- 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
- Assessment Day: Questions About the Communication Development of Your Young Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- “If They Could Only Tell Me What They Are Thinking.” The Need for Augmentative Communication for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- 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
Classroom Choreography: The Art of Scheduling Staff and Students
Contributed By Kara Hume
Determining educational placements for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is challenging, as those involved attempt to balance philosophical beliefs, legal requirements, evidence-based practices, and the individualized needs of each student. Though successful and meaningful involvement in general education settings is often the ultimate goal and a socially important aim for parents and professionals, many students with ASD are served in more restrictive settings on the service continuum. Due to the heterogeneity of students on the autism spectrum, the level and intensity of services required, the desire for individualized intervention, or the lack of community support for inclusive placements, students with ASD may be educated partially or completely in special education settings.
It is likely that in more segregated settings, in an effort to ensure a low student to staff ratio, that a number staff members, including teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals, will interact with the students. As the number of paraprofessionals working with students with ASD continues to rise (French, 2003), teachers are faced with the challenging task of coordinating the varied schedules of numerous staff members, as well as their students. Recent statistics show that 75% of special educators supervise one or more paraprofessionals (French, 2001), while receiving little training in the management or organization of additional classroom staff. As staff numbers grow, the role of classroom teachers shift to that of a “planner, director, monitor, coach, and program manager” (French, 1999, p. 70).
The role of a supervisor may be overwhelming to teachers in the autism field, as they struggle to meet the complex needs of their students, facilitate effective inclusive programming, respond to the requests of families and administrators, and attempt to stay informed of empirically validated educational practices. In balancing these demands, providing daily instruction, guidance and direction to classroom staff may not be prioritized or feasible. Giangreco and Broer (2005) found that paraprofessionals received less than 2% of a special educator’s time in training, supervision, or professional guidance.
One solution to the coordination and supervision challenge is the use of schedules for both staff members and students. The use of schedules for students and educational personnel contributes to the development of a structured and comprehensible classroom environment—a vital component of effective programming for students with ASD (Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber, & Kincaid, 2003). Providing an overall schedule for adults and students allows all classroom members to predict what is currently happening and what will happen next. This overall schedule outlines the events of the day, lets teachers know who they are responsible for, and how staff members are being used. The framework outlines who, what, where, and when.
The first step in designing this framework is to plan the schedules of the individual students. While this process may be time intensive initially, it will greatly reduce the supervisory challenges throughout the school year. The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs developed seven steps to utilize when planning an individual’s schedule (Boswell, Braswell, & Wade, 1997).
- Describe the individual: Consider age, setting, strengths, interests, needs, etc.
Kevin is 6 years old and is served primarily in a self-contained setting. He enjoys sensory and leisure activities, as well as music. He is non-verbal, yet is beginning to express his wants using pictures through choice making opportunities. He has a short attention span and benefits from 1:1 and small group activities with minimal distractions.
- Divide the hours of programming into short blocks of time: 15 minutes is suggested but this is dependant on the age, attention span, and work skills of the student.
- Block out non-negotiable segments: This includes lunch, transportation times, etc.
- Pencil in “negotiables” with other people: Coordinate with therapists, peer helpers, inclusion settings, community outings, etc.
- Plug in, shift, and balance activities that reflect these key concepts:
- Balance of teaching/supervising
- Meaningful contexts (i.e., teach skills where it will likely be used, such as bathroom, eating area)
- Balance of preferred/non-preferred activities
- Balance of in-seat/movement activities
- Length of activities
- Productive use of “free time” (i.e., teaching appropriate leisure skills during breaks/choice times)
- Productive use of transitions (i.e., reducing the amount of time waiting between activities)
- Partial participation (i.e., allowing a student to watch during an activity or join an activity after it begins rather than participating as the other students do)
- Flexible grouping (i.e., grouping students in a variety of ways depending on the goal of the activity, such as student interest, attention span, communication skills)
The next vital step is to plan for staff choreography and coverage. Following similar steps as those listed above, determine what staff member will be responsible for each student, curricular area, or classroom center for each time period throughout the day. Classroom teams may find several models of staff choreography helpful, including the “man-to-man” or “zone” systems (to borrow basketball defense terminology). Teachers may assign staff members to work with specific student(s) for periods of time (“man-to-man”), and the staff member will move with the student(s) to different activities or classroom areas. Or teachers may designate staff to specific classroom areas (i.e., the art table, a 1:1 teaching area, a leisure center) and students rotate through these centers (“zone”). It is helpful if the schedules for the adults and students are posted conspicuously each day so all personnel can easily see where each student and staff member should be (see example 4 and 5).
Elementary Student Schedule
|7:45-8:00: Bathroom, Breakfast||Addressing adaptive skills in meaningful context|
|8:15-8:35: Circle, Wipe table/trash out|
|8:35-8:50: Work, Kevin’s Choice||Balance of non-preferred/preferred|
|8:50-9:05: Work with Staff 1|
|9:05-9:15: Group work||Balance of seated/movement|
|9:35-10:00: Work, Kevin’s Choice||Productive use of free time during choice|
|10:00-10:20: Speech with SLP||“Negotiable” with the speech therapist|
|10:20-10:25: Sensory||Balance of teacher directed/student directed|
|10:25-10:40: Music group||Grouping with non-disabled peers|
|10:40-10:50: Free Choice|
|10:50-11:00: Story||Partial participation (joins story for last part)|
|11:00-11:45: Cafeteria, Playground||Lunch time is a non-negotiable|
|11:45-12:00: Sensory, Bathroom|
|12:00-12:25: Work, Kevin’s Choice|
|12:25-12:35: Group work||Flexible grouping (not all students participate)|
|12:35-1:00: Work with Teacher|
|1:00-1:10: Art||Activities range from 10-25 minutes|
|1:10-1:35: Work, Kevin’s Choice||Frequent opportunities for choice|
|1:35-1:45: Music, School Bus|
“Man-to-Man” Adult Schedule for Elementary Setting- 8 students, 1 teacher, 2 paraprofessionals.
8:35: Kevin wipe table/trash out
9:00: Work with Joseph
9:35: Work with William
10:00: Work with Karl
10:20: Music group
12:15: Work with John
12:35: Work with Kevin
|Staff 2 |
8:30: 1st grade with Sean
9:55: Reading group
10:15: Wagon with Joseph
12:10: Work with Catherine
12:30: Work with Sean
8:35: Work with Karl
9:00: Work with Catherine
9:35: Work with Sean
10:00: Work with Kevin
8:40: Swing William
8:50: Work with Kevin
9:35: Work with Karl
12:15: Attendance with Sean
12:30: 2nd grade with Joseph
Library with 1st grade 9-9:30
Peer helpers: 10:20-11:00
“Zone” Adult Schedule for High School Setting- 8 students, 1 teacher, 2 paraprofessionals, 1 career coach.
|9:00-9:20||Domestic Center with 2 students (A,B)||Oversee break/independent work of 2 student (C,D)||Out with 1 student at school job (E)||Group area with 3 students (F,G,H)|
|9:20-9:25||Students rotate/staff helps with transition|
|9:25-9:45||Domestic Center with 2 students (C,D)||Office Center with 2 students (G,H)||Oversee 1 student in break area, help take apart/set up materials in centers (F)||Group area with 3 students (A,B,E)|
|9:45-9:50||Students rotate/staff helps with transition|
|9:50-10:10||Domestic Center with 2 students (E,F)||Office Center with 2 students (C,D)||Oversee break/independent work of 2 students (A,B)||Leisure Center with 2 students (G,H)|
|10:10-10:15||Students rotate/staff helps with transition|
|10:15-10:35||Domestic Center with 2 students (G,H)-Water Plants On Campus||Office Center with 2 students (A,B)-Deliver Office Materials to Teachers||Oversee break/independent work of 2 students (E,F)||Leisure Center with 2 students (C,D)|
Posting adult schedules on board.
Posting student schedule near student’s area (for adult referencing—student use picture cues to direct him to scheduled areas).
A structured learning environment allows students with ASD to make sense of what is happening, as well as the staff members responsible for their instruction and learning. When assessing the structure of a classroom, Olley and Reeve (1997) recommend observing in a classroom for 10 minutes in an effort to identify what each student is supposed to be doing. If the observer is unclear about the activity, goal, or curricular area, it is likely the student is unclear as well. Extend this observation to the activities of the staff members—is it clear what/who each staff member is responsible for? Again, if the observer is unable to identify the duties of each staff member, classroom choreography is an issue to be addressed.
Tips for Implementation:
- It is beneficial to create the schedule frameworks with the classroom team members and to take time to revise and restructure the schedules as the needs of the students and staff members change throughout the year.
- Building flexibility and opportunities for generalization within the schedules is important. To encourage students with ASD to become more flexible and transfer skills to different settings/staff members, it is important to build variety into each daily schedule—including different activities throughout the day/week, working with a number of staff members, and working in a number of different settings.
- These strategies and steps can be easily adapted to schedule paraprofessionals and other staff members in all educational settings, including inclusive environments, therapy settings, and community-based programs.
Questions for staff to consider when planning classroom and individual schedules (Boswell & Cox, 1999):
- Is the schedule clearly outlined so teachers know all daily responsibilities?
- Is there a balance of individual, independent, group, and leisure activities throughout the day?
- Do individual schedules consider student needs for break times, reinforcement, non-preferred activities followed by preferred?
- Does the schedule help a student with transitions- where to go and what to do?
- How are transitions signaled (timer, visual cue, student monitors clock)?
- Is the schedule represented in a form easily comprehended by the student?
Boswell, S., Braswell, B., & Wade, C. (1997). Designing programming for people with autism: Designing daily schedules. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Autism Training Division.
Boswell, S., & Cox, R. (1999, May). Choreography of the classroom. TEACCH® Level 2 Seminar, Chapel Hill, NC.
French, N. (1999). Topic #2 Paraeducators and teachers: Shifting roles. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32, 69-73.
French, N. (2001). Supervising paraprofessionals: A survey or teacher practices. Journal of Special Education,35, 41-54.
French, N. (2003). Paraeducators in special education. Focus on Exceptional Children, 36, 1-15.
Giangreco, M. & Broer, S. (2005). Questionable utilization of paraprofessionals in inclusive schools: Are we addressing symptoms or causes? Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 10-26.
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.
Olley, J. G., & Reeve, C. E. (1997). Issues of curriculum and classroom structure. In D. J. Cohen & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders.(2nd ed., pp. 484-508). New York: Wiley.
Hume, K. (2005). Classroom choreography: The art of scheduling staff and students. The Reporter, 10(3), 15-19.