Technical assistance manual on autism for kentucky schools


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Kentucky Department of Education

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE MANUAL ON AUTISM FOR KENTUCKY SCHOOLS  

November 1997 

Office of Learning Programs Development and Office of Special Instructional Services Kentucky Department of Education

Wilmer S. Cody Commissioner

  • This document is revised from the January 1997 version. The framework for this manual is based upon the Autism Competency Model (11995) developed by Nancy J. Dalrymple and Lisa A. Ruble. Teachers, Parents, staff from KDE and others from Kentucky local school districts piloted and reviewed the frame work using the KDE 1995 Draft Technical Assistance Manual.

Acknowledgements

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) wishes to extend gratitude to those individuals who worked diligently to put the technical assistance manual and toolkit together.

Nancy J. Dalrymple, Clinical Instructor; Child Evaluation Center Child;University of Louisville; Department of Pediatric

Lisa. A. Ruble, Ph. D. Psychologist; Child Evaluation Center; University of Louisville; Department of Pediatrics

Anne M. Moll, Ed. D.; Division of Professional Development; Kentucky Department of Education; Frankfort, KY

Carlene F. Gobert;  Division of Exceptional Children; Kentucky Department of Education; Frankfort, KY

Jacque Hukill; Division of Student/Family Support Services; Kentucky Department of Education; Frankfort, KY

Special Thanks goes to:

Connie McDonald, Special Education Coordinator of Williamsburg Independent Schools and the dedicated teachers and parents of Williamsburg Independent Schools who provided questions, piloted the technical assistance manual and toolkit and provided guidance to KDE for contents and formatting issues.

Members of the Kentucky Chapters of the Autism Society of America for their support and guidance with the content of the manual.

Special Education Coordinators of Kentucky's local education agencies for their guidance and support of the manual.

For More Information on Autism Contact:

Kentucky Department of Education; Division of Exceptional Children Services; Frankfort, Kentucky 40601; 502-564-4970

or Kentucky Autism Training Center;  Child Evaluation Center University of Louisville 502-852-4631
Introduction

Congratulations! You have taken the first step toward meeting the educational needs of students with autism. You have put yourself on an exciting pathway of personal and professional growth. This road will pose some challenges, increase your knowledge and understanding that all children are learners, allow you to apply your collaborative skills, and further enhance your skills as an educator of all children.

Teachers sometimes think, "I can't have this student, I have never been trained on autism", "I'm not a special education teacher, I don't know how to teach a student who has autism", or "I'm afraid I can't teach students with autism, I don't know what to expect." These are common concerns that need to be acknowledged. These worries are understandable because what most people know about autism comes from knowing one individual with autism or from the media. Unfortunately, the media often perpetuate myths and stereotypes about individuals with autism and knowing one individual with autism does not provide a complete picture of the broad spectrum of characteristics (strengths and weaknesses) a student with autism might possess. Students with autism are as diverse as typical students. Student diversity in our schools has never been as great as it is now. We hope that this manual is only the beginning of your journey to becoming informed and educated about serving another diverse group - students with autism.

Parents of children with autism want teachers who understand their child from the child's perspective, and who apply positive, carefully planned teaching strategies based on this understanding to help their child learn and succeed. It takes more than good teaching to understand a student with autism. Good teaching combined with accurate knowledge about the disability builds the foundation for meeting the educational needs of students with autism.
Purpose

The purpose of this manual is to provide information and knowledge necessary to appropriately serve students with autism. To accomplish this purpose the manual:

  1. provides answers to frequently asked questions about autism in Kentucky,

  2. describes a framework for understanding autism through a competency model, and

  3. applies the competency model to the development of individual educational programs(IEPs) and behavior management/discipline plans.

The manual is written in question and answer format using the most commonly asked questions about autism. Each question is listed in the Table of Contents and answered within the manual. In addition to the questions and answers several appendixes are provided to help you evaluate, plan, and implement appropriate instructional experiences for students with autism.
Table of Contents

Section ONE: Understanding Autism

  • What is autism
       Domains Assessed for Determining Eligibility
       Criteria for Autism

  • Kentucky Administrative Regulations Criteria for Autism

  • Do all students with autism share the same characteristics?

  • What causes autism?

  • What is their educational history?

  • How Many People Have Autism?

  • Who should be involved in the education program of the student with autism?

  • Roles of ARC and Multidisciplinary Team Members

  • Is there a difference between an Admissions and Release Committee and a multidisciplinary team?


Section TWO: Understanding Autism through a Competency Model

  • Is there any model or method that could help the Admissions and Release committee and Multidisciplinary team design and implement the IEP for a student with autism?

       Understanding Risk Factors
       Understanding Protective Factors
       Sixteen Types of Enhancements
    Common Areas of Support for Students with Autism
        Supports for Social and Behavioral Competency
        Supports for Communication
        Supports for Physical Needs
        Supports for Organizing Information

Section THREE: Using the Competency Model to Develop the IEP

  • What is an Individual Education Program?

  • What information is in an IEP for a student with Autism?

  • Will there be similarities among IEPs for students with autism?

  • What are some strategies that might address the studentís deficit areas

  •    social competence

  •     comm functioning

  •     cognitive functioning

  •     physical functioning


Section FOUR: Behavior and Discipline Issues

  • How do you develop appropriate behaviors for students with autism?

  • What do we do when a student with autism engages in inappropriate behaviors?

  • Other Possible Reasons for Problem Behaviors

  • Are the same standards of discipline that are applied to students who are not disabled applied to a student with autism?

List of Figures

Figure 1: Domain and Potential Range of Functioning
Figure 2: Three Diagnostic Criteria
Figure 3: Examples of Range Differences
Figure 4: Possible ARC and Multidisciplinary Team
Figure 5: Functions of ARC an Multidisciplinary Team
Figure 6: Autism Competency Model
Figure 7: Personal Challenges
Figure 8: Environmental Challenges
Figure 9: Unbalanced Competency Model
Figure 10: Personal Resources
Figure 11: Environmental Resources Appendixes

References
Autism Society of America Chapters
Some Autism Newsletters and Journals
A few recommended 1990's Books on Autism
Return to table of contents
Section One Understanding Autism

What is Autism?

Autism is a neurologically based syndrome described by a combination of behavioral characteristics. Autism can co-exist with other conditions. The most common condition co-existing with autism is mental retardation. Other co-existing conditions include fragile-X syndrome, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, blindness, deafness, and other syndromes such as Down, deLange, or Tourette's. A number of research studies indicate that about 70% to 80% of children with autism also have mental retardation, about 50% are nonverbal or minimally verbal, and about 25% to 30% develop seizures by adulthood.

Current literature documents a number of issues surrounding autism. Autism can be a difficult and confusing disability to identify due to the numerous classification schemes (Volkmar & Cohen, 1988). The clinical picture of autism varies across individuals, especially in the preschool years, to the extent that there is often a lack of understanding or misdiagnosis of the disability. Individuals who manifest the classic symptoms of autism are more likely to be diagnosed than those who exhibit less apparent symptoms (Allen, 1991). Parents of children with less serious deficits are often told that their child is autistic-like, obsessive-compulsive, schizophrenic, oppositionally-defiant, communication disabled, emotionally disabled, learning disabled, or has a pervasive developmental disorder. Diagnosticians who lack experience with a large number of cases of autism may miss the elusive features of autism (Frith, 1989).

To determine if a student is eligible for special education and related services, information is collected across eight domains: cognitive functioning; physical functioning, communication functioning, social competence, educational functioning, environmental influence, vocational functioning, and recreation and leisure functioning. A brief description of each domain follows.

Return to table of contents
Domains Assessed for Determining Eligibility for Special Education and Related Services

  • Cognitive Functioning - includes intelligence and thinking processes (e.g., knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).

  • Physical Functioning - includes vision, hearing, speech mechanism, health and motor/psychomotor (e.g., gross motor, fine motor, locomotion).

  • Communication Functioning - includes expressive (what is spoken/signed), receptive (what is heard/interpreted), nonverbal communication, articulation, mode of communication, voice and fluency.

  • Social Competence - includes social psychological development, interpersonal behavior, personality, and adaptive behavior (personal living skills, community living skills, communication and social skills).

  • Educational Functioning - includes basic skills and achievement in content areas and school/study skills.

  • Environmental Influence - includes home, educational experience, cultural and economic influences, and interactions in the home, school and community.

  • Vocational Functioning - includes general work behaviors, dexterity, following directions, working independently or with job support, socialization skills, job interests/preferences, career awareness, job interview and application skills, and job specific work skills.

  • Recreation and Leisure skills - includes use of free time, personal hobbies, use of community recreation resources, physical fitness, and degree of social involvement.

Autism has been described as a spectrum disorder because its characterization in these domains ranges from people who have severe deficits to those who have mild deficits. Figure 1 provides a graphic representation of the some of the domains and possible ranges of functioning of students with autism.

FIGURE 1

Domain and Potential Range of Functioning for Students with Autism  
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