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 The Importance of Engagement in Learning Students with autism and intensive needs may miss opportunities for engagement from infancy because of the underlying characteristics of their autism (difficulty imitating actions or words of others, poor eye contact, shows little interest in response to praise, prefers alone activities). Research has shown that active engagement is the best predictor of academic outcomes for students with disabilities. (Bulgren & Carta, 1993; Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber & Kincaid, 2003) Big Idea Active engagement in meaningful learning experiences is crucial to student success. What is Engagement? Some Examples of Engagement: Eye contact Reaching to others Pointing to desired object Handing someone a book with desire to read Clapping in response to an echo game Says “moo” when singing Old MacDonald in response to “a cow says…” Strategies for Building Engagement Floor play One on one structured table work Using demand fade Floor Play: Building Social Interactions This is about building a relationship with a student and beginning where the student is: • Sit near the student to build his/her comfort • Positively comment on his/her activities • Gradually join the activity • Seize opportunities to build on his/her activities (introduce new ways of playing with the toy) • Gradually increase length of interaction and expand More Social Interaction Strategies for Engagement Engage in fun play routines several times, then PAUSE and wait for the student to reinitiate the routine. Use repetitive phrases or songs and have the student anticipate what is going to happen. Attempt to entice the child with motivating items. “Play dumb” and have the child take the lead and show you. Floor Play Helps to Build Social Interactions Set-up the classroom to provide lots of opportunities for the student to have to communicate to you for them to get what they want/need. For example: - favorite toys are on a high shelf - cups for juice are kept in the closet, out of sight Build in many opportunities during the day to build reciprocal, or back and forth social skills. - games of imitation - structured turn-taking games Big Idea Engagement starts with developing a relationship with the student, on his or her terms, meeting the student where he or she is. Structured Table Work Use Visual Supports (activity schedules, first/then and token boards) Use heavy reinforcement for activities and reinforce frequently, especially when it is new. Develop activities that are highly structured (known beginning, middle, end, and time to every activity). Make sure everyone in classroom is doing the exact same thing with student (write it down). Make sure to write down when a student has success or difficulty with the activity (keep data). Structured Table Work First Skills to Teach: - Joint Attention (Student is looking at the activity/task along with you.) - Imitation (Repeating your visual or physical actions.) - Play (Includes back and forth social interaction or mutual play) - Appropriate protesting/rejecting (activities that are not liked or preferred) Joint Attention Strategies Teach responding to gestures, head turns and eye gaze Prompt getting an object Teach use of gestures, head turns and eye gaze Follow another’s focus of attention (“look at that”) Use gestures to bring attention to objects Use gestures to comment on something unexpected (look at that monkey dancing) Big Idea Initially respond to all communication attempts and then increase expectations to more specific or appropriate communication. Basic Play and Interaction Skills Play Skills to Teach: Attending to play activity Appropriate sitting How to move objects (object manipulation) Matching (pictures and objects) Open-ended activities (non-structured play) Imitation with objects Motor imitation (touch toes, run in place) Simple direction following Basic Play and Interaction Skills Teach Appropriate Ways to Protest/Reject “All done” “Stop” “No” “Take a break” Teaching “Break” Introduce and teach the steps to take a break. Teach and use a “break” card, especially for students who do not have verbal communication Demonstrate the steps to take a break. Decide on a “Break Area” and set the amount of time for a break. Student must come back to the activity/task after the break is over Use lots of reinforcement when student follows the steps. Teaching “Wait” Introduce and teach the steps to “wait”. Teach and use a “wait” card, especially for students who do not have verbal communication. Start with VERY short periods of time and gradually increase Practice “wait” with student, gradually increasing time for waiting. Use a token board and high rates of reinforcement, especially when first teaching and practicing “wait” Importance of Imitation Teaching imitation relies on the fact that the student can do what you do. If a child does not have social attention, then imitation will not occur. You must then work on joint attention more. Teaching students to watch others and do as they do helps them to learn to use objects and toys for functional (and meaningful) purposes, imitate facial movement needed to make sounds, and follow along with the group. (Wetherby & Prizant, 1992) Teaching Imitation Step One: -Simple actions (i.e. block in bucket, ring on stacker) - Complex actions (i.e. roll car on table, stack blocks) Step Two: -Related actions (i.e. put man in car and roll, put baby in cradle and rock) - Unrelated actions (i.e. put block in bucket and ring on stacker) Step Three: - Related action with theme-based toy (i.e. farm, doll house) Generalization or Extension of Imitation -Pretend play with props (i.e. kitchen play) - Peer imitation - Learning by watching (Harris & Weiss, 1998) Teaching Motor Imitation One-Step Commands: -Large or gross motor in chair (i.e. clap hands, stomp feet) - Gross motor out of chair (i.e. jump) - Small or fine motor (i.e. point, make a fist) - Facial (i.e. stick out tongue, shut eyes) Two-Step Commands: -Related commands (i.e. stand up and jump) - Unrelated commands (i.e. clap and touch nose) Three-Step Commands: - (i.e. stand up, jump and clap hands) Peer Imitation Generalization or Extension of Imitation - Actions to songs, obstacle course, imitation games such as “Simon Says” (Harris & Weiss, 1998) Demand Fade: Definition Demand Fade is a behavioral approach on working with a student to learn a new skill, a skill that has not been mastered and needs practice, or a task that is not liked/preferred by the student. Steps in Using Demand Fade 1. Break the task into its smallest parts 2. Using a visual support, show the “first work, then break” framework 3. Use high levels of reinforcement 4. Gradually develop the student’s capacity and stamina for work 5. Reinforcement gradually be lessened as the student progresses 6. This method should be used for new or difficult tasks for the student. Big Idea It is very important to find what motivates the student, use high levels of reinforcement when skills are being taught, and then lessen the frequency of the reinforcement as the skill is used independently by the student.