Meeting the Needs of Students with Autism via Curricular, Instructional, and Classroom Organizational Modifications, and Student Accommodations Presented by MCCSC’s Autism Team members Marilyn Gingerich, Templeton Elementary Valerie Helms-Breedlove M.S., Bloomington High School North Jan McCollough, Arlington Elementary August 19th, 2004 Welcome to today’s interactive session! o Our goals today include, providing you with: o Basic reasoning why curricular, instructional, assessment, and classroom organizational modifications are vital to the success of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in your classrooms. o Tips and tools to adjust curriculum and accommodate all learners in your classrooms, not just students with Autism o A chance to experience a brief moment in the classroom as an exceptional learner. o An opportunity to rethink and revise an activity to facilitate active participation for all learners in a classroom. o Finally, we would like your feedback on today’s workshop. As teachers, what are our goals? To become rich? Win the brightest, red apple? Have all students engaged in active learning? WHY DO WE MAKE MODIFICATIONS FOR A FEW LEARNERS IN NEARLY ALL ASPECTS OF OUR TEACHING? We respect ALL learners. We want to actively engage ALL students. We want to facilitate student success in the classroom. Professionally, it is best teaching practices. If written in an IEP, it is the law. Finally, when we modify our instruction, curriculum, lesson planning, and classroom organization for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, other students benefit from the added structure and predictability brought to our classrooms. IT IS A WIN WIN SITUATION FOR ALL STUDENTS! LOCKING THE GATES OF FRUSTRATION GENERAL KEYS FOR SUCCESS Remain flexible Develop a dependable, predictable classroom routine- provide visual supports. NO ONE appreciates surprises. Plan for transition time between activities. Develop prompts or cues to pre-warn students of transitions. Avoid using phrases such as ―… in 3 minutes… ― or ― at 9:50 we’ll…‖ because students with Autism will hold you to your timed commitments. Think ahead about the lesson/activity and individual students and then adjust instructional pacing for students’ needs. Develop clear communication methods between you and student, home, and other teachers. WHILE UNLOCKING THE GATES OF ACCOMMODATION KNOWLEDGE Communicate OFTEN! Be proactive and observant of what works academically, environmentally, and behaviorally and what doesn’t. Don’t wait until a student is in meltdown status to make modifications, seek help, etc. Avoid down time!!!! Provide CLEAR, CONCISE (Explicit) DIRECTIONS supported by visual prompts (if needed), and read/rephrase directions to students as needed. Remember, use your school resources including other teachers, technology, special educators, peers, your own knowledge and strengths, and most importantly, ask the students. It is a team effort! THREE GENERAL AREAS TO MAKE MODIFICATIONS AND TO CHECK FOR STUDENT ACCOMMODATIONS • Curricular Materials • Textbook Assignments • Workbook or Worksheet pages • Tests or forms of assessment • Instruction • Classroom Organization & Behavior Management Plan • Grouping Strategies • Daily Schedule and Routines • Learning Centers • Classroom Expectations • Audio Visuals •CLEAR, CONCISE, & • Cooperative Learning CONSISTENT (positive • Transitions between activities behavior supports, verbal praise, emphasize what is being accomplished) • Seating Arrangement • Individualized Behavior Plans ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS: When lesson planning: Identify curricular goals or outcomes being assessed. Identify students that may need accommodations (IEP specified or not)— consider specific student needs (i.e. pacing, visuals, scribing, dictation). Ask yourself, ―How can I adjust or tweak my ( name of activity) in the least intrusive way that will actively engage ( name of student)?—make needed adjustments. Please do not feel you need to recreate a curriculum for a few students. Provide information in alternative forms (multi-sensory): Written, oral, hands-on, over-heads, power-points, graphic or visual organizers (Inspiration & Kidspiration software) Try cooperative learning groups Hands-on experiences BREAK TASKS INTO SMALL SEQUENTIAL STEPS ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: Whether planning an assignment, group activity, etc.: Provide clear, concise, explicit written & oral directions. Therefore, be concise without leaving out pertinent directives. Provide visual cues when necessary. Read and Rephrase directions. Many students are literal thinkers and often complete activities systematically. For example, some students may complete a worksheet from top to bottom, left to right, only do evens, etc. If you want students to begin with number 1 and do all, including both sides of the worksheet, explain that in your directions. If you want students to do the ―odds‖, identify 1, 3, 5, …and so on. Don’t assume any student can read your mind. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS: When lesson planning, continued: Write Daily Goals or Agenda on the Board Make available a printed version for students (support with visual prompts) – 3C Clear, Concise, and Consistent Idea for printed schedules or papers routinely given to students copy consistently on eye appealing colors so students can differentiate task sheets. For example, always provide class and Joe a copy of the daily (weekly) agenda on pale blue paper. Highlight Import dates (test dates, project due dates…) Have class discuss important dates Vocabulary development, for example, can always be copied onto lavender paper. Any assignment associated with vocabulary development would be copied onto lavender paper. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: Color-coding is a simple, tangible way to reduce the sea of white paper students receive. It also builds in a mechanism to teach students organization skills. Don’t go overboard and create a visual sensory overload or mass confusion. Keep it simple!!! Use student samples as models for desired outcomes when possible. Model or pre-teach the desired outcome. Avoid time-pressured assignments or competitions. Every student does not have the same pacing or processing skills. These types of activities could actually lead to problematic behavior. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: Let students be unique, creative learners. Always keep in mind the skill being assessed. Allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in various ways such as verbal reports, pictorials, diagrams (Inspirations), graphic organizer with/without presentation, power points, etc. Provide students with visually appealing handouts, worksheets, assignments, and tests. (3C plus low clutter, larger font size, and stick to a commonly used font) Provide students with guided notes for note taking (explain how to use them). Allow students to either copy a peer’s notes or provide a copy of peer’s notes to fill-in the gaps. Allow students to dictate notes, written assignments, parts of tests (IEP’s). ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: Provide students with study guides, identifying key concepts being tested and what to study as test preparation. Let students know what to study and what type of format (I.e. multiple choice, essay, short answer) Review with students boldfaced headings in text, key terms, talking it out, 5w’s as strategies. Review with students the best way to study. Ask yourself‖What exactly am I assessing on this assignment, test, etc.?‖ Think about narrowing your focus for assessment therefore have more frequent but less intense quizzes or assessment activities. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: When considering reading materials: Make available textbook and other reading materials on tape or CD when available. Explore your libraries: Monroe County Public Library, your school library, online, Indiana Institute on Autism, and the IU School of Education Library for Audio/Visual supports. Incorporate peer, share reading. Students select reading partners and take turns reading and discussing content. Value ―listening‖ comprehension! Let students show you they comprehend by HEARING the material being read. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: When considering HOMEWORK: REMEMBER EVERYTHING PRESENTED UP TO THIS POINT PLUS, PROVIDE CLEAR, CONCISE, AND CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION & OFTEN! Remember, developing a dependable, consistent form of communication between you and a student, home, the teacher of record, and other staff members is one of our keys to success today. ADAPTING CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS When lesson planning, continued: Keys for Productive Communication Communicate clear and concise homework expectations to parents including timelines, materials needed, and modifications you’ve made for their learner. Suggestions: Communication sheets Homework journals with ongoing parent/teacher dialogue. (Perhaps student can earn points for bringing it to/from school with parent initial.) Post daily assignments with agenda on the board make available a written copy to students. (3C) Read and Rephrase as needed. Incorporate students in developing a daily homework checklist ―Do I have my math book?…Problems 1-5 are due tomorrow‖… review with student daily RETHINKING ASSESSMENT: MAKING MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS WHAT IS THE DESIRED OUTCOME? Are you assessing : Test-taking skills? Hand-eye coordination? A student’s ability to read or write between the lines? How many correctly completed assignments/problems in one subject area, for example single digit addition problems, demonstrates proficiency? Does it really matter that Bob can complete his assignments in a 24 hour period, but Alice may take twice as long as Bob? They both received a 75%. Are we teaching skills in isolation or scaffolding one to the next thus incorporating activities that provide more room for creativity? (spider’s web) WHAT ARE YOUR TEACHING GOALS? MAKING MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS: CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION AND EXPECTATIONS CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION: BE SENSITIVE to sensory overload & minimize it (sensory over stimulation is often associated to problematic behavior) Provide supports without creating visual, auditory, and olfactory distractions.– Minimize the clutter! Post schedules & daily routines (3C) Don’t forget lunch, special events, emergency drills and exit plans. Again, work with student and SPED teacher to create student’s own personalized copy of his/her schedule and emergency routes, etc. Create a predictable arrangement that welcomes all learners. Allow students who need to frequently exit the room or avoid distractions, participate in selecting a seat that facilitates their success or supports their BP’s. MAKING MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS: CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION AND EXPECTATIONS CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS: Be CLEAR, CONCISE, AND PROVIDE CONSISTENT FOLLOW THROUGH! Post in classroom and provide written copies for students. Mail a copy to parents. Incorporate Individualized Behavior Plans. If you do not understand IBP, ask someone. (IMPORTANT for everyone to follow IBP’s consistently: Reducing unwanted behaviors by teaching new ones. Focus on what students do well. MAKING MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? KEYS TO SUCCESS: Use the THREE C’s Be Clear, Concise (Explicit), and Consistent Avoid sensory overload in spoken, visual, and written format. Teaching learners with Autism is not a ―one-test-form‖ fits all instructional game We need to think ―out-of-the box‖ when developing lessons, activities, and assessments. Allow student individuality! Provide as much predictability in you daily routine as possible. Provide students with written copy—read and rephrase. (Individualize when needed) Provide as many visual supports as necessary. Create and maintain productive communication with all team members. Whether making appropriate academic, environmental, or instructional modifications and accommodations for students, TEACHERS, you are improving student experiences and facilitating success. A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF AN EXCEPTIONAL LEARNER AT WORK o 1) Practice Activity: o DIRECTIONS (2): Please complete the activity on the table with the person sitting to your right. o On each table you should find activity sheets and pencils. oOnly one of you need to write your responses on the paper laying on o I will read the directions to you your tables. before you begin. oBefore you begin, write both partners names on the sheet. o Please complete the activity oOrganize the list of 20 words into with the person on your right. groups of five words based on common characteristics. o Guests, you have three minutes oI will let you know when the to complete the activity activity is about to finish by saying beginning now. the word TIME. When heard: oYour team will need to finish o DIRECTIONS (1): writing any words in progress then Organize the list of 20 words into turn your paper over. groups. You have three minutes to oI will collect all assignments. complete this activity. Final Thoughts and Reflections Congratulations, you have unlocked the gates of modification knowledge. Thank you for attending our workshop today. Val, Jan, and Jean MCCSC’s Autism Team Don’t forget your handouts and please turn in your surveys. For additional information including study skills, behavior supports, homework help, and more for students with various exceptionalities, log onto VHB’s website. URL http://www.mccsc.edu/~vhelms/ Deschenes, C., Ebeling, D., & Spraque, J. (1994). Adapting Curriculum & Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms: A Teacher’s Desk Reference. Bloomington, IN: ISDD-CSCI.
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