When we look at high quality interventions for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we want to learn the foundational SIX EBPs first! When teachers are able to intervene and use strategies with fidelity, students have better outcomes!
This is one of my new lectures that I am posting here. I hope to empower and teach new teachers and parents.
I would love to hear how you are able to incorporate these foundational interventions into your work with students!
Behavioral issues may be caused by a student’s unique sensory needs.
85% of students with autism have sensory processing disorders.
Did you know that there are actually 8 sensory systems in your body, not just 4?
Our bodies take information in through the following sensory systems:
The The functional four:
and then we have the foundational four: “body based”:
proprioception (input from muscles and joints)
interoception-A lesser known sense: (internal sensors indicating physiological conditions)
Sensory Processing: A person’s way of noticing and responding to sensory events that occur during life. These patters of responding affect how people respond in situations. (Dunn, 1997)
Occupational Therapist (OT): An OT is the experts on sensory processing. They will work with the family and the IEP team to conduct screenings and assessments to determine the needs of the student within the context of the school environment. The goal of looking at sensory processing is to improve participation, NOT to change the sensory processing patters. To learn what an IEP is please read What is an IEP?
The DSM-5 includes langauge about sensory processing and autism as part of the diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)…
Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
Neurological Thresholds: Describe the level at which the brain will respond to sensory stimulation. When a student has a low threshold they respond to everything around them and often have sensory profiles that are “sensitive” or “avoiding.” Students who have a high threshold can appear be passive and don’t respond often to sensory stimulation. They may have sensory profiles that are “low registration” or “seeking”
Unique Sensory Profiles:
Low Registration: Indicate a high threshold and a student is slow to respond to stimuli in the environment.
Seeking: indicate high thresholds and this student will often add movement, touch, sound and visual stimuli to the school day.
Sensitivity: Indicate low thresholds and children detect more details than others and may be more hyperactive, distracted and easily upset because they notice more things in the environment than their peers.
Avoiding: Indicate low thresholds and children may avoid work to reduce input. They may seem resistant and unwilling to participate in activities, particularly in unfamiliar ones.
Check out this “model of sensory processing” chart and watch the linked Youtube video for more detail on how to interpret this chart…
Learners on the Autism Spectrum 2nd edition by Kari Buron and Pamela Wolfberg
Dunn, W. (1991a). The impact of sensory processing abilities on the daily lives of young children and their families: A conceptual model. Infants and Young Children, 9(4), 23-25.
Social Stories are another great visual support and intervention for students who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Visual supports are valuable in helping students structure and understand communication and social interactions.
Social Stories were developed by Carol Gray in 1995 as a way to teach children with ASD how to read the intricacies of the social environment and to teach new skills.
These techniques use a brief narrative that describes a situation, relevant social cues, and responses.
They can teach multi-step situations. Similar to “Task Analysis” a skill is broken down into smaller steps for a student to learn and understand.
There are a variety of social skills training programs available, but Social Stories can be created by anyone including teachers, parents, speech language pathologists, and they can be used with all ages of students.
Read and review the social story when the student is calm to teach the behavior or social skill. Review the social story often and reinforce positive student behavior related to skills in the social story
Social Stories are simple narratives, written in positive language that support a student’s communication in a way that makes the new skill or social environment more personal and concrete