listen up!!!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Bored of Ed, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Dec 24, 2007

    I have a kid who's been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Some staff members question the diagnosis because his symptoms don't seem so severe and we know that he has an abusive home situation, which may have messed him up in various ways... Whatever.

    It is all but impossible for me to get his attention in the classroom. This is never a problem one-to-one. But when there are others in the classroom, he just spaces out. Doesn't listen, doesn't do his work, nothing. Not even when I am standing right in front of him looking at his face and saying his name.

    This problem gets worse when he is absorbed in something. He gets absorbed in things very easily. If he starts sharpening his pencil, it will be ten times harder than before for me to get his attention.

    How is any learning supposed to get done this way?!
    IMHO, he really needs to be in a higher-level class with a para to stand by and keep him on track. But he isn't -- he's in my class with only me to attempt to keep the five kids learning all at once.
     
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  3. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Dec 24, 2007

    Is he getting any support from a mental health proffessional considering his home situation? One can only imagine how a child can shut out the world given that situation.

    Poor thing.

    Good luck to you. I hope you find a way to reach him. I wish I had better advice.
     
  4. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Dec 24, 2007

    I hope so...
    AFAIK, he wasn't abused, but his parents are pretty horrid to each other and too busy dealing with their own issues to nurture the kids -- unless you count trying to keep them away from the other parent. Either way, I can see how it would impact on his development. He definitely has something, but maybe not quite autism... I don't know enough to say...
     
  5. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Dec 25, 2007

    Some type of reward system...have a card on his desk and when he gets 5 checks (1 every few minutes that he is working and on task)..he gets some type of 'break' to sit on the floor and work a puzzle, rest, time out etc. Positive praise, reinforcement, and consistency :) - Good luck!
     
  6. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Dec 25, 2007

    Is it possible to call an IEP to get a one-to-one aide for him?
     
  7. Leikela

    Leikela Companion

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    Dec 27, 2007

    worrywart is right on the money. Get a reward system in place. I have the same types of student in my self-contained classroom and I have 15 students!!! In my wildest dreams would I have only 5.

    I keep them focused by having fake money. They can earn it by answering questions, doing all their homework, paying attention, etc. Then at the end of the week, they can use their money to buy stuff from the class store like pencils, erasers, stickers, etc... My kids LOVE this. They can also get money taken away for poor behavior, no homework, etc...

    I have one student with mild autism and he has the same attention problems. Yet, he LOVES this money system. He repeats himself a lot (part of autism) and every morning he comes is and says, "I be quiet, stay in line, and get money."

    Try something along those lines. You'd be surprised how it really works!

    Also, they are learning money, the values of the coins, how to save, spend, etc...
     
  8. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Dec 27, 2007

    I have a reward system, and it helps when he doesn't want to do something -- but in this case I don't think that's the issue. He is just so spacey, I'm not at all sure he can help it.
     
  9. Leikela

    Leikela Companion

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    Dec 27, 2007

    I have kids that are just that spacey too. What works for me is refocusing them. I always make sure to call on them during class and to say, "Are you hearing what I'm saying?" This usually refocuses them.

    If your student is at the sharpener, you can say that if he does not get back to his seat immediately there will be negative consequences. That should work. Unless he's on meds for ADHD there is nothing that will keep him from losing focus.
     
  10. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Dec 27, 2007

    As you probably know kids with autism work better with visual cues than verbal cues. Try pictures or boardmaker pictures. They may help. The spectrum is so large- I have a kid who was diagnosed autism- but I didn't see any telltale signs until he was with me for a week or so. Then I saw a lot- it just depends I guess. Must go swap the laundry.
     
  11. kidsnmind

    kidsnmind New Member

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    Jan 11, 2008

    Hope this can help

    Ok how about seting him up with a TEACCH model system. As a teacher of children with Autism this is worth the time once all is in place. It sounds to me like he is more of a child with Asperger's (on the ASD). He needs a schedule to follow, depending on his reading abilities will depend on how you set it up. Setting up structure and routine will help, give him his own personal space if possible away from the group to work. Set his own rules and guidelines to correspond with the reward system. Think about ABA and how that works. This type of behavior system works well for kids with Autism is done at their level with the right reinforcers. Hopes this helps a little... :)
     
  12. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Jan 11, 2008

    I second the TEACCH idea. I will attest to the fact that it solves almost any behavior / non compliance / refusal to work / hyperactivity behaviors in ASD kids as well as kids with ADHD, ODD, etc.
     
  13. AuRatio

    AuRatio Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2008

    I was just this way, even more so when I was 13.

    Visual cues - a good idea, especially since many on the spectrum have auditory processing issues.

    Is this at a time when there's several noises in the class? Even if the noise level isn't noisy, if there are multiple sources of noise (pencil tapping, papers shuffling, whispering, soft discussion, etc.), this can make it difficult to focus on any one source of noise. Often when this happens, I am unable to distinguish between human voices and other sounds, if there are enough of them or if they are loud.

    About telling negative consequences when at the sharpener -- when I am focused in on something, and activity, a part of an object, a thought, whatever it is, many times there isn't anything that could be said to get me out of it short of touching me, which will only make me scream and possibly hit somebody in the process of flailing my arms. I cannot say how many times I got told off in school for not responding, when I wasn't even aware anyone was calling my name in the first place! Better to have some visual to indicate "Pay attention to me now" or "Focus on the lesson".

    Sometimes, when I am staring out, it is because I am trying to focus on what the words being said mean. Spoken language is for me difficult to decipher, requires much energy and attention, so much that it may be difficult to get out of that mode and go into another mode, such as speaking, or writing mode.

    From what I can gather, I respond to my name maybe 50% of the time. Usually it's because of focus/auditory processing problems. If it's my ordinary focus problems, I just need a visual cue to remind me to get back to the task. Sometimes, however, overstimulation of some kind will be the kind that, rather than reacting explosively, I will just sort of freeze my gaze and often my whole body. I ended up doing this far more often than my more comfortable stims during elementary school because I was bullied so horribly in school, and this way at least I was more likely to be ignored rather than made fun of or assaulted.

    Fluorescent lights can be enough to do it for me, and it's one reason I did hardly any in-class work (at least, hardly anything I finished) during my whole elementary career, and during grade 7 as well (though there were other factors, namely daily assaults being justified by the counselor on the account that I should expect such treatment because I acted weird). In first grade, I got headaches so frequently from the lights that I went to the nurse almost every day towards the end. I still can hardly do work in class and have to save it for home, even when I know I need every minute I can get to complete the work, because otherwise I lack the attention and focus to a more extreme degree than even is usual for me.

    Sometimes we're just being stubborn little kids, but other times we have valid sensory reasons for not feeling up to the work.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2008

    That was a very informative and helpful post, AuRatio. What do you teach?
     
  15. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jan 21, 2008

    Will the above tips or some others help with a student who appears to have the same symptoms but also constantly talks and mumbles (loudly). I don't think he can help it so I am not sure what to do. I do have an ed. aide to help with him and some other students in the class (after complaining). It makes it nearly impossible to teach b-c I am always talking over him. Even when we sing or move around or play instruments (he always does his own thing). The threats & mean comments toward myself & the aid also seem to be increasing. I also only see the students once a week.
     
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2008

    sounds like you have to find all you can by yourself :( and then try to get the district to pay for it.

    a couple of things come to mind...

    ABA applied behavior analysis. some people don't like this, but it is basically, sticking to a task, rewarding for good behavior, ignoring others

    PECS Picture Exchange Communication System - as it states, you take pictures of everthing you do. make a schedule and point to each task as you are doing it. when you are ready to move to the next activity, you move the card. to work directly on a task, give him two cards (eg. at lunch time: give him a picture of milk and a picture of a pencil. He will automatically point, grab or look at the milk, because he knows that's what he wants.. Praise him for 'selecting' and tell you what he wants.

    As long as he is not abusive to himself or others, you may be fighting a losing battle for an aide. (being that its already the second semster) but my advice would be to document all your efforts and his achievements as well as behaviors. the minute he does something that is considered dangerous (i.e. runs out of the room, eats something bizarre, twists and twirls a cord that pulls down a overhead projector) that's when you ring the intercom and demand some help.

    then contact your union steward if you feel they are not listening to you.
     

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