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Ideas anyone?

Ideas anyone?

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I have a student with Autism this year that I haven't quite figured out yet. It is hard for me to tell what behaviors are due to his disability, and which are behaviors to just get out of doing any assignments. Do I insist on work completion- am unsure what he can and can't do since he's inconsistent in his responses on any given day. Do I send him to intervention to complete the work he refuses to even attempt? Any ideas?

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Julie Waite's picture
Julie Waite
Life Coach for Teachers

I have a son w high functioning autism. This is what helps him:
I watch him very closely. When he won't attempt something it is usually that he is confused. What appears clear to most can be very confusing to him. I draw pictures, act things out, etc.. also have him join other kids and then he will "catch on" to what they are doing. Best wishes.

Eric Levin's picture
Eric Levin
Director of Theatre Education at Southern Oregon State University

I am also a parent of a spectrum child aged 15. A symptom of the disorder is this very inconsistancy. You can have several options for work. Give choices (math, reading, history etc). Remove the deadlines and give him a choice. Other children understand special needs. If you insist on completion on your schedule you will set up a power struggle that is not worth the effort. Also realize that this population has often difficulty writing.

Sheila Danaher's picture

I am a special education teacher in an inclusive classroom. Many students on the autism spectrum require modifications in terms of output especially things that require writing. Provide choices such as dictating answer to peer or adult, oral response, draw response, change question to multiple choice or just simply reduce the amount of writing or work in an assignment. The amount of time for them to process the question and provide an answer can be longer therefore they are less motivated to work. I will often circle 2 questions at a time and then take it from there. You can often see what they know about a concept in 2 questions vs. 6.

Ray Dorso's picture
Ray Dorso
Director of Special Services, New Milford School District

If you could provide more information, I could give you some suggestions. How old is the student, what type of classroom setting do you work in (general education, resource, self-contained), what approach, if any, do you follow (ABA? or another approach?). What is the "intervention" you reference?

Let me know.



Catherine Ness's picture

I am a first grade teacher and I have a child with autism in my general education class. I am learning along with her. I have found that if she does not do something it is usually because she doesn't understand. I will find another way to explain the concept to her. The most important thing I have learned is that pictures really help. I also give her extra time to work on assignments. If she starts getting frustrated, I am teaching her to take a time out and choose a task ( PC, art project, crossword puzzle) and set the timer for 5 mintues. When the timer goes off, she must rejoin the class.

Nicole J. Elmera's picture
Nicole J. Elmera
Behavioral Consultant, New Milford Public Schools

Hi Catherine- I am a behavioral consultant within a public school district. Pictures are a great way to start with a child with autism. Having pictures of tasks arragend in a schedule format could help her see there is an end to each activity which will reduce some disruptive behavior. For example, you can put a picture depicting a math task and then immediatley after that picture, put a picture of a favorite toy. She will start to learn, first complete math then go play. You can organize her whole day in this fashion so she can also see when the day is over. In addition, the timer is a fantastic idea. Timers are very helpful for students with autism. You can also try a motivational system. Start small with maybe awarding the student 3 stickers for each task she completes. Once she earns all 3 stickers, she exchanges them for her break time. As she becomes proficient with this setup, you can increase the amount she must earn to exchange.
Hope this helps!! Keep us updated!!

Catherine Ness's picture

Hi Nicole - Thank you so much for the ideas. I work for a charter school and the resources are minimal. I especially like the idea of the picture after the specific learning task on her schedule. I believe this will work for her. So far, I have a behavior chart and a 'feelings' chart in place that we are working on. The idea is that when I see that she is beginning to get anxious, I ask her what she is feeling. She can identify her feelings by picture or number (1-5). If she is angry or frustrated, she is supposed to select a task that will redirect her and hopefully avoid a full-blown break-down. Her pictoral schedule is currently being made. I am hopeful that these visual supports will help her be successful in our class.
Thank you once again for your support!

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