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Children on the Autism Spectrum and Problems with Perfectionism

“I'd like to ask you about a very big problem for our autistic son - his perfectionism! Can you give me some advice on what to do about this issue, because I believe it is a major contributing factor to his never-ending anxiety, especially when doing his homework?”
 
 ==> CLICK HERE for the full article...

70 Tips & Tricks for Educating Students with Aspergers/High-Functioning Autism

 "I need to come up with some ideas for my son' teacher. My son is on the spectrum. The teacher is really struggling with his behavior as well as his learning style (he's a very visual learner, I know, and he doesn't do well with lengthy verbal instructions)."

Research has identified classroom characteristics that promote success for children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA: individualized instruction, interesting curriculum, positive reinforcement, predictability, short working periods, small teacher-to-student ratio, and plenty of structure.

Research has also identified optimal teacher characteristics: consistency, firmness, frequent monitoring of the child’s work, humor, knowledge of behavior management strategies for students on the spectrum, patience, personal warmth, and positive academic expectations.

Based on this research, here are 70 quick and simple – yet highly effective – tips and tricks to use in teaching your students who are on the autism spectrum:

1. Allow the child to change seats and places as long as she or he stays on task.
2. Allow the child to chew gum to reduce anxiety if needed.
3. Allow the child to stand or walk with a clipboard (if possible) as long as she or he remains on task.
4. Allow the child to use learning aides, computers, and calculators (for different parts of the task).
5. Allow the student to manipulate an object, doodle, squeeze a ball, bend a pipe cleaner or paper clip, or handle another non-distracting item as long as she or he attends and is on task.
6. Assign a capable "study buddy" who can remind and assist the active or disorganized child.
7. Assign another child to be a "support buddy" who works with the distractible student, and provides one-to-one attention to assist in completing tasks.
8. Assign duties that require self-control (e.g., line leader, materials distributor, etc.). Prepare the student for the duty, encourage the student, and reinforce the student during and after that activity/task.
9. Assign the child to a seat that best allows him or her to observe you while avoiding distractions (e.g., away from doors, windows, pencil sharpeners, etc.).
10. Assign the test grade based on performance on different aspects of the assessment (i.e., organization, writing mechanics, penmanship, subject knowledge displayed, etc.).

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism
 
11. Be sure you have the student's attention before you start.
12. Develop good rapport with the child. Aspergers and HFA students are more likely to respond to emotional connections than contingent consequences.
13. Devise interesting activities.
14. Eliminate excessive noise.
15. Eliminate excessive visual stimuli and clutter that might distract the student.
16. Employ study carrels or seat the child in the area of the class with the least distractions, and/or face the desk toward the wall. However, do not isolate the student for long periods of time because it may stigmatize the student. Allow the child to engage in group work too.
17. Encourage moms and dads to build physical activity into the student's out-of-school schedule.
18. Ensure that your style of presentation is enthusiastic and interesting.
19. Give a general overview first. Let the child know what will be learned and why it is important in life.
20. Give your attention to appropriate behaviors.





21. Have another child place carbon paper under the Aspergers and HFA student’s paper while writing down homework assignments. Give the carbon copy to the child to take home.
22. Have the child progress through the following steps while learning: See it, say it, write it, and do it.
23. Have the child underline or highlight directions.
24. If social rewards/reinforcement is insufficient to bring about the desired behavior, pair social recognition with earned activities or tangible reinforcers.
25. If you get a lot of defiant behavior, review how often you say negative things and give commands to the student. Children who hear too many negatives and commands will shut off the teacher they come from. Get positive, encourage the student, and focus on progress, however small.
26. Ignore as much of the negative behavior as possible.
27. In a multi-part task, provide visual cues that are written on the child's desk or on the chalkboard for each part. The child then engages in that next step.
28. In cooperation with the child, create a "secret cue" (e.g., tugging on your ear lobe, clicking your tongue, saying an odd word such as "huckleberry") that reminds the student to attend.
29. Incorporate movement into lessons.

30. Involve the child's interests into assignments.
31. Keep directions and commentary short and to the point. Avoid "overloading" the child with too much verbiage.
32. Keep unstructured time to a minimum.
33. Make a tube that the child uses as a telescope, keeping you in view and blocking out other distractions.
34. Motivate the student by having him or her "race against the clock" to finish the task (or part of it).
35. Move nearer to the child when she or he becomes restless. Offer verbal encouragement or touch. When misbehavior occurs (or threatens to occur), move closer and soften your voice.
36. Place instructions on an audio tape that can be replayed by the child as needed.
37. Play soft background music without lyrics.
38. Present the assignment in parts (e.g., 5 math problems at a time). Give reinforcement for each completed part before giving the next segment of the task, or have the student mark off his or her progress on a chart.
39. Provide "do now" activities for other children while you focus the child.

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism
 
40. Provide a "squeeze ball" for the child to manipulate if he or she becomes frustrated.
41. Provide a bouncy inflatable seat cushion. The child may put his or her energy into squirming on it, but he or she will stay in the seat.
42. Provide a grown-up to whom the child reports at the beginning and end of the day to organize his or her work and assure assignments are in-hand.
43.  Provide a laptop computer to children who lose papers (but not books).
44. Provide a second set of textbooks for the forgetful child to use at home.
45. Provide a special "transition object" (e.g., puppet, small stuffed animal, etc.) that accompanies the child to other classrooms, providing a sense of consistency and support.
46. Provide an individualized written schedule to which the child can refer.
47. Provide extended time to finish.
48. Provide opportunities for physical movement (e.g., erasing the blackboard, running errands, distributing and collecting materials, etc.), and build physical activities into the daily schedule.
49. Provide some choice or variation in assignments to maintain the child's attention.





50. Reduce the length of assignments so that child does not lose interest.
51. Repeat and simplify the directions.
52. Seat the child next to appropriate models.
53. Set expectations for behavior BEFORE an activity or event.
54. Set up routines that prepare the student for upcoming transitions.
55. Teach memory techniques and study strategies.
56. To block out distractions on a page, create a "window" in a piece of card board that exposes only one or two lines of print.
57. To ensure understanding, have the child repeat the directions in his or her own words.
58. To gain the attention of younger kids on the spectrum, give directions through a puppet.
59. To increase reflection and concentration, have the child identify the correct answer AND cross out incorrect answers on multiple choice tests. Inform the child that there may be more than one correct answer.

60. Use a clock to remind the impatient student that the next activity must wait until a certain time.
61. Use alert cues to get the child's attention before giving directions.
62. Use color and highlighting to accentuate certain important words or phrases on worksheets.
63. Use concrete objects to assist in keeping the child's attention.
64. Use examples that capitalize on the child's interests.
65. Use game formats to teach and/or reinforce concepts and material.
66. Use more than one modality when giving directions. Supplement verbal instructions with visual ones.
67. Use oral testing if that format will keep the child's attention and better assess his or her knowledge.
68. Use pantomime to capture the attention of the child to give instructions.
69. Use performance testing. Have the child do something or make something.
70. Use progress charts and other visual records of behavior to encourage more appropriate behavior. Use colorful charts and cards to motivate the student and recognize effort.


==> The Complete Guide to Teaching Students with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism


More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

How to Create an Effective Behavioral Intervention Plan for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

In this post, we will look at how to create an effective behavioral intervention plan for students with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism…

Once the IEP team (including the parents) has conducted a functional assessment, the information obtained from that assessment should be used to develop a behavioral intervention plan. The purpose of this intervention plan is to spell out what behaviors are being targeted for change – and how change will be handled.



Certain items in the behavioral intervention plan are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, while others are simply good information to have included:
  • description of how the child’s behavior will be handled should it reach a crisis stage (called a “crisis plan”)
  • definition and description of the behavior being targeted
  • description of how the success of the interventions will be measured
  • description of previously tried interventions and how well they did - or didn’t - work in changing behavior
  • description of the behavior that will replace the inappropriate behavior (called the “replacement behavior”)
  • description of the interventions that will be used (e.g., who will be involved, specific procedures that will be followed, how data will be collected)
  • description of when and how information will be shared between the home and school
  • information about the child that could impact the intervention plan
  • list of the child’s strengths and abilities
  • measurable description of the behavior changes that all parties expect to see
  • schedule for when and how often the plan will be reviewed to determine its effectiveness
  • statement describing the function or purpose of the targeted behavior

When writing the behavioral intervention plan, make sure that everything is spelled out clearly and specifically so that the intervention plan can be used easily by all parties involved with the child. In most circumstances, the intervention plan should be less than 4 pages in length. If it is longer than that, it may be too difficult for all parties to remember and follow.

The IEP team should make sure that the interventions included are ones that they have the resources and ability to implement consistently (e.g., if “time-outs” are included in the plan, but a time-out space is only available 2 days a week, then it will be more effective to choose a different intervention).

Once the IEP team agrees on the behavior intervention plan, all parties involved must agree to implement it consistently. If even one team member thinks that he or she is unable to support the plan, it needs to be revisited. Inconsistent application of any intervention may result in an increase in the targeted inappropriate behavior, or in the appearance of a new inappropriate behavior.

Sample Behavioral Intervention Plan:

Name: Michael Jones
Grade: 5
Age: 10
School: Big City Elementary School
Date Written: 2/4/13

Strengths of the child:
  • enjoys praise and positive, social reinforcement 
  • likes science and hands-on activities
  • usually responds well to educators
  • wants to be in the general education classes
  • usually wants to do the same work as his peers
  • works hard and participates most days

Individualized information about the child:
  • Biological factors, medication interactions, and anxiety can cause child to react to situations/directions differently on some days. Child will have productive days and not so productive days. 
  • has difficulty with tasks necessitating writing
  • often works and moves more slowly than peers
  • Some behaviors associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tourettes are apparent (e.g., tapping, noises/verbalizations, some scratching/ rubbing hands and face, repetitive movements). These behaviors are made worse when child is anxious.

Previously implemented interventions:
  • Time-outs, negative reinforcement, and positive reinforcement with tangibles were ineffective interventions. There was some success with a token economy using concrete reinforcers.

Problematic behaviors:

Behavior 1— Incomplete assignments

Baseline: averaging 5 incomplete assignments per week for last 5 weeks

Function of the behavior:
  • allows child to express/feel in control of a situation when he’s uncomfortable with something 
  • relieves anxiety by avoiding a task he dislikes or finds frustrating

Replacement behavior:
  • complete assignments in study period or at home 
  • ask for help (e.g., asking for assistance, modifications or breaks)

Interventions:
  • Modify assignments by reducing the number/length of responses required for each concept.  Where possible, reduce the amount of writing required. 
  • Grading: Teacher establishes a minimum for each assignment. If child does more than the minimum number of responses required, he gets credit/extra credit for each extra response that is correct (no penalty for incorrect responses). If child doesn’t complete the minimum, he is counted off for the missing responses.
  • Child will have a scheduled study period each day. If he has all assignments completed, he can participate in other activities.

Documentation:
  • number of incomplete/missing assignments in each class 
  • assignment grades

Amount of improvement expected:
  • no more than 2 incomplete assignments per week for 3 consecutive weeks

Behavior 2— Unable/unwilling to work in class

Baseline: 20% of assignments completed and 35% completed in class

Function of the Behavior:
  • allows child to express/feel in control of a situation when he’s uncomfortable with something 
  • relieves anxiety by avoiding a task he dislikes or finds frustrating

Replacement Behavior:
  • at least attempt each assignment 
  • verbalize frustration and/or need for modification

Intervention:
  • Child is given 1 prompt to start assignment. After that, refusal is ignored (any behavior disturbing others will be dealt with according to classroom rules and consequences and child earns a 0 on that assignment). 
  • Child receives 2 points for every assignment he attempts (e.g., does at least 1/4th of the assigned task) and 5 points for every completed assignment. Points can be spent before lunch and before child goes home on items/activities on his reinforcement menu (child must have input on what’s on the menu).
  • Child will be given the option of completing an assignment in the resource room for full credit.
  • Child will receive instruction/guidance in how to express needs from the school counselor. Child will earn 5 points for appropriately (according to the guidelines taught by the school counselor) expressing frustration and/or need for help/modifications.

Documentation:
  • record % of assignments attempted and % of assignments completed 
  • record frequency and duration of time in the resource room for this behavior

Amount of improvement expected:
  • at least 60% completed and 75% attempted in class for at least 3 of 4 weeks

Behavior 3— Using profanity around peers

Baseline: average of 8 incidents per week for last 5 weeks

Function of the behavior:
  • vent anger/frustration in a situation less threatening than with teachers/peers 
  • relieving feeling of anxiety due to Tourettes or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • attention-getting

Replacement behavior:
  • recognize anxiety or anger/frustration and get help to vent appropriately (e.g., cool down time, removing self from situation, talking with teachers/peers) 
  • get attention by interacting appropriately with peers

Intervention:
  • when child is verbally inappropriate, he is directed to remove himself to a different location and is not allowed to participate in the activity (e.g., recess) for 5 minutes 
  • provide opportunities for child to practice interacting appropriately with peers (e.g., reading with them)
  • praise for appropriate verbal interaction

Documentation:
  • record number of times child asks for help with anxiety or anger/frustration
  •  record number of times child is verbally inappropriate with peers

Amount of improvement expected:
  • no more than an average of 4 incidents per week for 3 consecutive weeks

Schedule for review:
  • documentation review at least each nine weeks when grade cards are distributed

Provisions for home coordination:
  • On Fridays, a note will be sent home with weekly grade for each class number of inappropriate verbalizations toward peers and number of times child requested resource room and/or cool down. 
  • Assignment notebook sent home daily. Assignments will be marked as attempted, completed or not attempted.

Crisis management plan:
  • If an injury or property damage occurs as a result of Michael’s behavior, a police report will be made and he will be suspended according to district policy. The IEP team will meet as soon as possible within 10 days to review the behavior intervention plan and make modifications where necessary. 
  • If Michael endangers himself or others while in isolation, physical restraint will be used by staff members trained in Mandt procedures.
  • If Michael is not able to demonstrate compliance within 30 minutes, or if he has had more than 3 timeouts, he will be seen by support staff as soon as possible.
  • If Michael endangers himself or others, he will be isolated from his peers and mother or her designee will be called. Michael will remain in isolation until it is determined that he is no longer in imminent danger of hurting himself or others. He will finish his school day in the resource room.
  • Michael will be given a cue that he can use with staff to indicate that he is getting upset and needs to cool down. Once he gives the cue, he can choose from the following options: (a) ask to see a support staff member, (b) go to the resource room, (c) walk in the hall or outside (a staff member will accompany child, but will not talk to child). 
  • If staff sees that Michael is becoming upset and is not using his cue for help, staff will say, “You’re getting upset. I need you to see a support staff member, or go to the resource room, or take a walk in the hall or outside with a staff member.” If Michael is unable to cool down, he will be directed to go to time-out where he will remain until he can demonstrate compliance. 

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content