This is A Kicker, Be Prepared!

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by AspieTeacher, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2006

    Hello Fellow Colleagues,

    I need your advice right now. I am attempting to assist a brand new co-worker next door who works with a classroom with students who are much lower functioning autistic, multi-disabled, severely developmentally delayed. There are about five students who have autism in the classroom. Their functioning level varies from 7months ('m not joking) up to (18 months). The other four students have mixed disabilities (autistic spectrum disorders, severe developmental delays, and profound mental retardation). There are a total of about eight students in the classroom. The students are all ambulatory and don't use wheelchairs. There are five adult paraeducators to assist. The main teacher works with at least three students who don't have behavior aides, but one of them requires total assistance with feeding, toileting, and other related abilities. This student is not able to do any activity without being physically motored and prompted during the entrie activity. Her functioning level is around 6-7months. Another student with autism will run around the room and make siren sounds, even if he has a structured activity placed in front of him. The third student has autism and she will run around the room if she doesn't want to do a given activity. The classroom paraeducator has to watch a physically violent student who will BITE other students without being provoked. He is not able to help her with the other three students she has to work with. The other students in the room all have 1-1 behavior assistants who REFUSE to help her when their students are engaged in activities. It's really frustrating. I'm doing my best to help her as much as possible, but I have seen that there is no autsim program that is made to structure students with severe autism without having some form of 1:1 teaching which is practiclly IMPOSSIBLE in her room. She uses a photograph schedule, but it isn't working with the students. I really feel for this brand new teacher. She feels so overwhelmed, but she says that it's very frustrating to have to baby-sit the ADULTS in the room. I wish someone could offer some advice to help her. Only a few students in the room are able to perform simple activities such as mutch, and sort (less than three of them). I would love to offer suggestions, but even the suggestions seem too high for her students.

    AspieTeacher
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 14, 2006

    I don't have a whole lot of advice, but one of the REALLY low ASD kids at my old school used an object schedule... for snack or lunch, there was a container of food, for bathroom, was a diaper or container with a diaper, etc, particular areas of the room used a particular object (a toy bus for the play area, etc)... He was NOT able to transition with picture cues, but was able to function with the actual object cue. If the photo schedule isn't working, maybe an object schedule would.

    It almost sounds like the aides are as hard to manage as the kids are! One of the teachers I worked under as a para had her "Assistant notebook" that she gave all of us at the beginning of the year... it had ALL of her expectations in it. She went over it with us, and we were responsible for anything in it... simple stuff like recording data in notebooks, who takes breaks when, what do do when it isn't time to go but you've finished everything assigned for the day, etc. It was REALLY helpful to know her expectations right away. Maybe your teacher friend can set up a meeting with ALL her classroom staff and go over what she needs and allow them to ask questions all together. I found having regular team meetings last year made a HUGE difference in how my classroom ran!
     
  4. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2006

    Clarnet,

    She did have a meeting with them about what she expects and they are "slowly" seeing how quick she will give in. There is one paraeducator who is in this for "the money" as well. He is usually late, takes extra breaks, and leaves earlier than expected and has an attitude with people when they catch him. He thinks because he has been a paraeducator for twenty years, nothing can happen to him. I told her that she needs to speak to our principal about this. She is new and is afraid they will try to retaliate against her. I'm willing to take Saturday to assist her with the physical organization of the classroom. She doesn't know what to do. I've already sent email to our principal about this issue and he hasn't responded lately.

    AspieTeacher
     
  5. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2006

    For my students who function at the 7-18 month level, I try to emphasize sensory experiences and motor experiences in the context of academic concepts. So, we'll do a unit on the sun (same as same-grade gen. ed. peers), and we'll read "informational text" on it--with lots of pictures--but skills I'm looking at are attention, looking at the person reading, helping to turn the page. We'll do crafts related to the sun using a variety of texture/sensory type materials, and a variety of fine motor skills to practice. A couple of my students have OT goals of tolerating hand-over-hand assistance.

    I agree with Clarnet that the object schedule might help--I just made one myself--and also, object choices for activities when a choice is appropriate.

    I would just encourage your co-worker to remember that while what she is doing may not feel "academic" and like what EVERYONE else is teaching, the most important thing she can do is identify where her students are and help them to take steps to being MORE independent and MORE communicative than they are right now. These are small steps, you have to find someone who understands that and will get excited with you when they happen! (for me it's my OT). Good luck . . .
     
  6. shwal

    shwal Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2006

    Thank you, AspieTeacher for being so willing to help this new teacher-and sticking your neck out with the principal. I have been in situations where the para/paras were unwilling to take direction. The outcome hinged on whether or not administration was willing to back me up. I hope the principal will respond in support of this teacher. Certainly the one to one assistants should lend a hand-it will only benefit their assigned students to have the whole class responding to the classroom structure. Is there a special ed. administrator (here they are called program managers) who could get involved?
     
  7. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Sep 16, 2006

    I ran into this my first year teaching--I was hired to 'fix' a classroom and given a para who had been there for more than ten year. She hated EVERY SINGLE THING I tried to implement, spoke rudely to me, and suggested to my supervisors that I was racist and exploiting her. I was going home crying every night, DREADING my classroom. Finally, my adminstration stepped in and had a meeting where they made it clear to her under no uncertain terms that if she wanted to run my classroom, she needed to return to school and obtain the proper certification; otherwise, she was welcome to voice her opinions in an appropriate way, and if she was unable to do so, she would be put on an improvement plan. Things definitely improved.

    Your co-worker should first try to solve things herself (which it sounds like she has) and then call on administration for some back-up.
     
  8. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Sep 16, 2006

    We have a classroom like that next door to me, I bow down at that teachers feet she is so good she is handling 5 students like that with littel to no help from her Aide, her Aide checked out this year because she interviewed for my teaching job and blew her interview big time, so now she does not want to be there, and they lost their other Aide becuaese she was useless, this teacher told her principal that she would rather not have any aide at all than have that aide taking up space and demanding her time over the kids. She said that was the best thing int eh world is getting rid of that Useless body (the Aides) she then contacted the Special Ed Department inour district and they are now looking for a trained Paraproffessional for her class, that takes time. I would suggest goign to your SPED Department, our principal had a death in her familyand had told this teacher it would help her out greatlya nd things would get done sooner if she did this and then told our whole depratment if yoou need something contact them they are better versed to handle these situations of getting new Aides. Maybe e-mail the principal and say would you mind if I contacted them. Sorry to say most new teachers do not want to buck the systemt he first eyar and cause too much trouble they want to act like they have it all together, unfortunaltely the teacher that had my room last year was a first year teacher and never reported any Physical attacks by one of my students because she was afraid they would tell her she was teaching him wrong.

    Good Luck, that is a hard class and I admire anyone who can do that class day after day.
     
  9. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 16, 2006

    Hello everyone,

    They don't call me the AspieTeacher for nothing. I went over to the teacher next door on Friday afternoon and said, "well, when do we begin moving things around?" She had a big smile and we spent from 3pm until 8pm re-organizing the room. She made "cubicles" for the students so they know their own working areas. Each of the students has his/her own shelf access. She has the main table in the small group, DIS (speech, ot) area. It's a good start so far. I was exhausted, but she was willing to make a better change for these kids. I was so proud of her. I felt like I was on top of the world when she took the initiative. I told her no matter what happens in that classroom, I will back her up. I will also tell the principal this is the best structure for her students because they need less distractions and much more visual structure and organization. I was willing to help a former experienced teacher, but she wasn't willing to go with the effort. She was moved from the classroom and blamed the principal. The truth is, she could care less about the students. So far, it's starting to look better in there. I'm going to take some baskets over there to help her set up the individual areas for the student. Thanks again for the support and advice and sharing your stories. Well, it's Saturday and i'm looking forward to helping her again.

    Troy in Downey, CA
    AspieTeacher (I proudly embrace my own and my students' autism)
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 16, 2006

    Troy, you are a wonder. There's no telling how far the ripples from this thread may spread. Thank you and bless you.
     
  11. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Sep 16, 2006

    This sounds like TEACCH structured teaching--that's how my classroom was set up and I LOVED it! I bet it will make a big difference!
     
  12. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2006

    Ellen,

    I have seen TEACCH implemented in a FEW classrooms. I'm really amazed how many teachers will not even make an attempt to help the students learn more efficiently. I have decided to take it into my own hands to make a difference for a brand new student I have recieved from fourth grade who is used to being in an environment where there is no structure. I have set up a small table in the back of the room where I can work almost 1:1 with my most severe students who aren't able to perform tasks with pencil and paper. I have a special cart with the materials and activities structured so that I can assist as necessary. I don't mind the other students who are able to handle working at their desks coming to my area for needed assistance. Ellen, I've never been able to attend a TEACCH workshop or training in the six years that I've been teaching students with autism. I have been added to the list of teachers who were given permission to attend a 3-day inservice in Novemember (WHOO HOO!). I promise to do my best to implement the strategies that I've learned in the TEACCH program. I really love working with this higher functioning group more. I can't wait to help my co-teacher with structuring the tasks so that her students can become independent to the best of their individual abilities.

    Troy in Downey, CA
    AspieTeacher
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Sep 21, 2006

    I just got word that my county will also be providing TEACCH classes. It will be evening classes and about 40 minutes away:( , but I would love to attend. I am just hoping that they allow us Mild Autism teachers attend too.
     

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