Classroom Accommodations for Austistic Students


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a parent who voiced her frustration with her daughter’s school. Although her daughter is diagnosed with autism, she falls on the mild range of the spectrum meaning her deficits are ignored. This becomes challenging for a teacher who may not recognize the signs and symptoms of an autistic child.

Girls, in particular, often develop the ability to disappear in a large group. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to pretend you hold the same characteristics of others.  This leads to both depression and anxiety in children with autism. There are also sensory challenges a student with autism may face including auditory, visual and tactile.

Reading non-verbal cues forces a child and even some autistic adults to work harder everyday which causes exhaustion and can possibly lead to anxiety.

There are a number of ways to accommodate  a student with autism. If you are a teacher, read as much information as you can on autism. each child is different so it will help to get feedback from parents who can help provide the right accommodations.

The following articles provide great information on both modifications and accommodations  which can be put into the child’s IEP:

10 tips for making middle-school work for kids with autism

14 possible IEP accommodations for children with autism/ADHD

20 classroom modifications for students with autism

23 classroom accommodation suggestions for kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome

Accommodations and supports for school-age students with autism

Asperger syndrome/HFA and the classroom

Common modifications and accommodations

IEP considerations for students with autism spectrum disorder

Recommendations for students with high-functioning autism

Supporting learning in the student with autism

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The Power of Paws: The Therapeutic Benefits of Dogs for Autistic Students

Guest Blogger, Jeremy Divinity

The classroom is a social environment where student success is dependent on the ability to interact well with others. Whereas, 72% of students on the autism spectrum have additional mental health needs that cause challenges in the classroom.

Although the learning disabilities that are associated with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are unique to each child many autistic students share the same development problems: social interaction, language, and behavior.Autism can hinder a student’s ability to communicate and share experiences with others. Compared to their peers, autistic students are four times more likely to need extra learning and social support. This lack of social-emotional competence leads to a decrease in their connection to the learning environment and academic performance.

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) treatments for autistic children have proven that the behavior of autistic students can be changed. Studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques produce improvements in communication, social relationships, and school performance.With the right accommodations, including proper modifications to the educational environment, along with the addition of positive reinforcement, autistic students can overcome the many barriers to learning.To put in place effective ABA techniques, educators need a better understanding of autism and how it may affect learning. Teachers are being called upon to be innovative and creative due to the unique challenges that students with ASD provide, this includes modifying their education programs.

One ABA treatment that is growing in popularity is the use of therapy dogs. If you are unfamiliar with therapy dogs and the benefits of therapy dog treatment, here is a brief history lesson: Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier, and World War 2 veteran was the first official therapy dog whose service on and off the battlefield would pave the way for future therapy dogs. Injured soldiers relied on Smoky, their canine companion, for entertainment to boost their morale. Today, therapy dogs act as a safety net, guardian, and friend who are trained to respond to a child’s most repetitive behaviors. Due to their calming influence, therapy dogs are becoming popular in the autism community. The special relationship between the therapy dog and child stimulates positive changed behavior. For children with ASD, their furry companions are not only their best friend but also offer therapeutic benefits.

Teachers and therapists have found that therapy dogs not only act as “social catalysts” that promote social interaction but also increase the activity levels of autistic students. In a study of 22 children, kids who engaged in therapy dog sessions were more talkative and socially engaged, while also less aggressive.The calming demeanor and influence of therapy dogs aid autistic students in managing the sensory challenges of the school environment. Therapy dogs can mitigate the impact of autism in the classroom by providing stability in what may seem like an unfamiliar environment.The relationship a therapy dog has with a child extends deeper than just companionship, therapy dogs can provide both practical and emotional support. Here are some of the most common therapeutic benefits that therapy dogs provide for autistic students:

Companionship

Therapy dogs show unconditional love, and often times, a loving friendship develops. Both therapy dog and patient enjoy each other’s company in nonverbal ways which assists with everyday life. For example, therapy dogs de-escalate emotional meltdowns by gently interrupting any self-harming behaviors.

Social Interaction

The biggest challenge faced by students with autism is social interaction with peers. When introduced to the classroom, therapy dogs can increase a child’s participation and functional level. After interacting with their canine companions, students with ASD transfer over their new-found social relationships with other students.

Behavior Management

Another benefit of therapy dogs is that they can assist with behavior management by their comforting and calming demeanor. Many therapy dogs are specifically trained to decrease inappropriate behavior by acting as a source of comfort, such as leaning against a child or gently across their lap.

Academic Performance

The most important benefit that therapy dogs can provide for students is an improvement in academic performance. After introducing therapy dogs, you will find that your students are more attentive. While also being better behaved with a new-found self-confidence – which is key to academic success. Autistic students face many challenges in the classroom. To help autistic students overcome barriers to learning school administrators, teachers, and parents must be equipped with the right accommodations. Therapy dogs mitigate the impact of autism and assist in managing the sensory overload of the school environment, and provide students with autism with the stability needed to be successful in the classroom.

Resource Articles

Autism and Pets: More Evidence of Social Benefits

Dogs de-stress families with autistic children according to research

How dogs help children with autism

Pets may help improve social skills of children with autism

 

 is an education blogger for Teach.com and freelance writer from Los Angeles. Read more at http://www.JeremyDivinity.com.

 

25 Facts About Cerebral Palsy That You Did Not Know

How much do you really know about cerebral palsy? Here are 25 interesting facts about cerebral palsy:

Is a group of neurological disorders that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

Is caused by damage to the brain which controls movement and balance

Affects the motor area of the brain that directs muscle movement.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy differ in type and severity in each person.

Is the leading cause of childhood disabilities.

Cerebral Palsy is not progressive meaning it does not get worse overtime.

Cerebral Palsy prevalence is 3.3 children per 1000.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy

Cerebral Palsy is not contagious

Risk factors for cerebral palsy include pre-mature birth, infections during pregnancy, exposure to toxic substances and mothers with excess protein in the urine or a history of having seizures.

Cerebral Palsy can also be caused by complicated labor and delivery due to disruption of blood and oxygen to the brain(hypoxia) and babies in a breech position (feet first).Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type affecting 80% of people with cerebral palsy.

Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and depth perception

There are more boys born with cerebral palsy than girls.

Stroke in a baby or child less than the age of 3 results in cerebral palsy.

One in nine with cerebral palsy have features of autism

One in three children with cerebral palsy cannot walk

One in four children with cerebral palsy cannot feed themselves

There are 17 million people with cerebral palsy worldwide.

58.2% of children with cerebral palsy can walk independently, 11.3 walk using a hand-held mobility device and 30.6% have limited or no walking ability

Speech and language disorders are common in people with cerebral palsy

Pain is common among children with cerebral palsy

Harry Jennings, an engineer built the first modern folding wheelchair

Sir William Osler write the first book on cerebral palsy

Dr. Sigmund Freud was the first to state that cerebral palsy might be caused by abnormal development before birth.

Cerebral palsy doesn’t necessary mean learning difficulties.

References

www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp

http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/

30 Resources for World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. A campaign designed to create a single voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down Syndrome. Resources on this page include information on inspiring articles and facts on people with Down Syndrome.

Post From Special Needs Resource Blog:

20 Facts You Should Know About Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Characteristics

Facts About Down Syndrome (Infographic)

Mosaic Down Syndrome Resources

Signs of Autism and Down Syndrome

Top Books On Down Syndrome For Parents and Professionals

Down Syndrome Organizations
Band of Angels: http://www.bandofangels.com/-

Established in 1994, Band of Angels provides support for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. The website offers links on Down Syndrome support groups and a litany of topics including, adoption, autism and education.

Down Syndrome International https://www.ds-int.org/

A U.K. based international organization comprising a membership of individuals and organizations from all over the world. Disseminates information on Down Syndrome including prenatal diagnosis, early intervention, education, medical, health, employment, aging and human rights. Down Syndrome International also promoted World Down Syndrome Day (March 21) as a day dedicated to people with Down Syndrome.

Global Down Syndrome http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/

Provides fundraising, education and governmental advocacy for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. Resources available on the website include, information on research, medical care and facts on Down Syndrome.

International Down Syndrome Coalition: http://theidsc.org/

Dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life. Offers support to parents who are new to the Down syndrome diagnosis by connecting parents to each other.

National Association for Down Syndrome http://www.nads.org/

NADS is the oldest organization in the United States serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Also provides families with information and resources that will enable them to access appropriate services and educates the public about Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Congress http://www.ndsccenter.org/

The purpose of the NDSC is to promote the interests of people with Down syndrome and their families through advocacy, public awareness, and information. When we empower individuals and families from all demographic backgrounds, we reshape the way people understand and experience Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society http://www.ndss.org/

NDSS provides resources to new and expectant parents and offers a toll-free helpline and email services. NDSS also focuses on transitions , wellness and education

 

The following are articles highlighting stories around the country on Down syndrome:

Clemson Student With Down Syndrome To Compete In Pageant

Couple with Down Syndrome Celebrate 22 Years of Marriage

Displaying The Myths of Down’s Syndrome

First Person With Down Syndrome Finishes Local Half-Marathon

Funny Down Syndrome Ad Will Change The Way You Feel about “Special Needs”

Gerber Baby 2018: Lucas Warren is the company’s first spokesbaby with Down Syndrome

Get To Know Madeline Stuart, The World’s First Supermodel With Down Syndrome

Swimmers with Down Syndrome Find Empowerment in the Pool

Walgreens Features Model With Down Syndrome

Woman With Down Syndrome Starts Her Own Bakery

Inspiring Video’s

10 Things You Should Know About Brain Injuries

Brain injury is called the ‘silent’ epidemic with 5.3 million Americans live with brain injury and occurs every 23 seconds. A brain injury is defined as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. The following are 10 facts that you should know about brain injuries.

No two brain injuries are exactly the same

The effects of a brain injury depends on the cause, location and severity

Depending on the severity of the brain injury, effects may include temporary loss of consciousness or coma, respiratory or damaged motor functions.

A concussion can be caused by direct blows to the head, gunshot wound, violent shaking of the head or force from a whiplash.

A contusion is a bruise (bleeding) on the brain caused by a force to the head

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities

TBI is a contributing factor to a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States

Almost half-a million emergency room visits for TBI are made annually by children aged 0 to 14

In every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than for females

TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the United States

References

http://www.cdc.com

http://www.biausa.org

http://www.traumaticbraininjury.com

 

What is a Developmental Disability?

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged  the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and a developmental disability.

A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).

The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:

  1. Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
  2. Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
  3. Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
  4. Mobilityability to move around without any assistance
  5. Self-direction– time management, organization
  6. Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
  7. Economic self-sufficiency – having a job  and purchasing what one needs

Here are some examples of a developmental disability:

Does everyone with a disability also have a developmental disability?

The answer is no. there are people with disabilities such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy simply have a disability based on the criteria listed above. However, many people with developmental disabilities quite often have a combination of disabilities. For example a child with autism may also have seizures and an intellectual disability or an adult may have cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and epilepsy. In addition there are many people in the spectrum of autism who also have ADHD and so forth.

So what’s the difference between an intellectual disability and a developmental disability?

A person with an intellectual disability falls under the category of a developmental disability meaning you can have an intellectual disability and a developmental disability. check here for the definition of an intellectual disability, you will see they are quite similar. Below is an infographic created by Centers on Disease Control:

An Infographic on Developmental Disabilities.

 

 

20 Task Box Resources To Use In Your Classroom or Home

Task boxes (also known as work boxes) are structured work systems created by Division TEACCH t the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. This system allows the student to work independently on a task for a specific time in a supportive environment.  Task boxes are now used for students with a variety of disabilities including students required pervasive levels of support.

 

There are 3 types of task boxes: stacking- Helps with eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills; sorting- may break activities by size, color, texture, shape and flavor and fine motor- strengthens the smaller movement in the wrists, hands and fingers.

The following sites include information on how to set up a task box system in your classroom or in your home.

How I Set Up My Task Box System ( Delightfully Dedicated)

How to Set Up An Independent Workbox (Breezy Special Ed)

How to Start a Task Box System (Autism Adventures)

Task Box Set Up- (Autism Adventures)

Websites that will give you ideas on creating task boxes, and the material needed.

Autism Classroom Workbox System (Teaching Special Thinkers)

Fine Motor Morning Work Bins (Differentiated Kindergarten)

Assembly Work Task (Autism Classroom News and Resources)

Free Math Printable Task Box for Special Education ( My Creative Inclusion)

Higher Level Academics in Task Boxes (Mrs. P’s Specialties)

How I Use Workboxes in My Classroom (Creating and Teaching)

Pre-Vocational Work Boxes (SPED Adventures)

Quick and Easy Task Box Ideas (Little Miss Kim’s Class)

Task Boxes: A Hands On Approach to Life Skills (Therablog)

Task Boxes for Autistic Children (Love to Know)

Structured Work Boxes (University of Mary Washington)

Ways to Up the Ante in Your Work Task System (The Autism Vault)

Winter Task Boxes (You Aut-aKnow)

Work Boxes in Autism Classrooms (Noodle Nook)

Work Box Task Ideas (The Autism Helper)

Work Task (Breezy Special Ed)

 

Helping Children Understand Person First Language


Pubished by: ASD
Written By: Nicole Dezarn

Person first language is an important ethical matter often discussed in the field of special education and disability advocacy. The idea that the important descriptor for a person is not their disability but that the disability is something that the person has is fundamental in framing the mindset that having a disability doesn’t mean that a person is less or incapable of success. It can be challenging enough to broach this subject with adults but how do we help children to understand what person first language means and why it is so important? I felt it might be helpful to share an approach with which I have had success. Click here to read the rest of the story

Choking Prevention for People with Developmental Disabilities

Children and adults with developmental disabilities have a higher risk of choking compared to the general population.

Risk Factors Include:

Some medical conditions that increase a person’s risk of choking are:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Neurological and muscular disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • Brain Injury
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Inability to swallow certain food textures and liquids
  • Medication side effects which decrease voluntary muscles
  • Dysphasia (difficulty swallowing)

Other contributing factors include:

Eat or drink too fast

Have poor posture when eating

Swallow non-edible objects (PICA)

The following foods put people at greater risk:

  • Hotdogs served whole
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Sandwiches
  • Broccoli
  • Raw carrots
  • Nuts

Teaching Material on Choking

Arizona Department of Economic Security

Eunice Kennedy Shriver-Dysphasia, Aspiration and Choking

Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities

New York State Choking Prevention Resources

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

State Agencies Choking Alerts

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Minnesota Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities 

New Jersey Health and Safety Alert Choking

Great Websites for Women and Girls With ADHD

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD due to the symptoms in girls are more subtle and typically do not fit the stereotype. Girls are more likely to daydream, fidget, chatty, overly emotional, and appear “less difficult or “less difficult” than boys.

Women with ADHD are more likely to eating disorders, obesity, low-self-esteem, depression and anxiety.The following websites provide helpful information on ADHD for women and girls.

Signs and Symptoms

  • The following sites includes information on identifying the signs and symptoms of ADHD in both women and girls.

ADHD affects women differently: What to look for, how to fix it (Health)

ADHD in girls: Symptoms, treatment and more (Healthline)

Gender differences in ADHD (Psych Central)

Common ADHD symptoms in women totally ADD ( Totally ADD)

Common symptoms of ADD and ADHD in women (Health Central)

Girls and ADHD: Are you missing the signs? (Teacher)

How ADHD is different for girls (WebMD)

It’s different for girls with ADHD (The Atlantic)

Understanding ADHD in Women (U.S. News)

Understanding the signs of ADHD in girls (Very Well)

Women and Girls– by National Resources on ADHD (CHADD)

Parenting

  • Managing a child diagnosed with ADHD can be challenging. The following articles share tips on raising a child with ADHD. Additional information includes strategies for both children and teens with ADHD.

8 secret tips for parents of children with ADHD (Empowering Parents)

8 things I wish people knew about parenting a child with ADHD (Understood)

12 rules for parenting a child with ADHD (ADDitude)

ADHD parenting tips (Help Guide)

Does your parenting style work for ADHD (Impact ADHD)

Parenting kids with ADHD: 16 tips to tackle common challenges (Psych Center)

Parenting strategies for helping kids with ADHD (MSU)

Parenting teenagers with ADHD (Healthy Children)

Your ADHD child: Easy parenting techniques (Child Development Institute)

Tips for parents with ADHD raising kids with ADHD (Parenting)

Resource Articles- Girls

  • The following links includes articles specifically on girls with ADHD including parenting a child with ADHD and unique challenges girls face.

Advice for parenting girls with ADHD (Lifescript)

Girls with ADHD face unique challenges (Smart Kids)

How girls with ADHD are different (Child Mind Institute)

Understanding girls with ADHD symptoms and strategies (Great Schools)

Resource Articles

  • Below includes a listing of resources on a variety of articles specifically for women with ADHD. Women face a number of challenges including managing and organizing the home and workplace. Additional challenges may include raising a child also diagnosed with ADHD. (ADHD is often inherited).

6 ways to manage clutter with ADHD (Health Center)

ADHD: A women’s issue (American Psychological Association)

ADHD is different for women (The Atlantic)

Adult women are the new face of ADHD (The Daily Beast)

Against the wind: How it feels to be a woman with ADHD (ADD Free Sources)

Decades of failing to recognize ADHD in girls has created a lost generation of women (Quartz)

I’m a woman with ADHD and here’s why I didn’t know until I was 28 (Bustle)

Is ADHD different for women and girls (Scientific American)

Suffering in Silence: Women with adult ADHD (Medicine. Net)

The hidden struggle for women with ADHD (Broadly)

The new ADHD debate every woman should know about (HuffPost)

“That explains everything!” Discovering my ADHD in Adulthood (ADDitude)

This is how ADHD impacts women and why support communities (Mind)

What it’s like to have ADHD as a grown woman (The Cut)

Websites

  • There are a number of websites that are geared towards women with ADHD. I like the websites described below. These sites are written by women with ADHD which includes personal stories and helpful information.

ADHD Roller Coaster– Author, Gena Pera’s website provides news and essays on adult ADHD

Kaleidoscope Society– A website for and by women with ADHD

Smart Girls with ADHD– A website written by women with ADHD includes resources and personal stories.

Testing

  • The following sites includes a checklist and testing if you believe you have diagnose of ADHD.

A symptom checklist for ADHD in Women

The ADHD test for girls

The ultimate ADHD test for teen girls