The Basics of Autism Spectrum Disorders Training Series Regional Autism Advisory Council of Southwest Ohio (RAAC-SWO) RAAC Training Committee 2011 Training Series Modules Module One: Autism Defined, Autism Prevalence and Primary Characteristics Module Two: Physical Characteristics of Autism Module Three: Cognition and Learning in Autism Module Four: Getting the Student Ready to Learn Module Five: Structuring the Classroom Environment Module Six: Using Reinforcement in the Classroom Training Series Modules Module Seven: Autism and Sensory Differences Module Eight: Sensory in the Classroom Module Nine: Communication and Autism Module Ten: Communication in the Classroom Module Eleven: Behavior Challenges and Autism Module Twelve: Understanding Behavior in Students with Autism Training Series Modules Module Thirteen: Social Skills in the School Environment Module Fourteen: Functional Behavior Assessment Module Fifteen: Working Together as a Team Module Sixteen: Autism and Leisure Skills to Teach Module Seventeen: Special Issues of Adolescence Module Eighteen: Safety and Autism Module Nineteen: Special Issues: High School, Transition, and Job Readiness Training Series Modules Module Twenty: Asperger Syndrome: Managing and Organizing the Environment Module Twenty-One: Asperger Syndrome: Addressing Social Skills When arranging a classroom environment for a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder one must consider 3 things: 1. Physical Structure 2. Visual Supports 3. Work Systems Big Idea The way an environment is organized and laid out is one of the most important factors for success in the classroom. Physical Structure Physical structure should be considered in any environment the student with autism is going to be in, including: classrooms, hallways, lunch room, recess, locker/cubby areas. The furniture, desks, and carpet areas are arranged in a way that the student knows where an area begins and where it ends. The arrangement of the room should decrease auditory and visual stimulation. Materials should be organized and stored not in view of the students. Physical Structure in Different Environments Visual Supports Visual supports are a way to take what a student hears and put it into picture/word form. Visual supports should be portable (able be carried or moved) so that they can travel with the student if necessary. Visual supports should not be taken away or utilized only sometimes. Visual supports are more than just putting labels on various items. Reasons to Use Visual Supports Improves predictability (student knows what is coming next) Provides clear expectations (what work, how much work, when am I finished) Promotes independence Creates structure to environments that are often confusing Reduces anxiety Reduces behavioral difficulties Establishes trust Use as a contract (do this work, then you get this reward) Examples of Visual Supports Visual Schedules (picture, words, calendar) Group Schedules Directions Labels First/Then Board Visual Schedules The goal of a visual schedule is for the student to INDEPENDENTLY move from activity to activity, or classroom to classroom within the school day. Schedules need to be portable and easy to use. They should not be taken away. The schedule can be made using objects, pictures, words, whatever works best for the student Big Idea Students, even those with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome, may always need some form of a visual schedule in order to be successful. Examples of Visual Schedules Written Schedule. The student checks off the activity as the school day progresses. Picture schedule. The student takes the picture and matches it to the same picture in the area the activity will be taking place. Group Schedules Communicates to students what activities will occur during group time and what will happen when group is finished (wait chair icon) Directions Decreases need for verbal directions. Increases independence. First / Then Boards Consider this familiar scene… The teacher wants student to complete assigned work. The student wants to play a computer game. Solution: Provide a first/then board that communicates to the student the ‘work’ they have to do, then the reward they get. Visual Supports Visual supports are a way to solve problems. Ask yourself the following questions: What do you hear yourself saying over and over? What do you hear students asking you over and over? Where is the student breaking down? The answers to these questions lead you toward where visual supports should be implemented. Big Idea “If you’ve told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner.” Attributed to Walter Barbee Work Systems Work systems provide clear and predictable routines. Work systems increase engagement and on task behavior. Work systems promote independence. Work systems provide opportunities for students to practice skills that have already been TAUGHT to them. Work systems can be utilized to practice academic skills, daily living skills, recreation skills, and leisure skills. Work Systems Work systems can be utilized in multiple environments including the classroom, lunch room, gym, office, community, and home. Work systems contain activities the student already knows how to do on their own. Work systems can be utilized to practice academic skills, leisure skills, daily living skills, and recreational skills. The goal of work systems is for the student to complete the activities with no adult assistance. Work Systems Work systems are organized from left to right. Work systems answer the following questions: What is the work to be done? How much work? When am I finished? What do I do when I am finished? Big Idea The main purpose of a work system is to develop a way that the student completes a task independent of an adult’s assistance.