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Advice: Insular ASD child

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by jumpingstar, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    Hello all.

    Just asking advice about a child in my class, to check I am on the right lines.

    I have a child who is very insular - pretty much non verbal but uses a lot of delayed echolalia and will answer you/request wanted items with voice. He is pretty switched on as a Year 1 child but not ready for a formal curriculum, He has his areas in the classroom which he likes to be in and likes to play with his own chosen items and will spend hours sorting on his own.

    He can be violent when distressed and will often lash out at people if they are asking him to do something he does not want to do/isn't given warning about/doesn't understand the task (pretty expected stuff) He doesn't like noise or lots of people.

    At the moment we are respecting his space, he has his own area for his own resources where he knows he can go and access, we give him warnings for events we know will heighten his anxiety and use his motivating items to encourage him to take part in learning tasks (either as part of the task or as a reward for completing the task)

    We can only get him to complete tasks in short bursts and if he is distressed this is near impossible.

    We give him choices so that he is seemingly in control of situations where we need him to do something we want (ie putting on a coat we give him two coats to choose from an he will select one of them and wear it for a short period. Yet if we only showed him one coat he would refuse, get distressed and hit out)

    Does anyone have any further advice that we could use? Do you think what we are doing sounds ok? I know some people think that we are being too soft on him and not "forcing him to comply" which I personally feel is wrong ... but I am aware I am new to SEN
     
  2. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I think what you are doing sounds great!
    Perhaps you do it already, but what about the use of visuals or Makaton? Also reduced language, so not: "ok, Jimmy, it's 10am now so it's time to do work and if you sit nicely and finish it off, you get some playtime", but instead: "Jimmy, it's time for work. First work, then playtime".

    A now and next board or individual timetable could also work for him. You could have 2 activities of your choice and then a "Jimmy's choice". Use a visual timer so he knows how long he has.

    Does he have any SaLT? Does he used PECS or a communication book to aid his spoken language? Colourful semantics to construct sentences?
     
  3. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    Thanks Sofia.

    Yes we use short language with him and would use that exact phrasing "first work then choosing"
    I have had the conversation about using Now and Next with him as before now it was felt he wasn't able enough to understand now and next, but I feel his understanding is there if we first teach him what next actually means in short steps.

    We have sand timers so that's a good idea to use a sand timer to show how long he needs to stay at task before his choice task.

    Yes we have a very supportive SALT therapist so I will ask her advice too. He does use PECs but tends to choose his spoken language over symbols a lot of the time to signal wants and needs. We always try and use visuals within tasks though.

    I haven't seen/used semantics (excuse my ignorance - very new to SEN) can you tell me more?

    Thanks for your help
     
  4. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    What level is he working at, approximately? I have a class of year 4, 5, 6 ASD/SLD learners so they are older than yours but are between P4 and P7. I use now and next for even the lowest ones and for some I have a "now, then & next" board which is especially handy if you want them to do 2 tasks before the reward. If the reward is motivating enough, it might surprise you how fast they pick it up!
    Sand timers are great, we use them as well. If there is none around, we do say "2 more minutes", "1 more minute" but that isn't as effective because they don't understand that. We do always count down from 5 as well which is clearer.

    Colourful Semantics is a method that helps students construct sentences. About half of my class is verbal but they mostly speak in words (not sentences) apart from "I want...". With colourful semantics you have symbols (or pictures) in orange for the subject, yellow for the verb, green for object and blue for the place.
    With this you can describe pictures, for example: "boy throwing ball in garden". You start with just who+what doing and then build it up. It really helps my verbal ones, especially if the pictures are of themselves or their friends who they recognise. I also use it for my non verbal ones by the way.

    Depending on his level, some other famous strategies for ASD learners are TEACCH, Attention Autism and Intensive Interaction but your student might already be too high for that.

    As for the hitting, have you tried a social story with him? Explaining him that it is ok to be upset but it is not ok to hit. Instead you could teach him to stamp his feet (a teacher in another class has 2 feet painted in the floor in a corner where students can go to stamp if they feel upset) or something else that works for you.
    You might have to explain to him first what the emotions are. If you see he is upset, show him the symbol for upset and explain him that what he feels now is called upset. You could do the same for happy and sad (and any other emotion that might be useful). Hopefully if he has the vocabulary to express what he wants "I feel upset, I need to stamp my feet" will prevent him hitting out.

    Good luck, but from what I read here, you are doing great!
     
    FlyingFoxBat likes this.
  5. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    Thanks - he is working at around p5/6 depending on subject and is higher mathematically than literacy (obviously)

    Yes - we also use spot timers which he responds to. We have recently found out that he responds to "in a minute" but can't cope with "later" so that's helping when adapting out language. He is quite sweet in the fact that he will always protest and have a running on the spot combined with growling type protest for about 10 seconds whilst saying "ok" and will then go to where he has been asked after he's been through the process. It's quite endearing really as that is his way of coping and he manages it quite well.

    I like the sound of colourful semantics as mine mainly talk in words not sentences and can string up to 3 or 4 words together but no more - sounds like it could help a lot! I'll have to look into it!

    We do intensive interaction with another child but this one is too high for that like you say. I think TEACCH could work with him definitely but it is something I am trying to establish with my "classroom based children" initially. Will definitely be something to consider with him a bit later on though. I can see it working for him.

    He is good at talking about his emotions (in simple terms) and is quite reflective/perceptive about how his behaviour affects others - he feels quite bad after he's hit someone and will often go for a hug afterwards and ask if you are alright. I think for him it's managing his strategies to deal with his anger/upset rather than directing it at people in the first place. He does love a calming hug and being told it's ok. (on his terms only) I think we will have to work on having a place for him to direct his frustration like you say, it's just trying to catch him at the right time as often his frustration is unexpected and he comes at you from behind, so catching it is the tricky part....

    Thank you though, it is nice to hear I am not totally wrong in my gut feelings with (as i'm frequently reminded ) little experience of SEN.
     

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