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Title: AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS


1
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
  • A starting guide for teachers
  • Kathy Meredith
  • Statewide Verification Professional
  • Support 2007

2
INTRODUCTION
  • Welcome!
  • This resource has been developed for teachers as
    a starting guide for when you have a student with
    an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in your class.
  • It provides information about ASD and
  • where to start
  • what to do
  • how to get support.

3
INFORMATION
  • PURPOSE
  • - to help increase your understanding and begin
    planning for students with Autism Spectrum
    Disorders.
  • Information included
  • Introduction to the nature of the disorders
  • Key skill areas and strategies
  • Recommended resources
  • Information links
  • The Support Plan
  • We have used a variety of services for advice,
    including Autism SA, SERU and Disability
    Coordinators.

4
INCREASE LEARNING
  • You may already know about Autism Spectrum
    Disorders and have many good teaching skills that
    support these students.
  • This resource is designed to help you to increase
    your learning and link you to further resources
    which may be of help.

5
CONTENTS
  • What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
  • Research and classification
  • Key skill areas
  • Communication and visual strategies
  • Social interaction
  • Behaviour and sensory issues
  • Key services
  • SERU, Autism SA and Disability SA
  • Starting information and resources
  • DECS Disability Support Program
  • The NEP and support plans
  • What to do a summary

6
ASD INFORMATION
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella
    description which includes autism and Aspergers
    syndrome.
  • Although these disorders share common features,
    their presentation varies in each individual
    across a spectrum of cognitive, social and
    communicative abilities and behavioural patterns.
  • The pattern and extent of difficulties
    can also change over time.
  • Autism Spectrum Website http//www.autismnsw.com.
    au

7
RESEARCH
  • Recent research suggests the prevalence of all
    autism spectrum disorders is 62.5 per 10 000
    population
  • 1 to 2 in 1000 for autism and 1 in 500 for
    Aspergers syndrome
  • ASD is 1 in 160 (age 6 -12) March 2007
  • Over 10 000 primary age children, 125 000 people
    in Australia
  • Autism and Aspergers syndrome are Pervasive
    Developmental Disorders
  • - lifelong and usually evident in childhood.
  • (from Australian Advisory Board on ASD)

8
QUOTATION
  • Autistic children do have a fascination which
    lies partly in the feeling that somewhere there
    must be a key which will unlock hidden
    treasures.
  • Lorna Wing 1989

9
CLASSIFICATION
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders are characterised by
    significant impairments in
  • communication
  • social interactions relationships
  • cognitive processing difficulties
  • repetitive behaviours and restricted patterns of
    interest and activity.
  • Autism SA website at http//www.autismsa.org.au
  • Australian Advisory Board at http//www.autismaus
    .com.au/aca/pdfs/PrevalenceReport.pdf

10
AUTISM CLASSIFICATION
  • Autism is a neurological disorder
  • a developmental disorder of the central
    nervous system (the brain)
  • Children with Autistic Disorder have a moderate
    to severe range of problems in
  • communication
  • socialization
  • behaviour
  • (restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns
    of behaviour, interest and activity).
  • Many children with autism also have a range of
    intellectual
  • disabilities, some are high functioning.
  • (DSM -1V criteria / CARS used for diagnosis by
    certified professionals)

11
ASPERGERS DISORDER
  • Also referred to as Aspergers syndrome
  • Aspergers syndrome is developmental disorder
    characterized by
  • Lack of social skills
  • Difficulty with social relationships
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor concentration
  • Restricted range of interests
  • Normal intelligence
  • Adequate language skills in areas of vocabulary
    and grammar, no significant delay in language
    development.
  • Aspergers syndrome appears to have later onset
    age.
  • Many people with Aspergers syndrome posses
    average to above average intelligence (splinter
    skills, autistic savants)

12
from Mozart and the Whale, 2007
  • We were a family of hopeless but absolutely
    brilliant geeks, forever different from the world
    around us.I should have been an only child,
    allowed to develop in quiet and cloistered
    seclusion. Instead, I was dropped in the middle
    of what seemed to be a perpetual war zone and Im
    still shell shocked from the experience.
  • Jerry and Mary Newport

13
SENSORY DIFFICULTIES
  • Many people with autism and Aspergers syndrome
    also have sensory sensitivities and as a result
    of their impairments, often experience
    over-whelming anxiety, frustration and confusion
    when faced with the everyday demands of life.

14
DECS SUPPORT PLAN
  • The development of an Autistic Disorder /
    Aspergers Disorder support plan is recommended
    to assist you in planning for the individual
    needs of a child.
  • Using the SUPPORT PLAN
  • - Helps to organise all the information gathered
    into sequential order.
  • - Guidance officers and disability coordinators
    can assist with developing this plan.
  • The plan can be used as an attachment to the NEP
    and covers the key areas to consider when working
    with students with ASD including
  • Safety and wellbeing
  • Sensory sensitivities / anxiety and stress
  • Strengths /interests /skills /motivators
  • Challenges
  • Social interaction /social skills
  • Communication, literacy numeracy
  • Behaviour and Supervision for safety
  • Training requirements for staff
  • Routines

15
So... I have a student in my class with autism,
what do I do?
  • Parents/caregivers are a valuable source of
    information
  • - build a positive relationship.
  • Use assessment information to find out if your
    student is diagnosed with autism or Aspergers
    syndrome.
  • Has the parent has agreed to accept services from
    Autism SA? (Info Line 1300 288 476). Seek
    permission to contact the Autism SA teacher
    /consultant for your school, who will be notified
    of new clients and is available for assistance,
    advice and support.
  • If the child is verified as a student with a
    disability, the district guidance officer or
    speech pathologist will already have gathered
    information. Refer to the disability coordinator
    from your district office to support you
    with planning and
    resources. 

16
So... I have a student in my class with autism,
what do I do?
  • Autism is a fascinating yet challenging area
    which is still being researched world wide.
  • Remember, feeling overwhelmed at first is normal,
    but you are not alone!
  • The more you read and the more training you
    attend, the more you will grow in your learning
    and understanding of the disorder
    which will help you set up your
    classroom program for success!

17
KEY SKILL AREAS
  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Behaviour

18
COMMUNICATION
  • A range of difficulties (both verbal and non
    verbal) can be a significant issue for children
    with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Improved communication reduces the incidence of
    challenging behaviours and is critical to
    learning and socialising at school.
  • Communication can occur through spoken or written
    words, pictures, symbols, signs, gestures and
    various devices.
  • The systems of communication need to match the
    students skills and needs which will vary for
    each child.
  • The speech pathologist is the best support for
    all communication issues (DECS speech pathology,
    a private therapist or Autism SA).
  • See
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Communication in the
    Special Education Classroom By Michelle Homewood
    (Certificate in Disability StudiesAutism 2004)
    -available from SVPST speech pathologists, Autism
    SA and on the SVPST website.
  • Visual Strategies for Improving Communication
    Practical Supports for School Home 1995
    Linda A Hodgdon (see Autism SA Resource Centre
    or Amazon.com)

19
COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES
  • Use short consistent language, clear and concise
    directions, name first!
  • Combine with visuals signs, gesture,
  • high five, thumbs up
  • Wait allow take up (processing) time
  • Dont assume understanding - check.
  • Be aware of literal interpretation
  • Teach the hidden social curriculum (social
    norms)
  • Provide advance information about next activity
    (preparation /visualisation)
  • Prepare for any change (advance warning).

20
VISUAL STRATEGIES
  • The use of visual strategies, schedules, signs,
    social stories etc is highly recommended.
  • Visual supports can be used to
  • help and enable the student to understand
  • show what is required
  • show what will happen (e.g. timetables)
  • support communication including making choices
  • encourage independence
  • provide reassurance
  • show feelings, emotions
  • teach social skills
  • support development of appropriate classroom
    behaviours
  • provide reward systems.

21
VISUAL STRATEGIES
  • The Communication and Language Disorder Support
    Service (CLDSS) located at SERU runs the
    following practical, classroom based ideas
    workshops throughout the year
  •  
  • Using Visual Strategies in the Classroom
  • - a collection of tools and ideas that scaffold
    communication by improving comprehension. Visual
    cueing systems support the classroom curriculum
    and behaviour programs.
  • Introduction to Boardmaker 5/6
  • - a graphics database containing over 4,000
    Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) that can be
    used to create a variety of visual
    communication tools.

22
Visuals for work tasks
Using Boardmaker
23
Visuals used for workstation activity groups
Special class visual timetable
Para Hills PS special class
24
Class Schedule
Individual work schedule
Modbury Special School
25
SOCIAL INTERACTION
  • Social interaction and the development of social
    skills is a major area of difficulty for students
    with ASD .
  • Theory of mind issues (Dr Uta Frith Dr Simon
    Baron-Cohen 1995)
  • - social relationship interaction difficulties
    or lack of central cohesion combined with
  • - impact of communication impairments.
  • social perception difficulties, lack of
    empathy, differing perspectives.
  • Intervention strategies
  • behavioural approaches (PBS ABA)
  • mentoring, social skills groups
  • explicit teaching of social skills and social
    stories.
  • teach the response or behaviour you want to
    happen.
  • Visual strategies are a life long support
    strategy to help with social understanding and
    social skills.
  • Theory of Mind by Stephen Edelson PhD
    (Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon)
    at http//www.autism.org/mind.html
  •  

26
from Mozart and the Whale, 2007
  • Conversing with an Aspie can quickly prove
    frustrating, as he tirelessly attempts to steer a
    conversation back to his specific area of
    interest, no matter what others want to discuss.
    They also takes things literally and are
    oblivious to subtle physical and verbal cues.
    Their social deficits are often extreme..when
    it comes to dealing with people, those of us
    dwelling on planet Aspergers just dont get it.
  • Jerry and Mary Newport

27
SOCIAL INTERACTION STRATEGIES
  • Interaction build relationships carefully
  • Be consistent with expectations
  • Dont expect children to want to work together
  • Allow take up time
  • Give clear direction, dont ask what they want to
    do limit choice
  • Use stop and wait..
  •  

28
BEHAVIOUR ISSUES?
  • What is the reason or motivation for the
    behaviour, what environmental factors are causing
    stress for the student?
  • What is the student trying to communicate by
    his/her behaviour?
  • Use the DECS
  • Autistic Disorder/Aspergers Disorder Support
    Plan!
  • Meet with Interagency Behaviour Management
    Coordinators, Autism SA teacher consultants and
    disability coordinators as part of NEP process
  • LaVigna Willis's (Institute of Applied
    Behaviour Analysis) positive practices articles,
    positive programming plans and proactive
    strategies are useful for dealing with students
    with autism. See the website. http//www.iaba.com
  • Investigate Positive Behaviour Supports (PBS)
  •  
  •  

29
BEHAVIOUR ISSUES?
  •  
  • A good resource is Solving Behavior Problems in
    Autism
  • (Visual Strategies Series) by Linda A. Hodgdon
  • Information from the NEP or support plan can be
    used as motivation or rewards for the student to
    shape behaviour, to negotiate compliance with
    work tasks and activities.
  • Complete non-preferred work tasks before
    preferred activities.
  • See a range of Information sheets on the Autism
    SA website
  • No 4 Challenging Behaviour No 6
    Inappropriate behaviours
  • No 16 Obsessions
  •  

30
Visual reward system
31
Visuals used for individual and class behaviour
reward systems
Individual class schedules
Gordon Education Centre
32
BEHAVIOUR
  • Behaviour can often be attributed or related to
  • Sensory sensitivities / overload (can be extreme)
  • Movement disorder (vestibular movement) - an
    inability to control ones movements, or a need
    for movement
  • Change(routine, sudden non predicted)
  • Anxiety or stress, state of arousal (note the
    individual causes)
  • Organisation or lack of organisation in their
    world
  • Lack of social perception leading to the student
    being misunderstood or set up (see theory of
    mind), bullying, harassment (especially in the
    yard).
  • Rigidity in thinking, wanting to have control
    over environment
  • Unable to express feelings or emotions
  • Processing of languageunable to tune in to
    verbal instructions
  • Being confronted, or invasion of personal
    spacewanting to escape!
  •   
  •  

33
Behaviour - signs of stress
  • Look for
  • over-or-under sensitivity to sensory input
    such as noise, odours, bright lights, pain,
    the feel of certain textures or being touched
  • distress with sudden or loud noises, showing
    agitation when there is a lot of activity
    around, a wish to escape
  • state of arousal (may be high or low)
  • extreme reactions
  • injury / illness, as pain not often felt
  • lack of generalisation of skills.
  • Set up a sensory area for relaxation, calming
    and
  • de-stressing activities
  • low lighting, simple furniture, no
    distractions, low noise.
  • Be proactive! Learn to recognise the early
    signs of stress.

34
BEHAVIOUR ISSUES?
  • Behaviour is functionally related to the
    teaching environment
  • so teach the social behaviour curriculum!
  • Tim Lewis 2007

35
BEHAVIOUR STRATEGIES
  • Relaxation, calming and de-stressing activities,
    keep noise level to minimum
  • Provide feely or squidgy toys, sensory items,
    have a drink, try a repetitive activity
  • Use positive language only
    I want you to. or time to
  • Try lets make a deal negotiation
  • Wait until student is calm and relaxed before
    instruction - a simple well-done may be enough
  • Distract, redirect or move if possible, keep
    SAFE!
  • note Students often have EXTREME reactions
    (laughter, distress, anger )

36
BEHAVIOUR STRATEGIES
  • Prepare for change
  • use visuals, timetables, schedules develop a
    routine
  • talk through what is going to happen next
  • creative visualisation talk through and teach
    what you WANT to happen
  • teach the behaviour / social skill you expect,
    make these expectations clear and concise, then
    practise
  • use individualized (achievable) rewards
    reinforcements.
  • teach feelings and emotions
  • Organisation
  • be calm!
  • be prepared!
  • be consistent and communicate clearly.

37
Stress thermometer
Behaviour goals in a social story
38
BEHAVIOUR SUMMARY
  • Stay calm
  • Keep your sense of humour!
  • Be consistent, firm and assertive
  • Limit choice
  • Be structured and flexible
  • Teach the behaviour you expect
  • Keep cool allow student to have a drink
  • of water
  • Keep safe!

39
INFORMATION RESOURCES
  • Contact Autism SAIf your student is registered
    as a client with Autism SA, the
    teacher/consultant allocated to your student can
    discuss information, training and support
    options. Country and metropolitan support options
    may differ.
  • Phone 8379 6976 (office)
  • Info line 1300 288 476
  • http// www.autismsa.org.au

40
INFORMATION RESOURCES
  • Contact DISABILITY SAIf your student is
    registered as a client with Disability SA, the
    regional office staff may be able to help
    coordinate support for the family. Country and
    metropolitan support options may differ.
  • http// www.disability.sa.gov.au
  • INFO LINE Phone 1300 786 117

41
INFORMATION RESOURCES
  • SPECIAL EDUCATION RESOURCE UNIT (SERU)
  • Curriculum resources are available for loan to
    preschool/school staff and parents/caregivers.
    These include
  • Curriculum resources
  • Developmental learning resources, sensory toys
  • Professional texts
  • DVDs, Videos
  • Cause effect / Switch toys
  • Disability Awareness resources
  • Information sources available online include
  • Resources and website links
  • Current awareness - Journal collection, articles
  • Advice about Information Communication Technology
    available.
  • See website http//web.seru.sa.edu.au
  • Phone (08) 8235 2871

42
INFORMATION RESOURCES
  • RECOMMENDED AUTISM RESOURCES
  • There is a huge range of information, resources,
    books articles and websites available. The
    resource links provided are recommended as
    useful starting points only and by no means
    the only ones!
  • See Book in Hand and Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • AUTISM SA
  • The resource centre at Autism SA has great
    reading lists, books, resources, toys, videos,
    DVDs etc available.
  • Info line 1300 288 476
  • Complete list of resources available from Autism
    SA Resource Centre Website http//www.autismsa.or
    g.au
  • A series of 21 information sheets are available
    on their website.

43
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
  • Lists of resources are provided on the SVPST
    website. Useful articles, books, DVDs and
    valuable website links will be added to this
    section regularly.
  • See http//www.decs.sa.gov.au/svpst
  • See also
  • Ministerial Advisory Committee at
    http//www.macswd.sa.gov.au/

44
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
  • Books
  • Understanding and Teaching
  • Children with Autism
  • by Rita Jordon Stuart Powell
  • Understanding the Nature of Autism
    Janice E Janzen, 1996
  • All Cats have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopman
  • The Complete Guide to Aspergers
    Syndrome.
  • Tony Attwood 2006 

45
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
  • Books

46
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
  • VIDEOS/ DVDs
  • Understanding Asperger Syndrome (Prof Margot
    Prior)
  • Autism SA information video
  • SBS video from August 2006
  • Autism the teen years
  • Tony Attwoods September 2006 Adelaide
    presentation (4 DVDs) Asperger syndrome
  • Rita Jordans Adelaide presentation DVD 2005
  • The Asperger point of view DVD, Adelaide,
  • Autism SA

47
SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORT
  • Verification of Students with Autistic Disorder
    or Aspergers Disorder
  • 2007 DECS Disability Support Program eligibility
    criteria
  • Verified as a Student with a Disability by the
    school Guidance Officer or Speech Pathologist.
  • A Negotiated Education Plan (NEP) is developed by
    the school
  • The district Disability Coordinator assists
    school to complete the paperwork and, as part of
    the NEP process will discuss students
    educational needs and level of support.
  • For students not verified, an Individual
    Education Plan can be used to address the
    students needs within school resources.
  • Schools receive a variety of funding resources to
    support the
  • learning needs of all students, including
    additional learning
  • difficulties funding.

48
DECS SUPPORT SERVICES
  • Involve DECS Support Services
  • There are a range of services that may be
    helpful including guidance, speech pathology,
    disability coordinators and the Special Education
    Resource Unit (http//web.seru.sa.edu.au/).
  • You can also refer to district Interagency
    Behaviour Management for support with additional
    behaviour strategies.
  • Understand everyones roles allow people to
    describe these roles at meetings.

49
NEGOTIATED EDUCATION PLAN
  • Negotiated Education Plan
  • Your school is responsible for developing the
    students NEP with the parent or care/giver.
  • You will need to make accommodations,
    adjustments and modifications to the curriculum
    you deliver, according to the students needs.
  • The DECS Autistic Disorder / Aspergers
    Disorder Support Plan will help you to work
    through this planning process.

50
TRAINING DEVELOPMENT
  • Take a breath!
  • Are you swamped with all the information and
    support? ..take things one step at a time !
  • Your confidence, knowledge and skills will grow
    as you work through issues, plan and talk with
    family and support providers.
  • Attend training sessions
  • an efficient way to access information
  • provides opportunities to talk with other
    teachers.
  • Information about sessions is available on the
    Autism SA website (www.autismsa.org.au) and the
    SVPST calendar (www.decs.sa.gov.au/svpst)

51
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO DO
  • Read and find out basic information.
  • Gather information about what support services
    are available and contact them (referral to DECS
    district support services).
  • Listen to parentsdevelop a positive working
    relationship with them.
  • Contact Autism SAs ASD Consultants or Consultant
    Teacher.

52
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO DO
  • Organise whole staff training and
    developmentwhat information and understanding
    does your school staff need for whole school
    commitment and a common approach (ask Autism SA
    teacher/consultant or disability coordinator).
  • Consider what classroom curriculum modifications,
    equipment or specialised areas for support will
    be needed through the negotiated education
    planning (NEP) process using the recommended DECS
    Autistic Disorder/Asperger Disorder Support Plan.

53
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO DO
  • Structure your classroom and consider the
    following checklist
  • Flexibility of curriculum access (choice, non
    negotiables)
  • The ecology of your classroom environment.
  • Be aware of physical sensitivitiessound, light,
    space, interpersonal factors (expectations
    of others),
  • philosophical factors (discipline/control
    methods)
  • program factors (choice, predictability,
    methodology, needs/interests of students).
  • Routines and strategies for when these change
  • Communication issues visual resources
  • - timetables, schedules and work tasks
  • Dealing with anxiety, stress, sensory
    sensitivities 

54
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO DO
  • continued
  • Relaxation /sensory areas sensory equipment
    (stress balls etc)
  • Break time, play areas and safe
    havensstructure organise
  • Learning styles, homework issuesdiscuss with
    parent and support services
  • Personal organisation of belongings
  • Motor coordination difficulties (eg handwriting)
  • Social skills programming
  • Medication / diet / health details
  • A mentor, support buddy
  • Positive behaviour management strategies, reward
    systems
  • Behaviour management structures (harassment and
    bullying procedures, risk management and safety
    plans)

55
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO DO
  • continued
  • Read more, search websites for information and
    attend training.
  • Everyday new information, research,
    articles, strategies, books and resources become
    available about autism spectrum disorders.
  • We hope this has been a useful starting resource
    to begin your learning journey!
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