Improves self-confidence:student becomes “expert” in this area
Helps reduce anxiety: more relaxed and fewer meltdowns
Intrinsic engagement: instrisic motivation and engagement
Increased social engagement: when SIA is included into treatment plans
Executive functioning:improved focus on SIA
My Special Interest Social Social Story
Although there are many benefits to SIAs, sometimes kids need to take a break from them to focus on something else. The social story teaches how to re-focus then go back to the SIA when done learning something new.
I created a social story to help kids with autism understand their special interest area.
Here is a sneak peak at the story:
The first part of the story defines and shares the benefits of a SIA:
The book asks the reader what they like. The story then goes on to discuss the need to sometimes “pause” the SIA to learn something new.
A free first-then schedule is included in this social story! You can laminate or use a plastic page protector and use a wet erase marker to write on it.
My Foundations of autism class created another FREE resource for our teacher colleagues…
With the collaboration of my Fall 2019 SPED 561 Foundations of Autism class, we created this FREE resource for teachers. We want to promote inclusion and provide 20 current and helpful tips for including students in the mainstream class. These tips are support suggestions that have worked for us for students with autism spectrum disorder.
“Work together to get the LEGO character to the house!”
How to set up the board:
Print out both pages on card stock (colored or white).
Laminate both pages
Put Velcro on each square and one on the mini LEGO house
Find your children’s favorite LEGO character and put Velcro on their back
Hole punch and put two O-Rings to connect the pages together to make the chart fold up. Use a binder clip to keep the chart closed and to hang it up in the house
Use wet erase marker to set family rules and write in rewards
How to use the board:
Create three positively stated family rules “We keep our hands to ourselves”
Teach, model and practice the rules as a family
Pre-determine what each child would like to “earn” as a reward once the LEGO character gets to the house
Parents “catch” both children following one or more rules and advance the LEGO character one spot
Be explicit on why you are moving the LEGO character. For example say “I caught you both keeping your hands to yourself so we can move the LEGO character. Only seven more and you get to the house. Keep up the great work.”
Once the children get to the house, they get the reward and you can start over if you want. Make sure to check in and see what they want to work for as a reinforcer
When creating rules use positive language
Give a forced choice of two-three rewards to make sure the rewards are doable for you and the family
These rewards should not necessarily be huge items to work for. Small and consumable items may be a good start
Make sure any reward you are using is not accessible during other times of the day.
Remember, a reward is only considered a reinforce if it increases the desired behavior
If you can’t find something reinforcing, continue to do reinforcement assessments until you find the right motivator
Don’t move the character backwards. If the child doesn’t earn it, just don’t advance the character.
Encourage “buy-in” by having the children earn the reward quickly at first.
Distal setting events are sometimes called slow triggers or setting events. They are setting events that can trigger challenging behavior but don’t happen immediately before the behavior occurs. These are things such as:
Lack of food (hungry)
Got in a fight before school
Lack of sleep
Conflict at home
Missed medication or medication issue
We can help a student’s behavior when we know the distal setting events
Imagine this scenario: How do you feel if you have not eaten and you have to do a strenuous task? On top of that imagine that, you got bullied in the hallway going to class and you only got three hours of sleep last night. All of these factors add up to distal setting events that can set a child up for failure.
Teachers respond to challenging behaviors all day long. We often forget about the distal setting events that can lead to behavioral challenges. The focus is usually on what happens immediatly before behavior happens. A functional behavior assessment can take into account these distal setting events to help us get a full picture. This assessment will give us a better idea of “why” or the function behind the problem behavior.
Keep lines of communication open
Open lines of communication between home and school are vital for us to pinpoint the distal setting events. Having a morning check in around wellness can also help us get a “pulse” on how the child is feeling and their general wellness. A community circle is a great way to do a group check in if you don’t have time to do individual check-ins.
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Here is another great article written about setting events if you would like to read more!
“behavioral strategies used to assist students with autism spectrum disorder in monitoring their own behaviors and administering their own rewards.”
Laura J. Hall
This is a personal application of a behavior change tactic that produce a desired change in behaviors.
Student with ASD are able to monitor their own progress with acquiring new skills and decrease problem behaviors with self-management systems. From a young age, self-management strategies are an important part of encouraging independence. It is also an evidence based strategy.
How self-management cards help students with ASD:
Self-management allows students with autism who typically have poorly developed self-management skills to participate in the development and implementation of their own behavior management.
Students are being instructed to:
(a) observe specific aspects of their own behavior
(b) provide an objective recording of the occurrence or non-occurrence of the observed behavior.
The student is in charge of determining if they engaged in a specific behavior. Research shows “the activity of focusing attention on one’s own behavior and the self-recoding of these observations can have a positive relative effect on the behavior being monitored.”
Questions to consider
What is the target behavior?
In what settings will the student self-monitor?
What type of promo (cue) is most appropriate?
How often will the student self-monitor?
What external incentive or reward will be given?
There are certain steps that have been outlined that I will share here:
Here are the steps necessary for implementing self-management systems
Step 1: Identify preferred behavioral targets
Step 2: Determine how often students will self-manage behaviors
Step 3: Meet with the student to explain the self-management procedure
Step 4: Prepare a student self-recording sheet
Step 5: Model the self-management plan and practice the procedure
Step 6: Implement the self-management plan
Step 7: Meet with the student to determine whether goals were attained
Step 8: Provide the rewards when earned
Step 9: Incorporate the plan into a school-home collaboration scheme
Step 10: Fade the intervention
Have you used self-management systems? What are your thoughts?
(source-The Best Practice Guide to Assessment And Intervention For Autism Spectrum Disorder In Schools 2nd edition by Lee A. Wilkinson)