Tag Archives: education

Autism Seminar Notes Part 10

Three classifications

  • Socially Avoidant
  • Socially Indifferent
  • Socially Awkward 


Socially Avoidant:

  • Minimal interaction
  • Turning or walking away
  • Fear of unexpected touch
  • May be hypersensitive to another’s voice or smells 


Socially Indifferent: 

  • Doesn’t seek interaction with others
  • Interaction increases when “wants and needs” are necessary
  • Will initiate rather than respond 


Socially Awkward:

  • Most common category
  • Want to experience social engagement but lack the skills
  • History of being excluded or left out
  • Lack reciprocity in social interaction
  • Poor conversation skills


Social Emotional Issue #1:


  • Unsafe use of playground equipment
  • “Aggressive” with peers
  • Disrupts others’ games 


Why is this occurring? 

  • Sensory seeking
  • Difficulty controlling body movements
  • Poor modulation
  • Lack of social skills for play 



  • Practice safe use of equipment
  • Provide and review a written list of playground rules
  • Pair student with a peer model
  • Review playground performance and offer immediate feedback 
  • Alert the playground supervisor of the student with special needs
  • Be aware of signs and signals of over-arousal 
  • Student may need additional adult supervision 


Social-Emotional Issue #2

BEHAVIOR: Making rude or inappropriate comments

Why is this occurring? 

  • Decreased perspective taking
  • Deficits in verbal communication  (receptive and expressive) 
  • Difficulty with social pragmatics 
  • Challenges reading nonverbal signals from others 



  • Prepare other students for their reaction (ignore or model appropriate behavior) 
  • Identify pattern and be prepared to help the student 
  • Make your immediate feedback and be specific 
  • Practice the social interaction 


Social-Emotional Issue #3

BEHAVIOR: Difficulty accepting criticism or help

Why does this happen?

  • Concrete thinking interferes 
  • Perfectionism/control
  • Anxiety increases



  • Maintain a calm, quiet voice
  • Avoid “black and white” words such as “wrong” 
  • Use qualifiers (“very close” or “almost”)
  • Try writing your corrections or assistance rather than talking 
  • Prepare peers to expect such behavior and disregard or encourage if appropriate  

Autism Seminar Notes Part 9

Routine & Academics Issue #1

BEHAVIOR: Messy desk and losing homework 

Why is this occurring? Planning deficits, visual processing problems, & poor motor skills



  • Give entire class an organizational review
  • In the AM, take time to walk student through process of getting materials out of backpack, handing in homework, etc. then fade your prompts 
  • Have a peer buddy help father materials at the end of the day
  • Consider using accordion file folder rather than 3-ring 
  • Copy teacher’s transparencies
  • Takes teacher/parent communication 


Routine & Academics Issue #2

BEHAVIOR: Inattentive/off-task or not following directions in and out of class

Why is this occurring? 

  • Too much verbal information
  • Difficulty terminating and transitioning
  • Auditory and visual distractions 
  • Daydreaming or shut-down due to sensory overload or fatigue 



  • Visual supports
  • Hand fidgets
  • Oral strategies 
  • Seat near the teacher or away from distractions 
  • Alert student that directions are forthcoming
  • Check to ensure student is starting assignment, art, or PE activity correctly 
  • Keep language simple and concrete
  • Allow time for processing 


Routine & Academics Issue #3

BEHAVIOR: Problems Riding on the Bus or in the Car

  • Student leaves his or her seat
  • Can be disruptive
  • Refuses to get on/off the bus or in/out of the car




  • Allow plenty of time in the morning for student to engage in his/her routine
  • Provide something familiar to occupy the child (iPod, book, toy) for the ride to and from school
  • Give him or her a closed-ended task/game to play during the ride
  • Seat near the bus driver
  • Bring a friend to meet him or her or walk to the bus 
  • Bring a favorite item to carry back to the classroom upon arrival
  • Take something special home to “show and tell” to parents—don’t just put it in his or her backpack 






Autism Seminar Notes Part 6

At the seminar, Beth Aune, an occupational therapist, presented behavior solutions in and beyond the inclusive classroom. 


  • Growing emphasis on the inclusion of disabled students into the general education population. 
  • Over the past few decades, U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen (National Education Association) 
  • Three out of every four students with a disability spend part of all of their day in a general education classroom (National Education Association)  


Common Labels

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Asperger’s syndrome 
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Tourette’s
  • Learning Disability 


Common Characteristics:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Distractibility and inattentiveness
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty with self-control
  • Emotional instability 
  • Poor peer relations and social interaction
  • Low self-image
  • Weak expressive and receptive language
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills 


What do Educators Need?

  • Please? No more boring theory!
  • Help me understand what I am seeing
  • Help me understand why it is happening
  • Give me tools to help my student 


Sensory Processing—A Review by Dr. Lucy Miller

Sensory processing refers to the way in which the CNS and the peripheral nervous system manage incoming sensory information. The reception, modulation, integration, and organization of sensory stimuli, including the behavioral responses to sensory input are all components of sensory processing. 


Sensory Systems

  • Sight (visual)
  • Hearing (auditory)
  • Taste (gustatory)
  • Smell (olfactory)
  • Touch (tactile)
  • Movement (vestibular) 
  • Muscle awareness (proprioceptive)


Visual System

  • Most relied upon sense for orientation in space
  • Receptors are in rods and cones in the retina
  • Mediates a number of protective and postural responses 
  • Perceptual—how the brain interprets visual information
  • Motor—how the extraocular muscles work, including binocular (two eyes), tracking, and scanning


Auditory System 

  • Receptors are in the cochlea, transmitted from hair cells through cranial nerve
  • Has own set of reflexes related to protective behavior
  • Connects to the reticular formation
  • Evokes responses in the autonomic nervous system  


Gustatory System

  • Receptors are located in the tongue, soft palate, and upper regions of the throat
  • Sweet, sour, salty, bitter 
  • Chemical and somatosensory experience for eating and protection 


Olfactory System

  • Receptors are in specialized epithelium in the roof of the nasal cavity
  • Stimuli go directly into the amygdala of the limbic system 
  • May elicit emotional responses or primal behavior associated with survival  


Vestibular System

  • Works as a team with the visual system
  • Receptors are in the semicircular canals
  • Sensitive to head movement 
  • Rotary acceleration or declaration 
  • Utricle and saccule sense the direction of gravitational pull 


Tactile System

  • Receptors in the skin
  • Works with proprioceptive system to influence development and awareness of body scheme
  • Two functions:
  1. Discriminative—touch, pressure, vibration. Tactile discrimination identifies spatial and temporal qualities of stimuli    
  2. Protective—produces sympathetic arousal and directs input to reticular formation. Pain, temperature, tickle, itch 


Proprioceptive System

  • Receptors are deep in muscle spindles, Golgi tendons, and joints
  • Understanding of where joints and muscles are in space 
  • Works with vestibular system to give sense of balance and position 
  • Works with tactile system to coordinate posture and movement of limbs 
  • Neck joints and proximal limb joints give most feedback to CNS
  • Powerful therapeutic tool! 



Autism Seminar Notes Part 3


Jobs for Middle School and High School Kids

  • Walking dogs
  • Maintaining computers
  • Making Powerpoint presentations  
  • Selling artwork or crafts
  • Working on church or neighborhood website


Preparing for Employment 

  1. Jobs for teenagers
  2. Mentors
  3. Visit work place
  4. Trade journals
  5. Wall Street Journal. Make portfolio—people respect talent
  6. Sell your skill, not yourself 


Show kids interesting things. 


Educational Resources:

  • Community Colleges
  • Technical Schools
  • Online learning
  • University Courses 


*I took online courses and one traditional class from community college and a few universities. 


Science Websites:

  • U.S. National Science Digital Library Project 
  • The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) 
  • Physics Education Technology PhET 
  • Open Course Ware Consortium 


Jobs for Verbal Thinkers

  • Stocks and bonds analyst
  • Journalist
  • Translator 
  • Librarian
  • Copy editor
  • Accountant 
  • Specialty Retail
  • Bookkeeper & record keeper
  • Budget analyst 
  • Special education teacher
  • Book indexer
  • Speech therapist
  • Inventory control specialist
  • Legal researcher
  • Stage actor 


Jobs for Visual Thinkers:

  • Industrial design
  • Computer network specialist
  • Graphic arts
  • Drafting 
  • Auto mechanic 
  • Computer repair
  • Handcrafts
  • Equipment design
  • Convention AV technician 
  • Photographer 
  • Animal Trainer
  • Architect 


Bad Jobs for People with Autism

They require lots of short term working memory and fast processing information. 

  • Cashier — making change quickly puts too much demand on short-term working memory
  • Short order cook — Have to keep track of many orders and cook many different things at the same time
  • Waitress — Especially difficult if have to keep track of many different tables
  • Casino dealer — Too many things to keep track of
  • Taxi dispatcher — Too many things to keep track of
  • Taking oral dictation — Difficult due to auditory processing problems
  • Airline ticket agent — Deal with angry people when flights are cancelled
  • Future market trader — Totally impossible
  • Air traffic controller — Information overload and stress
  • Receptionist and telephone operator — Would have problems when the switch board got busy


And other fast-paced careers. 


Jobs for Music and Math Thinkers 

  • Math teacher
  • Scientific researcher
  • Electronics technician
  • Music teacher
  • Chemist 
  • Computer programmer
  • Engineer
  • Physicist
  • Musician/composer
  • Statistician 


Jobs for People with Poor Verbal Skills or Non-Verbal

  • Shelve Library Books
  • Factory Assembly Work
  • Fast Food Restaurant Work
  • Data Entry
  • Lawn and Garden Work
  • Recycling Plant/Warehouse 
  • Stocking Shelves
  • Inventory Control
  • Handcrafts 




Here’s a link of 8 steps of how to prevent an autism-elopement tragedy. If you have students, family members, or friends with autism, please be on a lookout on them. Don’t let the same thing happen like that kid in New York, Avonte Oquendo or any other tragic cases. If they forget, you should remind them to tell you where they’re going. Teach them in terms they understand.


A video in relation of the subject of children with autism wandering around:

I Had No Idea This Behavior Was So Common Among Children with Autism — Now I Know How to Help!