Need lunchroom help

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Giggles1100, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Dec 5, 2006

    I have a class full of autistic kids and lunch time is really not that bigof a deal for them, they eat in the cafeteria like everyone else during lunch, One, sometimes gets a little loud and stims loudly but that is easily fixed. One of my other boys does good before the bell rings, we go in 10 minutes early to get our trays. Once the bell rings it is all over. He cannot eat for having to stick his fingers in his ears to stop the noise and normally cannot finish his lunch unless I sit there and prod him to eat and even then we still take some back to class. So today I tried something different I let the aide stay with them in lunch and I took him to class with me to eat lunch. N o problem ate quickly enjoyed himself etc.

    Now I was pretty positive that the sound was what was keeping him from eating and I asked my OT for soem headphones we could try to see if that helps him in the cafeteria. She said are you sure it is not a stimulus thing with his sight too, Oh darn I did not think of that I spend the first 5 minutes of lunch pulling him off of the florr because he cannot stand trash being on the floor he gets fixated on it until it is gone. It hink I will try him with the headphones, but I really hate that he will stand out withthese on, I might get earplugs, I am not sure he would keep them in. But has anyone else experienced this and found an easier way to transistion and autistic kid in the lunch room so he can eat in the time alloted. He is very low functioning so the consequence of not getting to finish his food in the alloted time is way over his head.
     
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  3. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    I am NOT trying to be smarmy.
    But...
    Don't you think he stands out crawling around on the floor?

    Is it imperative that he eat in the cafeteria?
    It honestly sounds like sensory overload for him.
    Could you try a classroom lunch bunch so he isn't missing out on social interaction?

    Inclusion is nice, but isn't always appropriate.
    Do you think he's benefitting more than he's suffering from eating in the cafeteria?

    PS: I really am not trying to be smarmy. :D
     
  4. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Dec 5, 2006

    I have not encountered this situation but when I began reading your post, the first thing I thought of was headphones if he has to eat in the lunchroom. You may also write a social story about eating lunch in the lunchroom and use picture cues while you are in the lunchroom. In regards to visual stimulus, you may sit him at an end table and have him sit facing the wall, so the only person he has to look at is the person sitting across from him and this will also limit his visual on trash on the floor.

    You could have him eat in the classroom and just practice sitting in the lunchroom while his peers are eating -- you could increase the time increments that he spends in the lunchroom (start off with 5 minutes sitting and then slowly increase). You may also give him a job of cleaning the floor using a broom and dust pan -- each class in our school have to sweep under their table after they eat lunch.
     
  5. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Dec 5, 2006

    Ellen, he crawls ont he floor before the lunchroom kids get there, but it drives him crazy if there is the tiniest and I mean tiniest spec of paper on the floor. I am glad you think it is OK for him to eat inthe classroom, some people think it is wrong, but I think it is wrong if he cannot finish his lunch and it cuts into his learning time if he has to take it back to class to finish. I don't think you are Smarmy at all :) I do like the idea of maybe adding peers we are having another student eat with us tomorrow because he gets distracted too and doesn't eat, I have been told he does this once or twice a year then can go back and focus on food the next time he is in the cafeteria. Maybe we can make it a reward to go and eat lunch with Mrs. Shannon and _____. Since he finishes so quick in the class maybe we can go to the lunch room to sit and increase his time and noise tolerance.

    We cleant he tables in the cafeteria as part of our job, but ARA runs the cafeteria and they do not like us doing that and heaven forbid we do the floors too, they have all these rules they follow so short of moving him someplace new I am not sure, he already sits at the end of the table facing the wall.

    Thanks for the input ladies. I still may try the headphones and see how he does, I just hate to call attention to him like that, our group already gets looked at, we are in HIgh School.
     
  6. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Dec 5, 2006

    Our resource autism classes run a "Lunch Bunch" group. The students choose regular ed. students to join them for lunch in their classroom. The focus mainly on social conversation while they eat lunch. The teachers may have conversation starters or pictures set up so that the students can use them in order to aide them in their verbal exchanges. If they finish lunch early I believe they play games in which verbal exchanges are a must. Since you are in a high school maybe you could get some students to volunteer to join you for lunch in your classroom -- maybe they can get extra credit....
     
  7. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    Does he like music? Maybe you could try a discman? Will he tolerate the headphones with music playing through them? It might look more socially appropriate--maybe you could try the "big" headphones like you see DJ type people wearing? Just a thought...

    It's hard because I am picturing my OWN floor-crawling middle schooler who also had sensory overload issues in the cafeteria, but I doubt he's actually anything like yours. He liked music but would NOT tolerate headphones (even just headphones to buffer noise). He crawled on the floor typically to try to eat any food that had been dropped, so it is a different sort of function.

    I hated lunch in the cafeteria for my guys because it was them, at a time, doing the same behaviors with the same people they saw all day long in my classroom. My kids got their lunches before the general education students did, and had virtually NO interaction with them. If modeling is one of the major points of inclusion, it seems a lot of lunch rooms are missing the boat. That's why I personally wouldn't freak out about him eating in the room.

    Good luck with the headphones!!
     
  8. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    This is just the sort of thing I meant! You would be able to provide so much more direct social skills instruction for your student, and it would probably be more meaningful for him.
     

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