Montessori Autistic Class

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by kellymontessori, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. kellymontessori

    kellymontessori Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2007

    Hello everyone. It's so great to find a place where peope of all tainings share their ideas. I have a Masters in Special Ed and I recently finished my AMI primary certification- awesome trainer, by the way- Mary Raudonis Loew in Dallas. Anyway, I will be teaching a preschool autistic class. I'll have 8 childre with autism, 8 without. Although the school isn't a Montessori school,the principal is willing to let me have an authentic Montessori environment at my own cost. Here are my questions- Montessori isn't something that we really follow a weekly plan- it's child dictated. Anyone out there have a way of creating a cleverly disguised plan that meets school board requirements but allows me flexibility?
    Anyone working with children with autism? Tips to share?
    Anyone willing to share a copy of their planning and record sheets?
    Thank you so much for your advice, suggestions, etc!
    Kelly
     
  2.  
  3. Pattypoo

    Pattypoo Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 29, 2007

    Welcome Kelly! Have you heard of the Toronto Montessori School for Autism in Toronto? I have a manual/Curriculum guide written by the founder K. Michelle Lane. It is called Autism: A Montessori Approach. I know that you can order it from Alison's Montessori. Good Luck with your class. It sounds very interesting.
     
  4. kiraj

    kiraj Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 4, 2007

    Do you have a lot of experience working with children with autism? If they are low functioning, I can imagine it being kind of stressful for them to not have at least some type of general routine. Maybe have a daily schedule of sorts, but allow the lessons to be child directed? I don't know. I wish you good luck! It seems like an interesting idea to me! I'll be checking back in to see how it goes for you!
     
  5. kellymontessori

    kellymontessori Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 4, 2007

    I've worked with children with autism in a variety of setting for about 15 years combined... it's the inclusion model I'm working with that's a little different. (We've had individual children with autism in our Montessori classes before... but this is a 50-50 class.) Lessons will be student directed, but each child will have a daily picture schedule to follow. Also, there is a general schedule including morning meeting time, individual and group times, outdoor play, snack, etc. Low functioning students are going to be given a great deal more direction than higher functioning students... for example, we'll focus a great deal on self-help skills with them, basic communication structions (sign, PECS, utilizing some ABA if necessary). Children needing more guidance will have more guidance and specific items on their schedule. It requires more planning ,but is very individualized! I welcome feedback to help me define/redefine how I will do this.
     
  6. kiraj

    kiraj Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 4, 2007

    Wow, it sounds fantastic! Kids with autism often have specific preferences, so maybe if you wait until the first day you'll learn some of these. Then get supplies to meet the kids' interests? For example, if one kid is way into dinosaurs, you can teach reading and math and what not using dinosaur manipulatives, books, worksheets, etc. Other than that, I don't really have any ideas. Good luck, it seems like a really fun classroom you'll be setting up!
     
  7. Austin

    Austin New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 10, 2008

    Montessori School Founder

    Hello Kelly!

    There is a lot of interest in Nashville in developing a Montessori School which integrates children with autism. Will you please contact me asap at tnmontessori@gmail.com ?

    If anyone knows where Kelly can be reached, please contact her and ask her to please contact me.

    Thank-you so very much!

    A Austin


     
  8. Austin

    Austin New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 10, 2008

    Kelly,

    Please call or email me, if you would. There is a lot of interest in Nashville Area about starting a Montessori School which incorporates autistic children.

    I am unable to send you a private email on this service. So here is another attempt at providing my email. Please delete spaces:

    tnmontessori @ gmail . com.

    I would love to get your input or reference your experience to help us potentially create this. Of course, we would be happy to reciprocate. The school I currently run has one child with autism and it has been wonderfully successful. Our teacher has her masters in Teaching with a minor in Special Education and is also certified in Montessori.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Austin
     
  9. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 10, 2008

    I worked in a Montessori as a teacher's assistant years ago before I started college. I'm now an Autism Specialist, and I use some of the Montessori materials with my students. It seems like the students typically respond very well to these materials. They seem to work very well for visual learners (which students with autism often are) and they are designed to be self-teaching. My students often know what they are supposed to do with the materials without being told or shown.

    The Toronto Montessori School for Autism is a good resource. Does anyone know of any others?
     
  10. AuRatio

    AuRatio Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 20, 2008

    Sounds interesting. I have read about Montessouri schools before, and I always thought that they would be an improvement over what I had.

    One thing I have never understood is phonics. For me, I had to learn on a word-by-word basis, connecting the picture to the sounds. I have never really been good at "sounding-it-out", and such advice was more likely to confuse me than help me.

    One thing that has made it difficult for me is when people would force me to look at them. It's so hard, virtually impossible, for me to process spoken language when looking at someone's eyes, or even most of their face. Nowadays I try to look at their shoulder, or the wall behind them, as I have recently learned that people don't think you're paying attention to them unless you're looking at them.

    I loved sticker charts when I was younger. My dad would make siticker charts for me and my two older siblings so we'd get stars for days (smaller chunks of time initially) that we would not get into fights or have tantrums, and we would get star stickers. We got to draw on the margins of the charts to personalize them. However, he always had to give me a sheet of stickers so I could stick a few on various papers, my face, etc.

    I wish you success!
     
  11. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2008

    Hello all.
    I had a child with autism (high function) in my summer program (Montessori). It was interesting!
    He was slow to interact and extremely sensitive, of course. We made sure to keep the routines for arrival and dismissal much the same everyday. I felt that the open 3 hour work cycle was a benefit for him. The fact that he could work with one piece of material as long as it suited him and then choose something else in an unhurried way. He spent time observing the other children. I would give him lessons on tables in the periphary initially so that he would not get overstimulated in the center of all the activity. We also have a great outdoor space that he enjoyed, especially the little pool.
    That was my experience. I would like to do more work with children living with autism.
    AuRatio - Montessori combines phonics with "puzzle words" (words that aren't phonetic) as well as phonograms, often referred to as "Total Reading". So you might have enjoyed the puzzle words as well as all the other reading activities! One of the beautiful things about Montessori is the she provides for and developments all styles of learning.
    positive autism - what materials do you use? I think you made an interesting observation about some of M materials being intuitive. Do children with autism generally have higher IQ than normal? I found the boy I worked with very fascinated by the materials.
     
  12. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2008

    My students with autism are often drawn to the cylinder blocks most...they seem to enjoy completing them and have done so with very little or no instruction. Although...the cylinders do occasionally become rocket ships! :)

    Materials that are very visually oriented such as the spindle box are also very useful.

    I also love the sandpaper letters and numbers for their multisensory effect.

    It was interesting to read about your experiences! Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2008

    About IQ, I have found that student with autism ofter have a higher IQ than most traditional IQ tests rate them. I think it's a matter of how they learn best, and how to assess it. It's very tricky, but these children are often very smart in their own unique ways.
     
  14. whitknee914

    whitknee914 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 15, 2008

    My son is in a similar boat. Does anyone know Where in northern California they have a school like this. He was reading at 2. If anyone can help me I would appreciate it. Thanks
     
  15. kellymontessori

    kellymontessori Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 20, 2008

    Some time smarter....

    I feel like I've learned a lot in the last few months about implementing Montessori with children all along the spectrum. I have children who they "said" were at the developmental age of 20 months... up to hyperlexic children, and they all do things differently. A few things I learned about lessons-

    1. I was taught all about how lessons are often about giving children impressions, which is why we do the whole "10" thing over so many things. It was fine when I presented shorter lessons like the beginning sensorial lessons, but once we started getting into the math, it was (is) harder for the kids to wait the entire presentation. Some recent research shows that one of the learning differences in children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is that their "mirror neurons" don't work the same as a typically developing person. In a typically developing person, when they watch something, neurons called mirror neurons fire as if they are actually performing the task they are watching. In most people with ASD, this isn't the case. I often found time when watching me demo something didin't seem to take effect, and we we did a hand-over hand and after a few times, they got it. When I say hand over hand, I don't necessaryily mean my hand holding their hand- it can even be a gentle steering of the wrist, a guidance....

    2. I chunk a lot of lessons- handwashing became set up one week, then pouring water, etc.

    3. Boardmaker or some similar picture software is essential- I have picture sequences for most things we do- handwashing, teethbrushing, even many of the materials (I sometimes just photocopy my albulm page and include it with the lesson)

    4. Anything in excess is not usually beneficial- mild "stimming" or self-stimulatory behavior is ok, but once it interferes with the true use of something or pervernts the child from moving past the obsession, we have to ween them off

    5. I hate "rewards", especially the whole tangible reinforcer thing, but for some kids, you need to do what works.

    6. Inclusion rocks, even if it makes life tougher.... the typically developing children develop empathy and the children with ASD take off in terms of language, motor development and social skills, even if it is in small ways. There are things you can do to support this, including teaching the children how to interact with each other.

    I am sure I could think about a million more things I have learned about combining my two passions...Mostly, I'm just happy to hear that there are others out there who are doing this as well....

    Kelly
     
  16. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 19, 2008

    Kelly, I see it's been a while since you posted, but I just wanted to thank you for your great tips!

    Nicole
     
  17. kellymontessori

    kellymontessori Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 19, 2008

    Thank you. I'm always happy to help. I've been working with the Center for Autism Related Disabilities this year, and some of their suggestions really made our class run smoother. One was a suggestion similar to Abs Joosten's meandering walking lines- colored lines that lead to different areas of the classroom... helped a lot with any redirecting I had to do... "Follow the yellow line" was much clearer a request than "Go over to the circle time rug." It worked well for us, and didn't require too much of an adaptation. Feel free to contact with any questions, and I look forward to hearing anyone elses suggestions.

    Incidentally, Auratio, I've had a student in my class who is non-verbal all year- I discovered today that he reads sight words and can match them to their meaning... wonderful! There was a time I would have said, "But he doesn't know his letter sounds...."... Now I understand that the image of the word can be just as concrete. Thanks!
     
  18. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 23, 2008

    I'm having a garage sale, and I was going through some boxes of stuff at my house. I found a bunch of my Montessori materials that I'd been looking for! Just my luck - right as the school year is ending! :) I'm doing some tutoring this summer, so hopefully I get to use them with some of my students with Autism. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!

    Great tips again, Kelly!
     
  19. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 2, 2008

    Check out your local Montessori school. Find someone with experience or at least an interest in working with autistic children. The Montessori environment is well suited to integrating many different learning styles and special needs. You can find schools in CA either on amiusa.org or montessori-namta.org.
     
  20. blueridgehotair

    blueridgehotair New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 17, 2009

    Kelly,
    I have beenin Montessori for three years and have had one autistic child each year. What I am finding works with one may not work with others but let me guide youas to what did work. We had a picture album of every lesson that travelled home. These were small handy pictures if my child got stuck on trying to choose a lesson I could guide him through the pictures. It worked great! The parents introduced me to it. Also, socially expectations were the same the parents didn't want their child treated differently so if sitting on the line was needed it was used. Lots of praise worked, a journal of everyday activity. My child this year is different as he is also visually impaired so the challenges have been different. I found the other students in the class a great resource. They invite this child to do lessons and then I am close to see how is he going to interact. Usually there are no problems. There is an amazing gift children offer each other when we step aside the gift of acceptance beyond what any adult can understand. Good look
    MAry kim Waddell
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Mrs. K.,
  2. Ima Teacher
Total: 409 (members: 2, guests: 389, robots: 18)
test