can work well in unpreferred activities), a timer indicating when preferred activities will end, etc. Use individualized reinforcement if necessary. Try social stories to deal with behaviors. Use visuals when possible.

    I'd recommend Grandin's books; Emergence is really interesting and you can learn a lot from her story. I think that's a great starting point when learning about autism.

    If you have any specific questions, I can try to answer them. Good luck!

    Ellen A.
     
  5. taborgmeyer

    taborgmeyer Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2004

    Speaking of autism....Does anyone know anything about AZ (or other states as well) regs as far as teaching autistic children? For instance, teacher certification for spec ed includes:

    Special Education Assessment & Interpretation
    Characteristics of MR & Developmental Disabilitie
    Characteristics of Emotional & Behavioral Disabilities
    Characteristics of Physical and Health Disabilities

    so what i'm asking is, to teach autistic children, does a teacher need to be certified, or just simply gain experience?? Hope I'm making sense!!

    As far as suggestions, I don't have anything specific, but I have been doing a bit of research on autism...I've learned it is important to allow, and if appropriate, redirect any "stimming" behaviors....Behaviors the average person would term "nervous habits"....There is also supposed to be a really good book out there that gives a glimpse into what life is like for autistic children...It's called "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" ....Good luck....I am just beginning my journey on learning about autism.....

    Traci
     
  6. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Thank you, I do try to give a lot of structure, it is hard, but I do try.....I will try the timing thing a bit more as well. I find that he is okay when the activity is VERY explicit....if he finishes a task early, he has a very difficult time keeping on task. For example, if a child finishes something early, they are to read, work in their green work folder or work on the computer. I try to limit his choice and stick by him while he makes his transtion, but that can be difficult with a general ed class.
    One other question,....he plays with EVERYTHING! no matter what is near him, he touches it. And if everythinhg is taken away, he rubs the corner of the desk, the rug, licks his hand, takes items from other childrne to play with etc....what can i do to encourage him to keep his hands still?
     
  7. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    How about some "fidget toys" for him to keep his hands busy? Theraputty, foam balls, squishy balls, etc... having something to keep his hands busy with (and that's relatively unobtrusive to the rest of the class) can help him focus his attention where it's supposed to be. (And, although you or I would probably be distracted playing with a toy while listening, kids w/ autism seem to oftentimes do BETTER when they're doing that!)

    Lots of visuals... even sometimes for "unstructured" time... he might need a schedule for what to do when he's finished with his work (1. check green folder. 2. read)

    Check with OTs or PT's in your building/district for some suggestions to help him with sitting still... some of the things we've done include: ball chairs (it's a chair made to hold therapy balls... this allows them a little "acceptable" movement while sitting), swivel seats (a round seat you place on top of the kid's chair to allow them to swivel a little while sitting), wedges (rubber... shaped like a wedge, one side is bumpy, the other side is smooth... helps with posture as well as just a little tactile imput), and bands around the legs of chairs (don't know, it helps some of them to have resistance against their legs)...

    Schedules, schedules, schedules... write things down/use pictures... give him some very clear options and ways to ask for help... it's often hard for these kids to express how they feel/what they need, so it might help him to have some visual/written cues (I feel ___, I can ask for help.)... structure... warn him ahead of time if the schedule is changing, if possible...

    Good luck with this process! :) Let me know if you want more info on any of these things. :)
     
  8. Miss Mary Ellen

    Miss Mary Ellen Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2004

    I know you are in a private school so I am not sure how in depth your special ed resources are (I am in my 2nd year at a private school, and I am realizing how it takes time to go back and forth with the IEP process between the two schools). Will they be doing full educational and psychological testing? Have you been able to get that approved yet?


    - If you have a speech therapist at your school, or you know of one, see if they have a computer program called Boardmaker (www.mayer-johnson.com). This program helped me make picture schedules for my students who had autism/aspergers or who just needed to keep track of their daily activities.
    I made a picture card for each activity and set it up with velcro on a board so each child can go to their own schedule board after each activity and see what came next. One year when my self-contained class of kids with moderate to severe disabilities was in a trailer and I had limited space I had made up a schedule board for each child on their own clipboard.

    - Also with fidget toys, my students this year have ADHD and learning disabilities, and they can be fidgety as well. My assistant found these things at walmart that are small, plastic circular links that can bend and hook together and get pulled apart (when I get back to school after the break I'll post the exact name of them). Well anyways, my kids love them, because they can wrap it around their wrist when they are writing or just keep them and twist them in their hands when they are listening. Also koosh balls work very well for that kind of thing.

    Good luck to you!
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 23, 2004

    And those gummy stretchy things they have now - I have gotten animals, fish, insects - it's the one thing they search for in the goody box.
     
  10. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    If you don't have access to Boardmaker, I've made picture schedules and rewards charts using Microsoft clipart.
     
  11. MDslp

    MDslp New Member

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    Autism books

    Check out Brookes Publishing. They have a GREAT variety of autism books. My favorite for reg ed is "Your'e going to love this kid" - It specifically addresses working with students in inclusion. It may give you some ideas on ways to schedule for your student. If your student is working with an SLP then they should be able to help you write some social stories about classroom behaviors and expectations. If not, there are several websites (sorry I don't know them off the top of my head) that give you pointers on how to write social stories (search social stories for autism or Carol Gray). Good luck....
     
  12. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Dec 23, 2004

  13. Bethany

    Bethany Rookie

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    There is a great system for helping autistic children to know their dailys system, it is called PECS. Anyone familiar with it? Another thing to keep in mind, many times, children with autism also show signs of sensory integration disorder. There are many theraputic toys as mentioned above, but another thing to consider is providing many sensory activities, such as playdough, or texture bars, etc. Also, cause and effect toys are great for children with autism. I have had the privilege of working with a child who is severly autistic, yes I did say privilege! It really has been a great experience. I worked closely with his speech and language pathologist to develop continuity in his daily routine. Do you know of anyone you can call within your district? How is the IEP going?

    Good luck, and try to provide the most consistent day you can...

    As a side note, the little boy I worked with LOVED to sing his ABC's...when he got really upset, I would sit with him in my lap, rock back and forth, and we would sing the ABC's..always calmed him down in a matter of minutes.
     
  14. LuAn

    LuAn New Member

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    Need activities for Autistic student

    I have been assigned as an In Home Trainer for a 7 year old student with autism. He can call words when shown pictures on flashcards but other than that he doesn't speak. He doesn't write or have any interest in holding a pencil or colors. I need to know what kind of activities I can do with him to make our time together beneficial. I spend an hour three times a week with him at his home.
    Thanks!
     
  15. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    LuAn,
    I have a few ideas. I'm not sure of his intelligence, so you will have to adjust accordingly. I don't know your background so I'm trying to talk basically.

    The non-verbal, non-writing kids I've worked with have done "jobs". They are assigned 3+ jobs and then they get a choice of a reward. Over time the number of jobs and their difficulty increase. The reward is determined by the kid's likes and dislikes. One girl just like to sit with a blanket in a chair, another liked to do hair, or dolls or play with the class pets. A few boys liked to play with the toys, puzzles, legos, computer games or listen to music. Make sure there is variety or they will not want to work for the reward.

    Ok as for the jobs...
    The philosophy is that austistic people like repetition and consistancy. These jobs provide that. They get them in a comfort zone and hopefully over time you can throw in a little of the typical academics (reading and writing) later.

    The really low kids simply put things in a container. For example poker chips were put into a Gladlock container with a large slit cut in the lid. You could use anything as the "put in" item. Unifix cubes in an ice cube tray. Old dried up markers in those ice cube trays made for water bottles (the ice cubes are long, round cylinders). Of course you do need to be aware that he may put things in his mouth. Another thing to watch for is that he many not look, so he'll get frustrated over really simple things. It can be hard to do "put in" tasks if you don't look. I like to start with these (or other really simple tasks) because they give the feeling of success.

    Simple wood puzzles of things like the basic shapes or more complex ones like numbers or letters.

    Get a sign language book and teach him signs for things in his world. Or work on the pecs system with him (talked about in this posting).

    Hand-over-hand copying his name (on a pre-printed paper) with a thick marker. Moving toward independence. One of my students would just take the cap off a white board, scribble on it a few times and that was his job. The cap part really ticked him off, it was hard for him.

    Matching folder games with velcro--done one-on-one at first and then independently over time. My mentor had one student just match identical pictures.

    Harder jobs would be things like making kits...(These could be years down the road, I don't know)
    Making 6 place settings--rolling a knife, fork and spoon in a napkin
    making school kits, each pencil bag needs to have a pencil, eraser, a pair of scissors, box of crayons etc.

    Sorting, sorting, sorting... Sorting is also difficult for those that don't look. You can have him sort by color, shape, type etc. My mentor had so many things to sort erasers, silverware, large beads, math manipulatives, scrabble tiles, or those poker chips. I went to a thrift store and found odd junk like lite-brite pegs and craft supplies. These jobs are usually made of junk but it takes some creativity--or at least the ability to turn your trash into treasure.

    If you can get him to repeat things work on his name, phone number and address, etc.

    Does he dress, toilet, and do hygiene things unaided? Teach him to brush his teeth etc.

    A lot of the jobs can be made up. The main thing is not to spend much money, look around your house, ask around, and shop thrift stores. Sometimes you'll find stuff at them, sometimes not.

    A sample of a low kiddo's workload would be a "put in" job, a simple puzzle and maybe a little harder one-on-one job like hand-over-hand writing his name. This is after he learns the process, he might need hand-over-hand on everything at first.

    I know I've rambled on, I hope it helped. Click on my name to E-mail me if you want any more help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  16. llgtchr

    llgtchr New Member

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    Jan 6, 2005

    Hi everyone! Just wanted to add my input. I'm a teacher in a preschool autistic support class. We use a lot of different teaching techniques--primarily ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), Floortime (Stanley Greenspan), and lots of sensory integration (brushing programs, joint compressions, deep pressure, massage, and we have an OT gym). I use a lot of pictures in my classroom--from picture schedules to picture supports as I give directions for activities.

    A great resource is the Autism Society of America's website, which is www.autism-society.org
    They will have lists of books to read. Two of my favorites are The Out of Sync Child and the Out of Sync Child has Fun. These will help give you insight on what he seeks sensory input the way he does.

    Also, feel free to contact me personally with any questions you might have.
    I've worked with autistic children for 10 years and have experience with them at all ages.
     
  17. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

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    Feb 5, 2005

    I don't know where all of you are located but here in North Carolina we have a place called T.E.A.C.H. and they are wonderful! They have helped me several times!! They have branches in other states. You could check the following web address to see if your state participates and view the contact information for your state.
    http://www.childcareservices.org/TEACH/T.E.A.C.H.-States.htm

    We also have an Exceptional Children's Assistance Center. I just recently attended a 'Positive Behavior Support' workshop sponsored by them for autistic parents and educators. Their web address is:
    http://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/
    They may know about other services in your area.

    Good luck,
    Crystal
     
  18. LisaMarie

    LisaMarie Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2005

    Another great website to check out is do2learn at www.do2learn.com

    They have a lot of picture cards that you can print out for schedules, games, communication cards, etc... :)
     

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