Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Supports for Children with Challenges in the Classroom and at Home

The following information comes from The TEXAS AUTISM RESOURCE GUIDE FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING:  The manual they provide has the most effective and brilliant interventions for teachers in the classroom.  These interventions can also be modified for home.


Visual Environmental Supports
This is an alternate version of the characteristics overview chart on the next page.  It is provided for accessibility.
Verbal skills
      Nonverbal
      Mixed
      Verbal
Grade Level
      PK
      Elementary
Cognitive Level
      Classic
      High Functioning
Areas Addressed
      (Pre)Academic/Cognitive/Academic
      Adaptive Behavior/Daily Living
      Behavior
      Communication/Speech
      Social/Emotional

 Visual Environmental Supports 

Verbal Skills
7 Nonverbal
7 Mixed
7 Verbal
Grade Levels 7 PK
7 Elementary
7 Middle/High
Cognitive Level
7 Classic
High           
Functioning
Areas Addressed 7 (Pre)Academic/       Cognitive/Academic 7 Adaptive Behavior/
      Daily Living
7 Behavior
7 Communication/Speech
7 Social/Emotional

 Brief Introduction 

Children with autism (AU) interact with the environment differently than others due to their challenges in social interaction, behavior, communication, and sensory processing.This section includes reviews of 10 environ- mental support strategies designed to accommodate needs in these areas, (a) visual schedules, (b) task cards,  (c) people locators, (d) boundary settings, (e) labels, (f) lists, (g) graphic organizers, (h) reminder cards, (i) travel card strategy, and (j) home base card.

 Description

Visual schedules.  Visual schedules are an environmental support that accommodates the need for predictability and decreases anxiety about the unknown.Visual schedules take an abstract concept (i.e., time) and present it in a  more concrete and manageable form using words and/or pictures.They serve two major purposes: (a) to provide  motivation by making clear when preferred activities, tasks, or classes will occur and allow anticipation of upcoming events and activities; and (b) to facilitate an understanding of time and the ability to predict change (Myles, 2005).




From Henry, S. Used with permission.
Visual schedules can be created to present a range of information, such as a daily schedule, a schedule of activities to be completed in a class period, and so on.The information listed in each schedule should  vary according to the individual’s age and level of functioning.They may be presented through written  words, objects, photographs, line drawings, symbols or a combination of these options.Visual schedules  can be displayed in different settings and made of different sizes according to their purposes.  
The decision on (a) what and how the information will be presented on the visual schedule and (b) where the visual schedule will be displayed should be based on the specifi c individual’s characteristics and preferences. In addition, it is important to ensure that the individual understands the information presented on his visual schedule.
Task cards.  Task cards, typically presented on business-card-size stock, help children recall academic content, routines, or social skills by setting out the steps to be followed.The statements are directives pre- sented in short and concise language.The content of a task card may be an overview of routines, an out- line of the working schedule, a list of the teacher expectations, and an outline of communication starters.  



From Henry, S. Used with permission.
People locators.  Children with AU have a strong need for predictability and often feel anxious about the unknown.Therefore, knowing where important people in their lives are at various times is important for many.    Any changes in “who will be where” can create immense anxiety for the child and may cause the child to display disruptive behaviors if he is unprepared.  
A people locator is a visual support strategy that provides information about where people are in a visual format that is easily understood by the child. Specifi cally, a people locator gives the child information about (a) who is here today, (b) who is gone today, (c) who is coming later, (d) when someone will come,  and (e) where someone is.  




Boundary settings.  A boundary setting is an intervention that creates structure and helps children with AU manage their own behavior. Boundary settings provide visual cues that can be used to guide individuals with AU through physical spaces within their environment. Specifi cally, the purposes of boundary settings are to (a) provide a safe environment, (b) create structure, (c) establish clear, concise, and consistent guidelines for behavior, and (d) teach children how to set their own boundaries in different settings.  



From Ahlers, M., & Zillich, C. H. (2008).  Classroom and communication skills program: Practical strategies for educating young children with autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities in the public school setting. Shawnee Mission, KS:Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Used with  permission.
Barriers, rugs, bookcases, furniture, or tape on the fl oor are examples of how to create boundary settings.There  are fi ve steps in setting boundaries.
1.    Address the need . Prioritize the child’s need.“Does the child have dif          fi culty staying in one place?” “Does the child have diffi culty in transition from one place to another?” “Does the child have trouble sitting?” and “Does the child experience problems leaving others’ belongings alone?” are questions that need to be addressed.
2.    Defi ne the boundary . Set up and organize the classroom into various areas: play area, group area, work area, and quiet area. Defi ning the boundary will assist children in understanding areas that are accessible and where things belong. It makes it easier for children to identify the meaningful parts of the environment.
3.    Teach the boundary .Teach how to recognize and follow the guidelines established by boundary settings.            
Modeling and reinforcement are strategies that work well in teaching children the boundary.
4.    Evaluate success. Several questions need to be answered in evaluating the boundaries you set up: (a) Does the child independently leave objects where they belong? (b) Does the child consistently transition successfully from one area to another? (c) Does the child leave others’ belongings alone? (d) Does the child stay in the designated area? and (e) Does the child remain seated when desired?

Labels. Labeling is one of the easiest ways to provide visual supports in the environment. Children with AU fi nd it less stressful and easier to participate effi ciently and function independently in activities when labels are added to the environment.The following types of labeling can assist in articulating environmental organization: labeling shelves, draw- ers, and cupboard and closet doors identifi es what and where to fi nd and return items; labeling an individual’s space and belongings can help delineate personal possessions; or labeling activity areas, such as the art table, the play rug, the work table, the leisure area, the break corner, and the book table. Many children with AU need to be specifi cally taught how to recognize and understand the information provided by the label.
Lists.  Lists are another valuable way to present information that is typically presented only verbally (e.g., instruction) or not presented at all (e.g.,  steps of taking the school bus) to children with AU (Myles, 2005). Lists allow individuals with AU to have a solid representation of the information. Lists may be written in a variety of formats.They can be checklists  or numbered lists of steps to be taken.
Graphic organizers.  The optimal goal of using graphic organizers is to enhance learning. Graphic organizers, such as semantic maps,Venn diagrams, outlines,        and charts, are visual supports that organize content material in a way that makes it easier to understand.They are valuable tools for helping students  with AU organize important information about a topic since they provide visual and holistic representations of facts and concepts and their relationship within an organized framework.  


From The Geneva Centre  for Autism  
Reminder cards.   (www.autism.net).   Used with permission. 

Reminder cards are another visual support strategy that can be used to support children with AU with daily activities.A reminder card is simply a  visual cue placed on a piece of paper, an index card, or other media (i.e., PDA) that gives direction.They can be  used in a variety of settings and situations. Use of reminder cards can enhance independence, minimize disruptive behavior, and improve communication and understanding
of individuals with AU.



From Cardon,T. (2008).          Top ten tips – A survival guide for families with children on the autism spectrum. Shawnee Mission, KS:Autism Asperger  Publishing Company. Used with permission.
Travel card strategy.  The travel card provides a brief list of the academic, behavior, and social strategies on which the child is working, using a gridlike format (Jones & Jones, 2006).The travel card strategy involves the child  carrying the travel card, which is prepared by his case manager or resource room teacher on a daily basis,  from class to class. Each teacher must sign the card and indicate whether the student is engaging in the targeted behaviors.The child receives tokens from each teacher if he carries the card to class and engages in the  targeted behavior during the class period.  
The advantages of the travel card lies in the fact that it not only increases the child’s productive behavior across multiple environments but also facilitates teacher collaboration and improves school-home communication (Carpenter, 2001).  


From Myles, B. S., & Adreon, D. (2001).  Asperger Syndrome and adolescence: Practical solutions for school success. Shawnee Mission, KS:Autism Asperger  Publishing Company. Used with permission.
Home
Base
Home base card.  Children with AU often have diffi culties modulating their behaviors.A home base is a  quiet and safe place where individuals with AU can go to regain control over their environment (Myles & Adreon, 2001; Myles & Simpson, 2003). In other words, a home base allows children with AU to have a designated spot to (a) plan or review information or (b) cope with stress and behavior challenges (Myles & Adreon, 2001). In addition,  children with AU who are overwhelmed by sounds, movement, and lighting might benefi t from a home base (Faherty, 2000).  
A home base should be a positive and prosocial setting. It is not a time-out room nor a place where children can escape from whatever they were doing before the need for home base occurred.  
To benefit from home base, the student should be taught how to go to home base at a time when he is not upset or angry.To make the process go smoothly and be as non-intrusive as possible, the adult rec- ognizes the student needs to go to home base and places the home base card on the student’s desk as a prompt to go to home base.

 Steps

There are no specific steps involved in providing environmental supports to children with AU. Nevertheless, generally, when providing environmental supports, first evaluate the child’s strengths, interests,  goals, and learning style and identify challenges that need to be addressed. Based on the child’s specific characteristics, the appropriate environmental support can then be identified.

 Brief Example

Maria is a fi rst-grade student with AU. Maria’s teacher, Ms. Cook, has noticed that Maria has difficulty remaining seated with her feet on the fl oor whenever the students are required to work in groups.  Sometimes she lies across the table, the fl oor, or on her chair, and sometimes she leaves her seat without permission. In addition, she frequently plays with other children’s belongings or materials.  
Ms. Cook decided to use the boundary setting strategy to help Maria manage her behaviors. She gave Maria a picture of herself sitting in her chair, her hands in her lap, feet on the fl oor.The picture was taped  to the table to provide Maria with a visual reminder of classroom expectations. Ms. Cook praised Maria whenever she observed her sitting quietly in her chair, with hands in her lap and feet on fl oor. Soon,     Maria began to do a better job of sitting in her seat and showed a greater respect for her classmates’ belongings.  

 Summary

The unique characteristics and challenges of children with AU can be accommodated through various environmental supports. In determining appropriate environmental supports for the child, it is important to keep in mind that those supports should be individualized to meet the specific strengths, challenges, interests, goals, and learning style of the child.

 Research Table 

# of Studies
Ages
(years)
Sample Size
Area(s) Addressed
Outcome
30*
3-Adult
119
Problem behavior, transition, communication, social behavior, leisure activities,  daily living skill, vocational skill
+
*Note: Includes studies cited in integrated reviews of literature conducted by Wheeler, Baggett, Fox, & Blevins (2006) and Odom, Brown, Frey, Karasu, Smith-Cantor, & Strain (2003).

 Studies Cited in the Research Table

1.        Ganz, J. B., Bourgeois, B. C., Flores, M. M., & Campos, B.A. (2008). Implementing visually cued imitation training with  children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10, 56-66.  
         The study investigated the impact of a multicomponent visually cued imitation strategy. Four children with AU participated. Results revealed a positive impact of the strategy.  
2.        Ganz, J. B., & Flores, M. M. (2008). Effects of the use of visual strategies in play groups for children with autism spectrum disorders and their peers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 926-940.  
         The study investigated the effects of visual strategies on three children with AU and their peers during play group sessions. Results revealed positive impacts on the participants’ use of script phrases, context-related comments, and intervals in which speech occurred.  
3.        Vacca, J. J. (2007). Incorporating interests and structure to improve participation of a child with autism in a standardized assessment:A case study analysis.       Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22, 51-59.  
         The study described an innovative approach that includes incorporating interests and a structured schedule, to assess a girl with AU. Results showed positive outcomes of using the approach.
4.        Brown, K. E., & Mirenda, P. (2006). Contingency mapping: Use of a novel visual support strategy as an adjunct to functional equivalence training.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8, 155-164.  
         The study evaluated the effectiveness of contingency mapping, a new visual support strategy designed to enhance understanding of the contingencies associated with functional equivalence training.A 13-year-old adolescent with AU  participated. Results showed that contingency mapping was related to reductions in problem behavior and increases in alternative behavior.  
5.        Wheeler, J. J., Baggett, B.A., Fox, J., & Blevins, L. (2006).Treatment integrity:A review of intervention studies con   ducted with autism.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21,  45-55.
         This study consisted of a search of intervention studies in AU from 1993 to 2003 to determine treatment integrity.  Among the 60 studies located, 15 focused on visual strategies.
6.        Conroy, M.A.,Asmus, J. M., Sellers, J.A., & Ladwig, C. N. (2005).The use of an antecedent-based intervention to de    crease stereotypic behavior in a general education classroom:A case study.   Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 223-230.  
         The study evaluated the effectiveness of an antecedent-based intervention, including the use of visual cues to indicate activity time, on the stereotypic behavior of a 6-year-old boy with AU. Results revealed a decrease in the boy’s stereotypic behavior.  
7.        O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Edrisinha, C., & Andrews,A. (2005).An examination of the effects of a class  room activity schedule on levels of self-injury and engagement for a child with severe autism.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 305-311.  
         The study examined the effects of an individualized schedule on levels of engagement and self-injury for a 12-yearold boy with AU. Results indicated that a schedule of activities produced substantial reductions in self-injury and increase in engagement. Maintenance of the results was documented in the follow-up assessment.
8.        Johnston, S., Nelson, C., Evans, J., & Palazolo, K. (2003).The use of visual supports in teaching young children with au            tism spectrum disorder to initiate interactions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 86-103.
         This study involved three boys with AU who were taught to utilize a graphic symbol representing “Can I Play?” to request entrance into play activities. Results indicated that the strategy was effective.
9.        Odom, S. L., Brown,W. H., Frey,T., Karasu, N., Smith-Cantor, L. L., & Strain, P. (2003). Evidence-based practices for   young children with autism: Contributions for single-subject design research.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18, 166-175.
         An analysis of single-subject design research with children with AU published between 1990 and 2002 was undertaken. Seven of the 37 studies used visual supports.
10.      Schmit, J.,Alper, S., Raschke, D., & Ryndak, D. (2000). Effects of using a photographic cueing package during routine  school transition with a child who has autism.  Mental Retardation, 38, 131-137.
         The study examined the effi cacy of using a photographic cue package to teach a young child with AU to make successful transitions in daily routines across three different school settings. Results indicated that a combination of verbal and photographic cues reduced the participant’s tantruming while increasing the number of successful transitions. Several other positive outcomes were also documented.

 References

Brown, K. E., & Mirenda, P. (2006). Contingency mapping: Use of a novel visual support strategy as an adjunct to functional equivalence training.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8, 155-164.  
Carpenter, L. B. (2001).The travel card. In B. S. Myles & D.Adreon (Eds.),                        Asperger Syndrome and adolescence: Practical solutions for school success (pp. 92-96). Shawnee Mission, KS:Autism Asperger Publishing Company.          
Conroy, M.A.,Asmus, J. M., Sellers, J.A., & Ladwig, C. N. (2005).The use of an antecedent-based intervention to     decrease stereotypic behavior in a general education classroom:A case study.   Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 223-230.  
Faherty C. (2000).  What does it mean to me? A workbook explaining self-awareness and life lessons to the child or youth Interventions
with high functioning autism or Asperger’s. Arlington,TX: Future Horizons.  
Ganz, J. B., Bourgeois, B. C., Flores, M. M., & Campos, B.A. (2008). Implementing visually cued imitation training with  children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays.  Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions,  10, 56-66.
Ganz, J. B., & Flores, M. M. (2008). Effects of the use of visual strategies in play groups for children with autism spectrum disorders and their peers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 926-940.  
Johnston, S., Nelson, C., Evans, J., & Palazolo, K. (2003).The use of visual supports in teaching young children with  autism spectrum disorder to initiate interactions.  Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 86-103.  
Jones,V. F., & Jones, L. S. (2006).             Comprehensive classroom management: Creating positive learning environments for all students (8th ed.). Boston:Allyn & Bacon.          
Myles, B. S. (2005).  Children and youth with Asperger Syndrome: Strategies for success in inclusive settings. Thousand Oaks,  CA: Corwin Press.
Myles, B. S., & Adreon, D. (2001).  Asperger Syndrome and adolescence: Practical solutions for school success. Shawnee Mission, KS:Autism Asperger Publishing Company.  
Myles, B. S., & Simpson, R. L. (2003).  Asperger Syndrome:A guide for educators and parents  (2nd ed.).Austin,TX: Pro-Ed.                                                                                                                                                        
Odom, S. L., Brown,W. H., Frey,T., Karasu, N., Smith-Cantor, L. L., & Strain, P. (2003). Evidence-based practices for   young children with autism: Contributions for single-subject design research.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18,  166-175.
O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Edrisinha, C., & Andrews,A. (2005).An examination of the effects of a class-  room activity schedule on levels of self-injury and engagement for a child with severe autism.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 305-311.
Schmit, J.,Alper, S., Raschke, D., & Ryndak, D. (2000). Effects of using a photographic cueing package during routine  school transition with a child who has autism.  Mental Retardation, 38, 131-137.
Vacca, J. J. (2007). Incorporating interests and structure to improve participation of a child with autism in a standardized assessment:A case study analysis.            Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22, 51-59.
Wheeler, J. J., Baggett, B.A., Fox, J., & Blevins, L. (2006).Treatment integrity:A review of intervention studies con-   ducted with autism.  Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21,  45-55.


Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching

 Resources and Materials

       Do 2 Learn: www.do2learn.com
      This is an extensive resource for visual supports.
       Interactive Collaborative Autism Network: www.autismnetwork.org
     This learning module provides parents and educators with a basic understanding of using visual schedules.
       Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence Autism Internet Modules: www.ocali.org/aim
      This site offers a broad range of modules on topics related to AU.You must have a user account to view mod       ules, but the account is free.The visual support module is thorough and comprehensive.  



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