Teaching Children with Autism

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Miss J. Pre-K, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2008

    It's my first year full-time teaching . . . although I've been an aide for years. I work in a pre-k classroom with 18 students, 3 with disabilities: one speech/ESL, one undiagnosed autism (he's labeled "developmentally delayed"), and one other health impairment (with tubular sclerosis).

    Child 1 who gets speech therapy doesn't have any major problems that I see, except he's hesitant to talk (probably because he's ESL). I don't think I'll need help with him.

    Child 2 with autism I privately call "the wanderer". He wanders around the classroom, gets up from meals when he sees something interesting in the room, doesn't seem to be able to wash his hands independently (just stands there unless told step by step what to do). He also has to fall asleep with a teacher rocking him because he disturbs the class if he doesn't fall asleep. I asked the current teacher if she had asked his therapist for a weighted blanket, and she didn't know what that was.

    Child 3 with tubular sclerosis I think also has autism--she rocks herself, bangs her hand to her face, and I've been told she's on a one-year-old level. She doesn't speak and is beginning to sign using ASL. She loves music, but gets upset easily. She is going to have a one-on-one, but right now, the one-on-one is my assistant until my new assistant is hired.

    I need suggestions about how to do transitions, circle time, etc. Picture charts? Picture cards? Things to help at naptime and at mealtimes? Honestly, the current teacher has not been doing lesson plans or circle time while she was there. :help:
     
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  3. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 6, 2008

    brings back memories

    Are the remaining 15 typically developing? Just wondering. And what are the expectations by the adm of what you will cover during a year w/ the classroom as a whole. Are you working towads the Head Start objectives?

    After all that info. I would say that picture scheduaels are great for getting the children to predict what will happen next. After you get the children to work w/ scheduals and to know that there will be circle and what not the pixs are usually more usefull IMO.

    I have had my share of undiagnosed students on the spectrum. And the wandering you describe is a big issue here. We have the children for several years-so now all I have to say is "check-you have the wandering feet" or "what is your plan" - if they have a plan, even if it isn't one I like to much they can try it (within reason). We are very big on having plans. However, we worked up to that - in the beginning we were wandering compuslively as well.

    BTW-I was really able to get many of my students to open up when I showed them the light table for the first time. I would turn it off and let is sit and get used for other things-puzzles or what have you. Then uncover it and Oh wow. The wander and look up close type children would really react well to the transulucent pieces on the light table. For them, the tiniest ones were the best. We were finally able to sort and what not.

    I remember using that to keep the wandering ones learning and then using that tiny pocket of time to race through circles' sitting time and try to get to the stand and sing part before they lost interest. That was exhausting.

    What are the other 15 doing?
     
  4. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Sep 6, 2008

    when ichild with worked as a 1-1 with a child with autism, I found that the picture schedules helped a great deal and gentle pressure helped as well when it was time to sit. is he receiving any services from and occupational therapist? i aslo found that if we did alot of jumping and running in place it helped so the teacher started having us jump up and down while we sid the alphabet and run in place while we counted and things like that-- and we tried to do some dancing or some kind of music and movement as a transition into cirlce---don't know if any of these ideas can be applied to your situatiion but I wish you luck
     
  5. dola0072

    dola0072 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2008

    I also have a child in my classroom that has autism. He wanders around the room constantly. When I tell him that it is time to sit on the carpet for circle time or something like that he tells me no. I don't know what to do either. He loves to sit on my lap and only my lap so that gets in the way of the other children learning. If he is not sitting with me he is all over the room and that distracts my other students. It is hard and I am willing to take suggestions as well if anyone has any.
     
  6. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    one thing to remember about children with autim is that they are still children and they ill try their boundaries----- itis okay to redirect them---another thing to remember is that many of them have a lot of sensory issues so you might find that a pillow to sit on will entice and help them to sit, sometimes evena mini bean bag beause it allows themto feel a bit of pressure around them, or you might try having them sit against a wall or in a chair. It's important to observe the child and see if you can find out what they use to self stim--- and use it---the child Iworked with was fixated on trains so we put train stickers on his papers at the beginning of the paper and when he finished he got another one at the end. A picture of a train on the wall near cirlce might have helped focus his attention, I made sit upons (I made them for the whole class so that the ohers wouldn't feel left out) out of cloth and fabric paint with their names on them and a picture (of a train for him )to sit on at circle. It's important to answer the other children with simple truth if they ask questions. Johnny needs a little extra help to pay attention-- so he gets to use ___________, or something like that and you can always say Johnny's doctor says he needs_______, and usually the kids will be fine with it. they often will actually sometimes take a mother hen approach to Johnny and try to help him. keep the explanations simple and at their level and keep thems o that they feel good about being able to do things wi thout the extra help but also so that johnny doens't feel bad ab out needing it. I can tell you that flourescent lights were a real bad thing and we ended up taking some of the bulbs out--they actally put off a hum and a flicker that most people can't see or hear but an austistic child often can ---vibrations throught the floor were also a big problem-- we couldn't feel it but he could---just formt he traffic goind by since we were int he basement and one day he was really off and we couldn't figure out why until we went out side and saw that up the street the road crew was using a jackhammer on the pavement. i also couldn't wear makeup with any kind of smell to it, no perfume and no buy print on my clothing (thinnk coor blocks-solid colors) because it would set him off as too overstimulating. the room had to be toned way down as well. I don't mean to go one, just thought maybe some of my experiences might help you thinnk of something that you could try or change.
     
  7. Bellebellecs

    Bellebellecs Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2008

    I know this is somewhat labor intensive but I have found that Picture books with the steps of each activity really work with students with Autism. One little boy I worked with keeps his in his pocket.

    For example for washing hands the steps are

    1. Walking to sink
    2. Waiting in line.
    3. Turning on water
    4. Getting Soap
    5. Rubbing hands together
    6. Rinsing with water
    7. Getting paper towel
    8. Drying hands with paper towel
    9. Turning water off with paper towel
    10. Throwing paper towel in trash.

    When I first introduce the book, I point out each step and verbally tell the child what they need to do next. It takes some time but then the child will slowly learn the steps.

    During circle time I gave weighted pillows to the child to keep on his lap. It made him comfortable and grounded.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I have great success with these photos too, remember you can put in the time upfront or later in redirection. I prefer to do it upfront. .Pixs are great for me.
     
  9. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2008

    To whomever asked . . . I have 3 children with IEPs, 3 more who tested low and may be getting an IEP, and 6 ESLs, one who speaks no English. Welcome to Headstart, lol.

    The fifteen other kids are doing okay, although they have started to try to forcibly make the male child with undiagnosed autism sit down at circle time by pushing on his shoulders, which we're trying to stop. I think it's hard to explain to the other children that he sometimes can't sit because he looks and acts relatively normal. I think they understand that the other girl is "different". The girl on a one-year-level still has no one-on-one, so I feel like we're shortchanging the other kids because I have to spend so much time with this one little girl. I brought in a rocking chair for her to sit in, and that helps a lot, although she still gets overwhelmed and requires a lot of attention.

    Access to a picture schedule is on the first child's IEP, so his occupational therapist asked me to make one. Yeah, because I have so much free time. I'm going to try it though. His "thing" seems to be alphabet letters and numbers . . . he's always pointing them out. At age four he knows most of the letters and all the ones in his name. Maybe I can do something with that at circle time. We do a lot of music/movement and I also call children up to do several things during circle--circle letters on our morning message, point out our days of the week, our calendar numbers, and our weather.

    I'd thought about defining his area with a carpet square at circle time. We might also try him sitting on a bean bag or holding onto something. Thanks for your ideas.
     

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