Frequently Used Resources
Autism Awareness Month
LIGHT IT UP BLUE!!!
Light It Up Blue, annually observed on April 2 is dedicated to raising awareness of autism. Autism Speaks announced the launch of the Light It Up Blue campaign in 2010. This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month in the United States. The Willard District will be observing this campaign by wearing the District Autism Awareness T-Shirts on every Monday for the month of April.
Defining the diagnosis of Autism:
There have been three different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders:
1. Autistic Disorder
2. Asperger Syndrome
3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise
This information will soon change with the release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which is expected in May 2013. The following report explains that the seperate diagnoses along with childhood disintegrative disorder will be combined under one diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder.
Autism is NOT...
Functions of Behavior
There are four functions of behavior. This is true for everyone (not just if you have autism)! One of the most frequently asked questions from educators of students with autism relates to behaviors. Most of us either want the student to start doing something (like finishing their work) or stop doing something (like yelling at someone when they are mad). Before we can decide on how we are going to help a student start or stop a behavior, we have to decide on why that behavior is happening.
This means...I WANT SOMETHING! Have you ever been in the grocery store and saw a child crying and screaming because they want a pack of skittles and they finally scream loud enough that the adult gives in and gets them the Skittles? That child just got reinforced by something tangible. They learned if they just cry and scream loud enough they will get what they want! This will greatly increase the chance that this behavior will happen again. Next time, that parent could tell their child (before going into the store) the expectations they have in order to get Skittles. Those expectations may look like: 1. Hold onto the shopping cart. 2. Keep a quiet voice. 3. Walk in the store. If the child meets all the expectations then they get Skittles.
This means...THAT FEELS GOOD....OR I HATE HOW THAT FEELS (SOUNDS, TASTES, LOOKS, SMELLS). Do you have a student that runs in the hall between the bells? Could it be that the halls are too busy, too noisy, too congested? What would happen if the student was allowed to transfer classes two minutes early when the halls aren't full? If you see that the student walks, that running behavior could be related to sensory reasons. Be on the look out for next week's update to the blog. It will be from an Occupational Therapist's perspective and offer lots of good insight about sensory systems.
This means....LOOK AT ME! What happens when a student makes a silly noise or comment in a classroom while the teacher is trying to instruct? You got it, all the students turn to look at them and laugh. (Even if they don't laugh, they are still looking. And, lets face it...negative attention is still attention!) Do you stop your instruction to verbally draw attention to the student's behavior? If the behavior is happening for attention, then you have just rewarded that behavior. What would happen if you ignore the behavior? (I know, not all behaviors can be ignored.) But, what would happen if you praise everyone else for what a fabulous job they are doing and try to give them some extra kind of incentive?
This means....I WOULD RATHER GET IN TROUBLE THAN DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO! Is a student demonstrating behavior to get kicked out of class everyday right when the daily writing assignment begins? If that is the case, do they ever have to come back to that writing assignment to complete it? Is the student asking to go to the bathroom 2 minutes before Reading Recovery then staying in the bathroom for 10 minutes so they will be late and miss that time? If that is the case try sending the student to the bathroom 15 minutes before Reading Recovery so that you know they will be able to successfully attend and not miss that class time.
So, before you start putting a plan in place to change the behavior....look at the function. The plan that is put in place has to fill the function of the behavior or it wont work. And, don't give up too quickly! Research shows that it takes 21 days for something to start to become a habit. Research also shows that it takes 3-6 months to extinguish a behavior for every year the behavior has been in place.
Resources for this Blog:
Thank you for taking the time in increasing your education in the field of autism!
Stay tuned for week 2!