Please watch this video to learn more about Early Childhood Screening Tools.
Please watch this video to learn more about Early Childhood Screening Tools.
Functional Routines: STAR autism strategies
Functional Routines are predictable events that involve a chain of behaviors. Routines are generally associated with a functional outcome for the child. Some common example routines that all children engage are: the restroom routine, arrival routine and snack routine. The functional outcome of a routine usually serves as the reinforcer for typically developing children. These routines provide meaningful contexts for using, generalizing, and maintaining receptive and expressive language, social interaction skills, and pre-academic concepts. The STAR Program provides the teacher with the needed programs to systematically teach children to independently participate in most common school and self-care routines. Guidance is provided for the creation of a structured learning environment for young children with autism. The STAR Program also provides the teacher with a system to integrate and thus generalize the use of skills taught in discrete trial and pivotal response training.
References for Teaching Functional Routines: Falco, R., Jansen, J., Arick, J. and M. Deboer (1990). J. B. Ganz (2007), R. Lovannone, G., Dunlap, H. Huber, and D. Kincaid (2003), B.T. Ogletree, T. Oren, & M.A. Fisher (2007), Brown, Evans, Weed, & Owen, (1987). Cooper, et. Al., (1987). McClannahan & Krantz, (2000). Olley, (1987). Arick, J., Young, H., Falco, R., Loos, L., Krug, D., Gense, M., and Johnson, S. (2003).
As a teacher, I have been asked often to help establish routines at home. It may feel out of the scope of our jobs, but the more our students are calm, organized and adapted at home, the more likely they are to come to school rested, and ready to learn.
What part of your day (at home) is most stressful with your child? Where are the most breakdowns, meltdowns and power struggles? The answer to that question is where the functional routines can be worked on to create structure and support.
Some common areas of struggle include: getting ready for school, homework time, meal times, bedtime. Sometimes the whole day is challenging and filled with struggle. We can’t fix the whole day at once. As parents, it can feel daunting when people tell us to create a daily routine…A long expansive day feels like a marathon to get through and routines end up breaking down when we try to set the whole day into a predictable, calm and well oiled routine machine. Our goal is to help kids with autism have a calm and organized home life which carries over to school.
So let’s focus on creating micro-routines….
What is a micro routine? Start with one small routine during the day. Let’s pick a challenging one to start. You can establish more routines as your child becomes more comfortable with them.
Why? Routines are so important for kids with autism. Kids with autism thrive on predictability, structure and routine. Following and completing a routine can feel naturally reinforcing and organizing. Routines bring order to your day…
How to get started: Let’s pick dinner time as an example: Some children with autism have a hard time understanding what is expected of them at mealtimes. They may have become accustomed to grazing or snacking during the day but not sitting down and having a meal.
Here is what a dinner time routine can look like:
Within any routine, each step can be broken down into a task analysis if needed. If a child needs more support, take a look at Task Analysis For Students With Autism
Over time our routine has improved and what was once a chaotic and un-enjoyable time of the night has become something to look forward to.
This micro-routine may only realistically last for a short amount of time but building predictable and clear routine will help carve this time out for you and your family.
Add visual supports for extra clarity and guidance:
Low Tech Options: Real pictures, line drawings or words can work as a way to support the micro-routine.
How to Teach: Model, practice, support and reinforce. Each step of the routine may start as a brief or fleeting moment but reinforce each step. If your child has never sat at the table for dinner, set a visual timer for a few minutes to encourage them to sit. Why I love My Time Timer for Visual Support. As time goes on, lengthen the time they are at the table.
You may think a daily routine will be impossible to implement so start with a micro-routine and stick with it. Every day is a chance to practice the routine. Stay positive and encourage growth even micro-growth because over time, the predictably will become part of your daily life.
All students who experience autism are unique and have their own strengths and needs. Here are 5 common supports for students with autism in the mainstream classroom:
1. Read, understand and implement the student’s accommodations page of their IEP.
2. Work closely with specialists to provide support for the student
3. Collaborate with parents Continue reading
The end of the school year is a great time for teachers to spend some time deeply reflecting on the school year. Carve out some time to fill out this fun self-reflection tool I created.
You can download and print it out here: Self-Reflection For The End Of the School Year
Share your thoughts: If you have a team of other teachers you work with, take some time to share some of your reflections and ideas. This self-reflection tool would be great for a grade-level team to fill out and determine what items are similar and different on each teacher’s page.
Student Teachers: As part of what is recommended in 5 Things To-Do Before Student Teaching Is Done take some time to reflect on what went well and what you would change. Using this self-reflection tool will help guide your thoughts and have something tangible to look back on before the school year starts back in the fall. Although it might be tempting to cut and run, take the time to self-reflect while you are still in your final days of your placement.
Changes To Make: What are some changes you would like to make?:
Best Lessons And Activities: What were the best lessons and activities this school year? Continue reading
I wanted to share some examples of classroom job charts I have seen out in the field. If you have a great job chart, take a picture and post in the comments. Having examples will help you for when you set up your classroom in the fall. Take pictures of everything now so you will the examples later 5 Things To-Do Before Student Teaching Is Done
What are the benefits of having classroom jobs?
How many jobs should a classroom have?
Students who experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) can benefit from a focused practice of cultivating gratitude.
One research article states the importance of:
“providing ways to action gratitude through student initiatives”
for children who have ACES.
The full article is linked here: Teaching With Strengths in Trauma-Affected Students: A New Approach to Healing and Growth in the Classroom
This text box comes directly from the article and shows the increased psychological capacities and strengths in trauma-affected students.
A daily home practice I have instituted is a gratitude jar:
I learned about this prchool reading program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten from a friend who lived in another state. Her library had a program in place to track and provide incentives for children to read 1000 books before entering Kindergarten. Our local library had not yet started a program so my son (who was an infant at the time) and I logged the books we read with the phone app. The phone app. can be downloaded and used on your smart phone. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/1000-books-before-kindergarten/id779280401.
Program Mission for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten
The 1000 Books Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable, literary, and educational purposes.
The objectives of this organization are:
- to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers
- to encourage parent and child bonding through reading
Certificate: After each milestone, 100, 200, 300 etc. books read, I printed from the website a certificate showing how many books had been read. The website provides certificates that can be printed out if you want to follow along at home. Click the link here to find the printable certificates https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/1000-books-before-kindergarten-program/
This program is perfect for homeschooled preschoolers, as a summer reading incentive program and preschools can adopt this program as well!