School Training Module 4 Getting the Student Ready to Learn

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
 Module Five: Structuring the Classroom
 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
 Module Fourteen: Functional Behavior Assessment
 Module Fifteen: Working Together as a Team
 Module Sixteen: Autism and Leisure Skills to
 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
 Floor play
 One on one structured table work
 Using demand fade
Floor Play: Building Social
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
 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
 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
Basic Play and Interaction
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
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
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
 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
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.

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