Teaching Strategies for an Autistic child (2nd grade)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by thera0705, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. thera0705

    thera0705 Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2009

    This is my 3rd year teaching. I have taught 1st grade, 4th grade, and now 2nd grade. This year I will have an autistic boy in my class. He normally does very well, but has some melt downs. I was wanting to know if anyone had strategies or websites that may help me map out my classroom or schedule to best benefit him. Thank you!
     
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  3. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2009

    I am no expert, but here is my experience: I ST in a 2nd grade class with an autistic child. The best thing was that he had a full time shadow and she was a major help. The teacher made sure not to acknowledge when his behavior was inappropriate. If he was acting out, then he had to leave, even if the aide had to escort him out. I think it is very important you at least have a contact in the office who can come get the child if he becomes a major problem. You just can't handle those outbursts alone. They are not rational, and you have other small children to deal with. I would just also suggest that this child remains in the same chair the whole year. Sometimes autistic kids have trouble with change and staying the same seat all year is at least a small way to help him out.

    When the child had to leave the room for inappropriate behavior, he was escorted to a special room. It was a like a large closet and all it had was one desk where he had to sit and do dittos until he calmed down and could return to class. This way, it was reinforcing him to want to be in class and not going somewhere fun when he had to leave.
     
  4. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 18, 2009

    I have had several children with autism in my 2nd grade classroom and the things I would suggest are:

    1) a quiet place in your classroom away from the others for your child to go to when feeling and/or becoming overstimulated. NOT a time out area, but rather a safe, quiet place away from everyone's eyes. I have a great spot underneath my computer desk that when I put my teacher's desk beside it creating an "L" shape, it is hidden away (but of course I can still see the child (or at least the lower part of their bodies) from the front of the room where I can make sure to keep an eye on them

    2) "Fidget" toys (things like koosh balls, rubic's cubes, floam, silly
    putty, things with cool textures, etc...) that can be used for sensory issues. I have kept one of two favorites in their quiet area for them to fiddle with when overstimulated. I have also used them as a tool...(e.g. When you complete 5 problems on your math paper, you get 5 minutes of "silly putty time", 5 more problems....etc....) This will give them a break from a worksheet that might appear overwhelming when looked at in it's entirety.

    3) Try to maintain as much of a schedule as possible. Lots of meltdowns occur when the child's schedule is disrupted. I don't mean that you have to do exactly the same thing every day, but a general schedule....Language, then Math, then bathroom break, then Reading.....etc.... IF your schedule does change, which we all know it will....discuss the change with your student in advance if possible to prepare them.

    4) Remember that when you ask them a question, and they don't immediately respond, they are processing what you are asking them. Don't use too many words.....and allow them time to process before expecting an answer.

    I'm sure there are more things that I've used/done, but those are the biggies. Good luck and enjoy your student.....all of the students I've had with autism I have really enjoyed!:thumb:
     
  5. thera0705

    thera0705 Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2009

    One question....

    Thank you both very much. I have just a place for him that will be perfect. I have another question, how do you give him the 5 min. of play time without the whole class wanting that as well? I have a schedule on the wall with cut-outs prepared for the interruptions and a morning routine schedule on his desk. Do you think this will work?
     
  6. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2009

    The above posts are great ideas! Pictures are important for many autistic children.
    I would use lots of visuals. Boardmaker is great, but can be $$$. Social Stories(Carol Gray) can be very helpful for routine and unexpected things.(fire drill, etc.) I also liked using the "I need a break" card. Student can hold it up if they need a break. I even use this with many typical students! These students-like all students-have many different needs. You'll find out what works!
     
  7. newbie0809

    newbie0809 Companion

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    Jul 19, 2009

    I also st in a second grade classroom with an autistic child. This is what happened in the classroom

    1. He had a desk somewhat seperated from the class but not so much where he was completely by himself

    2. She was lucky enough to get an aide in the middle of the year that was always with him even during special areas

    3. The aide created a chart that had 5 velcro dots. Everyday he had the potential to earn 5 bears. If he earned them he earned 30 minutes computer time his favorite thing to do. He could also lose them for things like minor outburts. If outbursts were severe she would take him out of the room until he was calm

    3. He was not always able to express how he was feeling so she took a picture of him with a mad face happy face and sad face and laminated them to a poster he would point to the one he was feeling. She also had his laminated handprint taped to the desk for him to place his hand on while he worked. This helped keep him focused. She also allowed frequent water breaks which is something that helped him when overstimulated. He did try to abuse it when he didn't want to work but its up to you where to draw those lines

    4.The most important thing is to be consistent and firm as you would with your other kids. If he does something to have a bear removed (or whatever you choose to do) he may have an outburst. Have him remove it anyway. He will calm down but make sure you explain to him what he did in a way he can understand
     
  8. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 19, 2009

    When I would do the 5 min. of work/5 min. of sensory time, I would usually be sitting in my desk, and my student would be in his "cubby hole" which was right beside me....so it was not done in front of everyone. However...if you needed to, you could quietly "make the deal" with the student, and then after 5 minutes of working in their seats, they could slip away to their cool off spot. ALWAYS use a timer......provides lots of structure for this strategy.
     
  9. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 19, 2009

    ....and to answer your question about the other students also wanting to be included in the "play time"....I would hesitate to do that during class time b/c it always becomes a problem. So this is when I explain that being fair is everyone getting what they NEED...not everybody having the same thing all the time and that this is what little Johnny needs to be able to do his work the best he can.
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2009

    Everyone's said exactly what I was going to recommend. It sounds like you already have a good start with your schedule on his desk and everything that was already prepared too! I'm sure it will be a great year for you and this little guy!
     
  11. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2009

    This information has been a great help to me as well because I wil be having 2 autsitc children. (first time) no aide:( I hope I do the right thing so keep the ideas coming.
     
  12. jillybean

    jillybean Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2009

    I have a autstic room. Our ratio is 6 to 2.

    I have a quiet place in my room that any child can use. I have a timer that I set for 5 mins. When I notice that they are using a lot, I make sure to ask them why they are having so much trouble and we work on it.

    I also tell the class at the beginning of the year that if they are in the quiet place and they miss work they will have to take it home.
     
  13. thera0705

    thera0705 Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2009

    These ideas are great!!! What do you think is best? The reward bears or the schedule or both and the hand print. I don't want his desk to be the problem of the over-stimulations.
     
  14. mot

    mot Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2009

    As the mother of a 6 year old on the Autism Spectrum, I suggest that you find out as much information about the student from his parents. Find out what upsets him, what he likes, what kind of structure they have at home (if any), consequences, rewards etc. You might be able to prevent meltdowns if he has any. Also, there are so many books out there about autism...read as much as you can on the subject! One very important thing to remember is that not all kids with autism are alike... One size DOES NOT fit all! My son has meltdowns at home but not at school!!!

    If your student does have a meltdown or acts out, as a teacher I would find out why he is acting the way he is... instead of just sending him out to a room (especially a closet) :eek: I had a student with Asperger's Syndrome in third grade last year and he got upset with me when he didn't get his way. He would even throw his books or whatever was on his desk at the time. I was very stern with him just like with all my other students, and when this happened I would call him outside and speak to him to find out why he was acting a certain way. If he needed some time to cool off, I allowed that time and always sent him to get a drink of water. Like I said before not all students with an ASD are the same. We have to take care and protect these children just as much as we do all of our "normal" students.

    Also, if your student doesn't make friends easily or the other students avoid playing with him you will have to intervene. Talk to your students about the importance of accepting others' differences.

    One last thing, it was mentioned to have the child remain in the same chair the whole year...I don't recommend this. Yes, it's true a lot of kids with ASD have a hard time with change (my son does!) In the "real world" things are constantly changing. If you need to move your desks, tables, chairs etc. I would talk to the student about the change. At my school when we have certain benchmarks we act like we would the day of the standardized tests. Which means desks and chairs need to be moved. What I did with my student was asked him where in the room he would feel more comfortable taking the test (I actually did this with all my easily distracted students). Of course, I suggested where and explained why. Everytime we had a benchmark and the standardized tests he knew where his desk was going to be moved to and we had no problems changing.

    Last thing, I agree 100% with divey (post #3).
     
  15. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 21, 2009

    I totally agree with the comment about allowing any child to use the quiet place. It is NOT a time out area, and some kids just need a quiet place that's a wee bit secluded to be able to function better (I know when I'm reading, it's hard for me to concentrate when there's too much outside noise). I have a quiet zone in my classroom every year whether or not I have a child with autism. Not only that, but I have had students who were self-conscience about using the spot, but when all students have access....it removes the stigma.
     
  16. sundrop

    sundrop Cohort

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    Jul 21, 2009

    I haven't worked very closely with many autistic children, but read a very good book last week called Anything But Typical. It is a fiction novel for middle grades students about a 6th grade boy with autism written from his perspective. It may give you some insight as to how an autistic student perceives the actions of his teacher and classmates. Also how the teacher and classmates misunderstand his actions or lack thereof. I found it very eye-opening.
     
  17. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2009

    This thread has been informative.. I have two boys with Autism this year (both high functioning).
     

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