Tasks Galore – Making Groups Meaningful aids teachers, parents and therapists in applying structured teaching techniques within classroom groups, school specials, and even parties! Designing meaningful home and school group activities involves integrating IEP goals, individualizing structure and communication, and teaching rules.
Tasks Galore for the Real World teaches domestic, vocational, and other independent living skills to the adolescent and young adult. Applicable to home, school, community and training sites, this book uses a functional approach to tasks. Tasks are created using multi-modal presentations, which use visual, tactile and motor movement…
The Christmas holidays can be a time of wonder and delight, taking part in family traditions, seeing loved ones, and a break from routine. The holidays can also be a time of stress for those on the autism spectrum who thrive on familiarity and predictability. This can be a difficult time of year, but with some preparation and planning, the holiday season can be enjoyable.
The school schedule can be interrupted with plays, concerts and assemblies. Teachers and educational assistants, give lots of warning about changes in the daily routine. Work in special activities into the visual schedule. Create a social story about a concert or a play the children will see. It is often anxiety rooted in fear of the unknown that causes challenging behavior and avoidance of new experiences.
Allow for some quiet or down time during a day that has new experiences in it. Create a plan B if the school play is too hard for the child to sit through. If a music concert will be loud, perhaps use some noise cancelling headphones to lessen the sound. If the class is planning a Christmas party, walk the child with ASD through what it will be like. There are some great party planning suggestions in Tasks Galore: Making Groups Meaningful. Maybe the child can also help with the organization or suggest a favorite game to play. If a preferred activity is included in the day’s events, the child is more likely to be enthusiastic about it. Think about scheduling a favourite activity right after a new experience so that the child knows when the concert ends, there is some computer time, games, or play time with a much loved toy.
Literacy is an important life skill for many reasons. Literacy opens up a whole world of possibilities and greater independence. Reading improves self-confidence, increases vocabulary for both internal thought and communication, allows for greater participation in society and the workplace, expands interests, and supports understanding in how to navigate in an environment. Print matter is everywhere in our environment –…
The current COVID-19 situation has caused many programs, schools, preschools and daycares to temporarily close their doors. Services are also on hold such as occupational and speech therapy. This has caused many parents to feel anxious that their child may regress with their development. If parents are hoping for a diagnostic assessment, the additional wait times will be increased under…
Here is something I hear quite frequently – “My child has been placed on a waiting list for assessment. We have to wait several months before someone will see my child. Is there something I can do in the meantime to help my child before a diagnosis is given?”
Anxious parents don’t want to wait to start intervening if they suspect something is amiss. If a diagnosis of autism is suspected, there is much that can be done even before an official diagnosis is given. If suspicions turn out to be incorrect, the help given will not have been harmful in any way. I was in this waiting position with my own son, seeking a diagnosis for him at 10 months of age. The diagnosis did not happen until 2 years later even though I was persistent. In the meantime, I felt helpless as I watched Marc lose what few words he had, become increasingly frustrated, and his challenging behavior escalated. I wanted to do something but didn’t know where or how to start.
Teaching independence is a baby steps process that starts at an early age. When working with children with autism on any skill, you have to think it forward. How will this look and function at age 5, 10 or 18? Imagining where you want this person to be as an adult is a good motivator to teach independence skills. It gives a framework to set goals.
There are small, gradual ways to build independence. The foundation of independence is using visual supports. I have written about the effective use of visual supports in a past blog. Visual supports can be used to break down the steps of any task. When the steps are put on a strip, the person with autism now has those for a handy reference. I’ve used this idea for routines like getting dressed, toileting, hand washing and brushing teeth. There are some great ideas for this on the Do2Learn website. Thinking this forward, these tasks strips could be used for doing laundry or dishes.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine where our kids will be several years from now. What will their life look like once they leave home? What skills will they need to be successful as an adult? What is a meaningful life for this adult with ASD?
These questions swirl around in my mind all the time. My children aren’t many years away from accessing adult services. I often think of the skills they will need to be successful. Those skills will vary for each child depending on their functioning level.
It has long been thought that music therapy has a positive effect on children with autism. Pertanika Journal highlighted a study where improvements were seen, particularly in inattentive behaviours over a ten month period, in 41 children with autism. Music and movement therapy has been used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. The researchers hope that their research will help children and young adults with autism to modify behaviour. To read the article, click here.
Educating children with autism can be a daunting task for teachers. Learning styles differ greatly with this population. Many ASD students have an IPP, need an adapted curriculum, and classroom accommodations. Social and communication difficulties can make group work difficult and inclusion a challenge. I was a teacher for 13 years and understand the demands and challenges of educating students on the autism spectrum. I’ve gathered a list of resources that I think would be helpful to teachers.