According to the NRC (National Research Council), ASD educational programs should target social skills, communication skills, developmentally appropriate tasks, a motivation system, fine motor activities, gross motor activities, cognitive skills, academic skills, replacement skills for problem behaviors, and organizational skills. How would you advocate for these elements to be included in ASD programs?
Read “Compass: A Parent-Teacher Collaborative Model for Students with Autism,” by Ruble and Dalrymple, from Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities (2002).
Respond to the following students:
I believe social skills, communication skills, developmentally appropriate tasks, a motivation system, fine motor activities, gross motor activities, cognitive skills, academic skills, replacement skills for problem behaviors, and organizational skills should be implemented in ASD and any educational programs including after school programs. Most of the time these skills are left for special education specialists, ASD, ABA, OT, PT, psychologists and counselors to implement. ASD being a growing spectrum, we are having individuals who have not been diagnosed but they need therapy as well. My son who is on the spectrum was suspended from the after school program because the program did not have someone to provide him with these skills or therapy. I am currently advocating for the ASD specialist and therapist in his after school program to be included at the facility not only for him but also for other students in need of the skills above.
Considering that the NRC (National Research Council) recommends that educational programs for children with ASD teach social skills, communication skills, developmentally appropriate tasks, a motivation system, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, academic skills, replacement skills for problem behaviors and organizational skills, I would advocate for a variety of specialist be part of every students IEP team. Each team should be headed up by a case manager (social worker or Learning Disabled Teacher Consultant), an occupational therapist, physical therapist, school psychologist, behavior interventionist, special education teacher and speech therapist. The members that provide direct services (OT,PT, speech, behavior interventionist), special education teacher) should meet regularly to discuss the students progress. Regular meetings will help service providers have continuity and consistency. Interventions and modifications used in one setting should be carried over into other areas. Monthly team meetings would be a great place to start to help meet all of the elements that need to be included in a child’s educational program.
One of the hardest things to do is advocate for elements to be included into a program, especially when administrators do not want to hear the reasons why these elements are necessary to the success of your students. My previous principal was one that I had to constantly prove myself to and continually advocate for my students with on a weekly basis. I constantly provided her with research and classroom data to support why these elements were important to my students being successful. In all honesty, we often have to find ways to “slip” these elements into our lesson plans while addressing the other requirements as well. With my previous principal, I had to show her proof of how I was teaching the standards while incorporating these elements as well before she would admit that I was doing what was appropriate for my students. When advocating for our students and these elements, we have to make sure that we are doing so as respectfully as possible and with adequate proof that we are using evidence-based strategies. In order to advocate for these elements, I would encourage my administrators to come in and observe my students while these elements are being implemented and when they are not being implemented in my classroom. I would also provide them with studies that support the needs for these elements to be implemented, if necessary.