Effective Practices for Young Children with ASD: Structuring the Classroom for Learning 2012-13
Welcome Amy Matthews, Ph.D. Grand Valley State University email@example.com Jamie Owen-DeSchryver, Ph.D. Grand Valley State University firstname.lastname@example.org Linda Elenbaas, M.A. Spring Lake Public Schools email@example.com
Agenda • Updates and Review • Increasing Learning Opportunities and Engagement • Our Biggest Challenges: Learning and Behavior • Supporting Young Children with ASD • Organizational Supports • Instructional Supports: Group • People Supports • Developing a Plan
What are the two biggest problems we hear with regard to educating young children with ASD? 1. Behaviors 2. Learning/Skill Development
What can we do? • Create as many structured learning opportunities as possible, individualized for students within engaging activities • This will eliminate many of the issues with problem behaviors
Learning Opportunities Active Engagement Supported, structured opportunities for learning lead to better outcomes
What does a learning opportunity look like? 1. Instruction/activity/ situation is presented to the child 2. Child has an opportunity to respond 3. Child is given feedback • Acknowledgement that response was correct • Correction/prompt to help the child give a correct response
Presenting Instruction Request (Stimulus) Response Reaction (Consequence) 3 Rs
How to Increase Learning Opportunities • Use center cards to increase independence and thus learning • Use peers instead of relying solely on adults • Assign staff to particular kids so there's more "ownership" for engaging the kids • Don't provide all necessary materials (spoon, glue, chair) to elicit communication • Staff increase labeling, commenting about activities • Split circle time to reduce waiting time • Provide cheat sheets for staff listing specific goal targets for students See handouts-school and home
Engaged Time • It may not be possible to provide learning opportunities all the time, but we can increase time engaged. • Engaged time: Active involvement in productive activities that lead to learning. • How we organize activities will determine engagement
Counting Learning Opportunities and Engaged Time • Let’s count learning opportunities and watch for engaged time • Example 1 • Example 2 • Watch the student. When you see a learning opportunity mark it down. • Keep track of how much time the child is engaged.
Learning Opportunities Study • How many learning opportunities across: • Type of Classroom • Activity • Adult role • Eligibility label • Student engagement across: • Type of classroom • Activity • Eligibility label
Reaching Our Ultimate Goals Why do we work so hard to increase learning opportunities? • Independence • Socialization • Preparation for typical school experiences • Quality of life
Classroom Staff Group Instruction Individual Instruction Routine Supports Early Intervention for Children with ASD Behavior Supports Scheduling Supports Scheduling Supports Ancillary Staff Peers Visual Supports Social/Play Instruction Communication Instruction Parents
Organizational Supports • Routine Supports (establishing classroom routines and promoting flexibility) • Scheduling Supports (maximizing time with students, effective use of staff) • Visual Supports (schedules and visual supports) • Behavior Supports (expectations, positive behavior support, changing behavior patterns)
Routines and Flexibility • Predictability and routines can increase active involvement and decrease arousal • Flexibility will allow the child more options and opportunities now and in the future
Routines and Flexibility • What are your routines? • What happens when your routine is disrupted? • What helps you be flexible?
Routines and Flexibility • What routines do you have for your students? • How do you promote flexibility, with support?
Example • Rian • Check schedule movement (actually recess) • Upset • Chose to stay in • What is adult response? • Looking at ASD differently
What’s in a Schedule? How you schedule your class time is everything!
What’s in a Schedule? • Staff follow a predictable schedule throughout all routines and activities of the classroom day. • Learners have many opportunities to engage in a variety of age appropriate structured activities throughout the day. • There is a balance of learner-initiated versus adult-directed activities.
Effective Scheduling • Notice, no free time (if you have a child for only 2 ½ hours a day, they should be structured for maximal learning) • Learning is always happening • Seat tasks are alternated with movement activities • Maximize time during required tasks (mixing bathroom and snack) • Schedule is differentiated across students
Scheduling Challenges • Students at different levels • High number of students • Not enough staff Creative solutions • Assign staff to a group of students to cycle through activities during class time • Group students by similar abilities or by students that can work independently with students that need assistance • Split activities up - half the class has circle time while the other half is doing work activities/centers • Get volunteers to increase adult numbers • Do activities that require more support on days when ancillary staff are in the room (push in)
A Good Rule When students are there, staff is always working with students Save clean up, material development, cutting, phone calls, etc. for later
Schedule Discussion • How long is your program (half day, full day)? • How much time is structured? • Is the classroom staff able to spend maximum time with students?
Organizational Supports: Preparing the environment before starting to teach
Preparing the environment before starting to teach Arrange areas for their specific purpose minimizing open areas, such as our coat area or our book area (small spaces with enclosed side supports)
Remove or cover anything that is visually competing for the student’s attention or that the student can touch Use bench/sided chairs to help a student stay in their chair Use a wall, cabinet, easel or bookcase as a block from running or visual distracters Position the environment around the student
Position the environment around the student • Make certain the environment is set up for optimal student participation • Are they sitting in a chair with their feet touching the floor? • Is their neighbor sitting too close? • Place staff in a position close to the child having difficulty • Position to learn and avoid behavior problems – see examples
Application • Review your classroom schedule and/or classroom environment • How could you adjust your schedule and classroom set up to increase learning opportunities throughout the day. • Action plan
A Fun Example: Using the Environment to Support Learning during a Game
Visual Supports A Foundation for Participation & Engagement
Daily Schedules • Increasing… predictability • can decrease the length of a crisis or prevent a crisis