Thursday, October 18, 2007

Less is More! - Susan Stokes at Closing the Gap

Susan Stokes presentation at CTG - Less is More! "Low Tech" Receptive Communication Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Live blogging:

ASD processing skills: Strengths - visual processing, weaknesses - auditory processing

Is it non-compliance or non-comprehension?

How do we communicate to students with ASD?

"People are reluctant to understand how people with ASD best process information."

When someone doesn't get something what do we do? We usually talk more. We must stop and learn to communicate in a different manner. Seeing is understanding.

How does technology fit?

Primary function of "Low Tech" Visual Instructional Strategies
  • As receptive communication tools
  • To give information
  • To increase comprehension
  • Removes power struggles - visuals are the boss

These strategies WORK!! Why:
  • Addresses/reduces challenging behaviors in a proactive manner
  • Decreases anxiety/increases calmness
  • Increases understanding
  • GREATLY increases independent functioning
Identify best methods of presenting visual information (list is concrete to abstact):
  • Real objects
  • Mini real objects
  • True Object Based Icons (TOBIs)
  • Photographs
  • Real Drawings
  • Line Drawings
  • Written Word
"Some kids don't understand line drawing software (such as BoardMaker) as it is too abstact for them."

The #1 intervention strategy is understanding ASD!!

Tip of the iceberg behavior, need to understand what is under the surface. (The tip is only 10% of the iceberg)
Showed an ASD Iceberg Planning Guide: What is the behavior? What is causing that behavior to occur? What are we going to do about it? Who is responsible for this team (considering the team approach)?

Gave some examples of students.

Examples of low tech tools.
  • "Bare bones basic" - First / Then (forget the schedule - for some students too much)
  • Time Timer - gives the student an understanding of the passing of time unlike digital timers
  • Activity Termination Cards - helps with computer meltdowns -velcro cards Green GO, Yellow - ALMOST DONE, Red STOP - student was now able to transition off the computer.
  • Group schedule
(Many students are anxious about writing - focus on the mechanics of writing, they become unable to write, use word processors! Electronic label makers for short answers!)

Carol Gray developed Five Point Scale - can adapt to any situation.

Shared many Visual Environmental Strategies. Use of "X marks the spot" on the bus, for example.

Gave examples of additional students and wonderful intervention strategies. If you have the opportunity to hear her speak, you must!!

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