Para-Educator Training - Polk County Public Schools

Educator Training
A Practical Guide For
Working With
Students With Autism
Spectrum Disorders
Ruth Lee
Pat Krouson
Denisse Santos
Leslie Allore
“If you have seen one child with Autism or
Asperger’s Syndrome, you have seen
just that….one child with Autism or
Asperger’s Syndrome.”
What is Autism ?
• Complex and Lifelong Developmental
• The Result of a Neurological Disorder That
Affects the Brain
• Impacts Development in the Areas of Social
Interaction and Communication Skills
• Spectrum Disorder Displaying any
Combination of Stereotyped, Communicative
and Social Behaviors
Stereotyped Behaviors
• Avoids eye contact
• Flicks or flaps hands/fingers in front of face or
at sides
• Licking/ smelling objects
• Spinning/ turning in circles
• Rocks back and forth
• Rapid or darting movements
• Makes high-pitched sounds or other noised for
• Cognitive Inflexibility (difficulty transitioning,
breaking routine, and concrete language)
Communicative Behaviors
• Repeats or echoes words (sometimes over and over
• Speaks using abnormal tone or rhythm
• Responds inappropriately to simple commands
• Avoids looking at speaker when name is called
• Does not initiate conversation
• Uses “yes”, “no”, and “I” incorrectly
• Uses gestures instead of speech or signs to have
wants and needs met
• Babbles
• Does not “read” non-verbal behaviors of others (facial
expressions, body language)
Social Behaviors
Resists physical contact
Does not imitate others in play
Appears standoffish in social settings
Looks through people
Laughs or cries inappropriately
Uses toys and other objects inappropriately
Has difficulty with change in routine
Does certain tasks repetitively, ritualistically
Lines up objects in orderly fashion, becomes upset if
order is disturbed
• Lack of Theory of Mind (Lack of or reduced empathy)
What is Asperger’s
• Similar to autism in respect to stereotyped behaviors
and impaired social skills
• Not usually a significant language delay
• Cognitive development and self-help skills also not
typically delayed
Facts and Statistics
• No known cause
• No known cure
• Known to occur across all racial, ethnic
and socio-economic boundaries
• 3 to 4 times more common in boys than
• 1 in every 110 births is affected
ASD Students In The
School Setting
Self-contained Autistic classrooms
Varying Exceptionality classrooms
ESE Resource classrooms
Inclusion classrooms with/ without
additional support
• Regular Education classrooms
Effective Strategies for
ASD Students
Behavior Management Systems/ Support
Communication Systems/ Training
Prompting and Fading
Sensory-Motor Training
Social Skills Training
Visual Strategies
Additional Supports
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
Adult Support
Peer Support
Assistive Technology
Individual Education Plan (IEP)/504 Plan
Communication Systems
• Picture Exchange Communication
System (PECS)
• Assistive Technology
• Verbal Behavior Training
• Natural Language Facilitation
Sensory- Motor Training
• Many students with autism have difficulty
maintaining their level of sensory stimulation
(loud noises, large crowds, light, etc).
• Use of structured physical activities such as
rhythm , body awareness, and “heavy work”,
can help increase sensory regulation.
• Sensory diet or schedule of specific sensory
activities (OT can help).
Social Skills Training
Social Times
Peer mediated strategies
Social Stories
ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder
ABA- Applied Behavior Analysis
APE- Adaptive Physical Education
BIP-Behavior Intervention Plan
ESE- Exceptional Student Education
FBA- Functional Behavior Analysis
FIN- Florida Inclusion Network
IEP- Individual Education Plan
OT- Occupational Therapy
PECS- Picture Exchange Communication System
PT-Physical Therapy
S/L- Speech Language
• Twachtman-Cullen, D. (2000). How to be a
Para Pro. Higganum, CT: Starfish Specialty
• Duvall County Schools., Allore L., Prince L.,
Stidham, J. (2004). Polk County Schools
Program Manual for Serving Students with
Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bartow, FL: Polk
County Schools.

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