Autism Spectrum Disorder in The Mix: Learning Together in Inclusive Classrooms
—a 15-hour CE course for general educators and special-area teachers
This engaging, interactive course supports all general educators who are working with students on the autism spectrum in inclusive classrooms. Together, we examine life in the classroom through the eyes, ears, noses, toes, and perspectives of students on the spectrum, developing a robust understanding of the many challenges they face. We look closely at anxiety, regulation, sensation, communication, engagement, socialization, behavior, information acquisition and demonstration, and collaboration around the building and with families. Participants collect a comprehensive cache of preventive and interventive practical strategies. This upbeat course incorporates group activities, real-life scenario study, and more, as we pave the way to success for our students on the spectrum.
The following sessions run 90-minutes to 2-hours, but can be customized to meet your needs.
Reaching Students on the Autism Spectrum AND the Parents Who Come with Them
—a compelling keynote session, customized for early-childhood, primary, or secondary educators
More students on the autism spectrum are being included in general ed classrooms than ever before, and effective collaboration with their parents is critical to their success. This powerful session contrasts the acute academic challenges confronted by educators with the chronic practical and emotional challenges facing parents and caregivers. Participants take away meaningful strategies for bridging gaps in communication and clearing a path for effective collaboration between school and home. Together, parents and professionals become a vital force in bringing out the best in the children we share.
Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Content: Autism Spectrum Disorder at School
—a session for general educators
We hold this truth to be self-evident: Students on the spectrum need support with life literacy, before they can reach for content literacy. This lively session provides critical strategies for reducing anxiety, enhancing engagement, decoding behavior, and supporting socialization—all necessary benchmarks on the path toward curricular learning. We will look at effective techniques for getting information in and information out, as we move toward our collective goal of literacy and independence for all.
Keep Calm and Carry On: Support for Supporters of Students on the Autism Spectrum
—a session for classroom paraprofessionals
This session, specially designed for classroom paraprofessionals, introduces the underlying challenges that drive difficult behaviors among students on the autism spectrum. We discuss ways to look for the root of the problem, rather than respond to only the outward behaviors. Participants practice strategies for helping impulsive students capture that elusive “stop-and-think” moment before acting or reacting. The goal is to help front-line staff develop a fundamental understanding of the challenges and strengths among students with special needs, in order to generate empathic, effective support in the classroom.
The Ball’s in Your Court: Following Through in Special Area Classes
—a 2-hour session for teachers of Art, Library, Music, and Physical Education
Special area classes pose unique challenges to students on the autism spectrum. The sensory challenges are extreme and the group/team work expectations are intense, and all that while these students are outside their classroom comfort zones. This session provides practical information and strategies that are specifically attuned to the needs of special area teachers, so that every student shines.
Transitional Moments: Expecting the Unexpected
—a session for school building staff (e.g. secretaries, cafeteria workers, recess aides, nurses, hall monitors, security guards, custodians, and bus drivers)
School building staff and municipal workers come into contact with students on the autism spectrum at particularly challenging times. In moments of transition or emergency, these children are likely to become overwhelmed. Just when they need to move (and quickly), they may act out or shut down. Often these intense situations spiral from bad to worse: As the adult gets impatient, the child retreats even farther. This cycle can be broken with a little education about what autism spectrum disorders “look like” and how to respond efficiently and effectively.
Ten Things You Can Do Before Day One: Starting Off Strong with Students on the Spectrum
—a jumpstart session for general educators (Perfect for summer PD!)
Students on the autism spectrum enter your classroom bearing a backpack full of worries. If they can’t put those worries down quickly, then toting that heavy load becomes a way of life at school, imprinted as a learned behavior. Each day they will return burdened and compromised by the worries on their backs. Instead, seize this moment to help students offload their worries by setting up a classroom that exudes comfort, clarity, and consistency, even on Day One.
Common Core Meets Uncommon Kids: Finding Common Ground with Students on the Autism Spectrum
—a session for general educators
Even as classrooms become more diverse, teachers are expected to bring all students to a “common” destination. How do we differentiate for students on the autism spectrum in this seemingly paradoxical context? This dynamic session provides strategies for innovating on behalf of individual students while supporting all learners. Participants will explore new ways of seeing and being in the classroom: opening possibilities, closing achievement gaps, and transforming the next generation into one of acceptance.