- Supporting Students with Asperger's Syndrome Who Present Behavioral Challenges
- A Brief Explanation of Discrete Trial Training
- Applied Behavior Analysis: A Focus on Outcomes
- A Challenge to Reframe our Thinking About Behavior
- Concerning Consequences: What Do I Do When...?
- Consequences, Behavior, and My Birds
- Don't Forget About Self Management
- Ever Had a Crisis Kind of Day?
- Movement Difference: A Closer Look at the Possibilities
- Movement Differences Among Some People with Autism: an Impetus to Re-Examine Behavioral Issues
- Observing Behavior Using A-B-C Data
- Positive Behavior Supports Creating Meaningful Life Options for People with ASD
- Ten Steps Towards Supporting Appropriate Behavior
- The Challenge of Combining Competing Input in the Classroom
- "Your Attitude Just Might Be My Biggest Barrier"
- Applied Behavior Analysis: The Role of Task Analysis and Chaining
- Tips for Choosing a Provider for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
- What to Consider When Looking for a Qualified ABA Provider
- “If They Could Only Tell Me What They Are Thinking.” The Need for Augmentative Communication for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Assessment Day: Questions About the Communication Development of Your Young Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Aiding Comprehension of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders During One-on-One Interactions
- Can Social Pragmatic Skills Be Tested?
- Comprehension of the Message: Important Considerations for Following Directions
- First Steps and the Journey to a Diagnosis of ASD for a Child under Three
- Functional Categories of Delayed Echolalia
- Functional Categories of Immediate Echolalia
- Initial Guidelines for Developing a Communication Intervention Plan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Significant Limitations in Communication Ability
- Long and Short Term Strategies for Reducing Specific Repetitive Questions
- Successfully Using PECS with Children with ASD
- Meeting the Challenge of Social Pragmatics with Students on the Autism Spectrum
- Opportunity to Communicate: A Crucial Aspect of Fostering Communication Development
- Reading with Your School-Age Child: Building Vocabulary One Word at a Time
- Social Communication and Language Characteristics Associated with High Functioning, Verbal Children and Adults with ASD
- The 21st Century Speech Language Pathologist and Integrated Services in Classrooms
- The High Functioning Person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A "Tourist" in His Native Country
- The Role of the School Speech Language Pathologist and the Student with Autism
- Using a Visual Support to Enhance WH Question
- Visual Resources for Enhancing Communication for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Disabilities
- Visual Schedules and Choice Boards: Avoid Misinterpretation of their Primary Functions
- Visual Supports: Sources for Symbols for Receptive and Expressive Communication
- What is the Picture Exchange Communication System or PECS?
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- Articles - Communication
- PICO - A Decision Making Tool For Selecting Apps
- Helping Your Child to Develop Communication Skills
- Evidence-Based Practices for Effective Communication and Social Intervention
- Important Predictors
- The Use of Technology in Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Collaborative Teaming
- Educational Programming
- Academic Supports for College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Advice from Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Teachers Regarding Literacy Instruction
- Advice for Peer Tutors
- Applying the Ziggurat and CAPS Model in Your School District
- Aspects of Support for Learning
- A Young Adult's Guide to Deep Breathing as a Relaxation Technique: A Personalized Fact Sheet
- Can Schedule Usage Training Include Elements of Literacy Instruction?
- Clean Up Your Act! Creating an Organized Classroom Environment for Students on the Spectrum.
- Change is Good! Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum when Introducing Novelty
- Classroom Choreography: The Art of Scheduling Staff and Students
- Creating a Circle of Support
- Complexities of Instructional Support
- Critical Features of Early Intervention: Merging Best Practices
- Developing Long Term Relationships Between School and Parents
- Early Intervention for Young Children on the Autism spectrum: Parent’s Perspective
- Educating Students with Autism: Are There Differences in Placement?
- Establishing Long Term Goals: What Are We Hoping to Achieve
- For General Education Teachers: Helpful Questions to Ask About Students with ASD
- Get Engaged: Designing Instructional Activities to Help Students Stay On-Task
- "Ham It Up and Get It Cookin!!" Thoughts From Dr. Greenspan
- Home-School Communication
- "I Can Do It Myself!" Using Work Systems to Build Independence in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- “I Wake Up for MY Dream!” Personal Futures Planning Circles of Support, MAPS and PATH
- Life After High School...So Now What
- Literacy Resources
- Lovaas Revisited: Should We Have Ever Left?
- Making the Most of Morning Meeting
- Motivating Students Who Have Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Moving from Preschool to Kindergarten: Planning for a Successful Transition and New Relationships
- Peer Support Programs
- Promoting the Educational Success of Students with Autism: The Role of the Parent-Staff Relationship
- Planning for Successful Transitions Across Grade Levels
- Practical Steps to Writing Individualized Education Program (IEP) Goals: And Writing Them Well
- Practical Recommendations for Utilizing a Range of Instructional Approaches in General Education Settings
- Recognizing Different Types of Readers with ASD
- Reframing Our Thinking and Getting to Know the Child
- Restricted Repertoires in Autism and What We Can Do About It
- School Cultures that Support Students Across the Autism Spectrum
- Service Learning: Something to Think About
- Supporting Staff Using Coaching Model
- Supporting Students with Asperger's Syndrome
- Teaching Students Who Are Low-Functioning: Who Are They and What Should We Teach?
- Theory of Mind in Autism: Development, Implications, and Intervention
- There is No Place Called Inclusion
- The Road to Post-Secondary Education: Questions to Consider
- Tips for Teaching High-Functioning People with Autism
- Tips to Consider When Including a Student with ASD in Art, Music, or Physical Education
- Transition: Preparing for a Lifetime
- Transition to Middle School
- Transition Time: Helping Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Move Successfully from One Activity to Another
- Understanding the Design and Power of a Personal Schedule
- Using Visual Schedules: A Guide for Parents
- Who Are We Working for Anyway? Avoiding Personal Agendas at Meetings to Better Support Individuals Across the Autism Spectrum
- Structured Teaching Strategies: A Series
- Growing Up Together
- How to Open A Combination Lock/Locker
- Supporting Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders Through Postsecondary Transition
- Curriculum Materials and Programs for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
- Implementation and Effectiveness of Using Video Self-Modeling with Students with ASD
- Video Self-Modeling How To and Examples
- Advocates: Qualities to Look for and Choosing the Correct One for YOU
- Considering an Overnight Camp Program for your Child on the Autism Spectrum?
- Finding or Starting a Support Group
- Making the Most of the Holidays for Your Family and Your Son/Daughter on the Autism Spectrum
- Selected Bibliography for Families of People within the Autism Spectrum
- Selected National Resources for Information on Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Selected Resources for Understanding and Supporting Siblings
- Setting the Stage for Parent-Professional Collaboration
- Siblings Perspectives: Some Guidelines for Parents
- What About the Dads?
- When Your Child is Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- What to Do If You Suspect Your Son/Daughter Might Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- For Parents: Preparing for the School Year
- Self Help/Medical
- Teaching a Young Man to Shave
- An Introduction to Possible Biomedical Causes and Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders
- The "M" Word
- Mealtime and Children on the Autism Spectrum: Beyond Picky, Fussy, and Fads
- Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite:
- Taking Your Son/Daughter with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to the Dentist
- Teaching a Young Woman to Shave
- Anxiety and Panic Struggles
- Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Having THE Talk with Your Child with ASD
- General Information
- Assessment Processes for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Purpose and Procedures
- Autism Awareness Month: Facts and Tips for Working with Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
- Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Diagnostic Criteria for Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder
- Disability Information for Someone who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Customized Example
- Getting Started: Introducing Your Child to His or Her Diagnosis of Autism or Asperger Syndrome
- Increasing Incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Continues in Indiana
- Standardized Tests and Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Article 7, Title 511
- What’s in a Name: Our Only Label Should Be Our Name: Avoiding the Stereotypes
- For Physicians: Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders and Working with Schools
- Behavioral Issues and the Use of Social Stories
- How to “Lose the Training Wheels:” A New Way to Teach Bicycle Riding
- Living in Fear: Anxiety in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Local Community Resources to Enhance Activities
- Making (and Keeping) Friends: A Model for Social Skills Instruction
- Making Camps Accessible for All
- Play in the Lives of Young Children with Autism
- Play Time: An Examination Of Play Intervention Strategies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Social Activity Groups: Another Approach for Helping to Bridge the Friendship Gap
- Teaching Social Skills through Theatre
- The Collective Outcomes of School-Based Social Skill Interventions for Children on the Autism Spectrum
- The Value of Movement Activities for Young Children
- We All Need Exercise
- Finding a Friend in School
- Bullying and Students on the Autism Spectrum
- Incorporating Typical Peers Into the Social Learning of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Articles by Temple Grandin
- An Inside View of Autism
- Choosing the Right Job for People with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome
- Evaluating the Effects of Medication
- Genius May Be an Abnormality: Educating Students with Asperger's Syndrome, or High Functioning Autism
- Making the Transition from the World of School into the World of Work
- Social Problems: Understanding Emotions and Developing Talents
- Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism
Change is Good! Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum when Introducing Novelty
Contributed By Kara Hume
Providing a predictable environment and routine is an important component of classroom programming for students on the autism spectrum (Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber, & Kincaid, 2003). Students on the spectrum may demonstrate rigidity or inflexible behavior if classroom scheduling is inconsistent or absent. However, it is impossible to avoid changes in daily activities due to school schedules, staff absences, weather changes, or human error. Along with unpredictable changes, staff members may find value in introducing students to novel settings, materials, peers, and activities throughout the school year to increase exposure to a broad range of experiences. When these changes in environment or routine occur, students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may resist the new location or task, and may feel stressed, anxious, or confused (Kluth, 2003). Studies have noted that during times of transition or change, students are more likely to engage in tantrums, aggressive behavior, and refusal (Schreibman & Whalen, 2000; Flannery & Horner, 1994). This resistance to change may lead to difficulty in acquiring new skills.
Preparing students for the possibility of change, as well as the procedures that will be followed when change occurs, are vital tools in increasing successful transitions. Using visual supports throughout the preparation for new events and when teaching positive routines around change is also essential. Following are several visual strategies that can assist when introducing new activities to students and when preparing them for unpredictability.
Priming is a method of previewing information or activities that a student is likely to have difficulty with before the student is engaged in the challenging situation. A student previews future events such as a fire drill, substitute teacher, field trip, or rainy-day schedule, so they become more predictable (Schreibman & Whalen, 2000). Priming has been used effectively in academic instruction and social interaction (Harrower & Dunlap, 2001), and has recently been used in preparing students for novel settings or changes in routine. Two priming strategies that may be used to assist in preparing for novelty and that incorporate visual supports are discussed.
Modified Social Stories
Social stories explain social concepts and situations in a visual format that may increase understanding for students with ASD (Gray, 2000). They are a method for explaining what is happening and what is expected across environmental settings. Typically social stories are written in first person, include illustrations, provide the perspective of a person with ASD, and should be at the student’s comprehension level. Often social stories provide answers to questions that students on the spectrum may not know to ask. Carol Gray, the originator of Social Stories, describes the recommended story structure and sentence types on her website, http://www.thegraycenter.org/. Though precise story structure is ideal, when faced with an unexpected change or novel event, modified social stories that can be quickly written by staff members (which do not contain an exact sentence ratio) are viable priming strategies. After identifying the novel event, and assessing the comprehension skills of the students, write a story following Gray’s guidelines. Staff members should read the story to and/or with the student consistently over a period of days. Providing a copy for use at home is helpful as well. When new activities are planned well in advance, preparing a social story following Gray’s guidelines is recommended.
Recent research (Ivey, Heflin, & Alberto, 2004) supports the use of social stories in teaching new routines and preparing for novel events. Social stories were read regularly to three young students with ASD as they prepared for several field trips to community locations. After reading the social stories for 3-5 days before the introduction of the new setting (attending a birthday party, going to a local pond, and visiting a gift shop), an increase in student participation and a decrease in challenging behavior were noted. Other examples of modified social stories used to prepare students for change or novel events follow.
Example 1: Preparing students for a substitute teacher.
Example 2: Preparing students for a school-wide parade.
Videotaped instruction has proven effective in teaching new skills to students with autism (Schreibman & Whalen, 2000), and recently has been used to prepare students for upcoming events. Because video viewing is often a preferred activity for students with ASD, and tapes can easily be watched before a new activity, video priming can be used as an effective strategy in introducing novelty to students. After identifying the setting or series of tasks that may cause anxiety or confusion for the student, go to the location with a video camera. Walk through the steps that will be required while taping and provide a simple narration about the process and requirements. Researchers recommend that tape length ranges from 1-4 minutes (Schreibman & Whalen, 2000). After completing the tape, view with the students several times over a period of days prior to the identified activity.
Research using video priming was conducted with several boys with ASD who demonstrated challenging behavior when going to new community settings with their families (i.e., Target store, Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid). The families videotaped several walking routes throughout the store (through the jewelry department, the toiletries section, toy department, ending at the cash register) and showed the videos to their children over several days. After the viewings, disruptive behavior decreased greatly as the routines were made more predictable (Schreibman & Whalen, 2000). Following are several video examples used when preparing students for a field trip to the zoo. Expectations that may have posed difficulty for the students (riding the train, using new restrooms, eating at the snack bar) were emphasized. When viewing the video, additional visual supports were used in to increase comprehension.
Example 3: Video priming for field trip to zoo.
Example 4: Additional visuals to support comprehension.
The Change Card
The importance of using visual schedules with students on the autism spectrum has been well documented in the literature, and well received by professionals (Harrower and Dunlap, 2001; Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber, & Kincaid, 2003). Schedules can be used to visually communicate upcoming events, facilitate transitions between activities, and increase student independence. Once students have begun to understand and follow a visual schedule, changes should be incorporated into the schedule content (Mesibov, Shea, & Schopler, 2005). The schedule should vary each day, and pre-planned activities should be deliberately changed in an effort to teach the individual to tolerate change. When activities are changed, however, a purposeful plan to support the student should be in place.
It is important to select a meaningful visual cue to use with students when introducing the concept of change. This can be a colored cue card, a “surprise” icon, a specific photograph or a written word depending on the needs of the students (see Example 5). Place the selected change cue on top of the scheduled activity that will not be occurring (i.e., recess on the playground), and the new activity next in the day’s sequence of events (i.e., watch a movie in the classroom). When teaching the change concept, it is helpful to go to the visual schedule with the student, look at the change card together, and assist with the transition to the new activity. Staff may choose to create a “change envelope” where the students can place the visual change cue and the schedule card of the activity that will not be occurring (see Example 6).
It is helpful to introduce change in a positive manner by first changing activities that are typically seen as non-preferred by the student to activities that are preferred (i.e., changing a student’s schedule from math to extra computer time). Then change can be introduced as a neutral event (i.e., changing math to language arts), and finally as something that may be difficult to accept (i.e., changing free time to work time). Often change is a loss of an activity or a staff member that is valued by the student, which can contribute to the anxiety and resistance to change that students may demonstrate. Systematically presenting change and novelty as a positive experience, and providing a supportive routine around change can increase student flexibility and participation in new activities.
Example 5: Visual cues to represent changes in a daily schedule.
Example 6: A location for change cards and schedule cards.
Instructional programming for students with ASD often emphasizes two core curriculum areas--social and communication skills. However, little attention is directed to assisting students in the third area of diagnostic criteria, restrictive interests and activities. Through the use of visual predictor strategies, students with ASD can learn functional routines, participate more fully in novel events, and as challenging behavior decreases, increase engagement and skill acquisition.
Additional Tips for Implementation:
- While many of the visual support examples use black line drawings (icons from Mayer-Johnson’s Boardmaker), this may not be most appropriate for all students. Assess the comprehension and understanding of your students prior to developing supports, since some students may require the use of objects or photographs to gain meaning from the cues.
- These strategies can easily be incorporated into the home environment as well (i.e., preparing for a new babysitter, explaining that a favorite DVD is broken, going to a different restaurant). Professionals may assist parents in identifying novel and challenging situations, creating materials, and modeling their implementation.
Flannery, K. B. & Horner, R. (1994). The relationship between predictability and problem behavior for students with severe disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Education, 4, 157-176.
Gray, C. (2000). The new social story book: Illustrated edition. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.
Harrower, J. & Dunlap, G. (2001). Including children with autism in general education classrooms: A review of effective strategies. Behavior Modification, 25, 762-785.
Ivey, M., Heflin, L., & Alberto, J. (2004). The use of social stories to promote independent behaviors in novel events for children with PDD-NOS. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 19, 164-177.
Iovannone, R., Dunlap, G., Huber, H., & Kincaid, D. (2003). Effective educational practices for students with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18, 150-166.
Kluth, P. (2004). You're going to love this kid. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
Mesibov, G., Shea, V., & Schopler, E. (2005). The TEACCH® approach to autism spectrum disorders. New York: Plenum Press.
Schreibman, L. & Whalen, C. (2000). The use of video priming to reduce disruptive transition behavior in children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention, 2, 3-12.
The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981¬2005 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.
Hume, K. (2006) Change is good! Supporting students on the autism spectrum when introducing novelty. The Reporter , 11(1), 1-4, 8.