The Autism Spectrum Disorders IEP Companion provides programming guidance for some of the most significant communication, social, and behavioral challenges presented by students with ASD.
- Reduce the time needed to plan and write IEPs
- Plan effective interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders in the areas of communication, social, behavior, sensory, literacy, transitions, and classroom needs and accommodations
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Each unit addresses a major deficit area. Each skill area is identified and explained, followed by a long-term goal and a series of short-term goals to build skills acquisition. The goals cover a wide range of ages and severity levels within the autism spectrum from early intervention to higher-functioning individuals and older clients.
The units and the skills addressed are:
- Communication—modality, apraxia/motor speech, single words, two-word combinations, echolalia, meaningfulness, asking and answering simple questions, following directions, concept acquisition, understanding verb tenses and personal pronouns, prosody, conversational rules, and ambiguous language
- Social Pragmatics—joint attention, turn-taking, initiation, play, topicalization, conversational discourse (e.g., negotiation, persuasion, humor), nonverbal communication, and presupposition
- Behavior—attention, noncompliance, task completion, perseveration, stereotypies, disruptive vocalizations, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, aggression, bolting, hygiene, and sleep disturbances
- Sensory—proprioceptive, vestibular, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory
- Literacy—preliteracy, phonological awareness, phonics, sight-word recognition, reading fluency, reading comprehension, and written language
- Classroom Considerations—management of space, people, curriculum, materials, time, and emotion
- Transition—home to school, classroom to classroom, school to school, school to community, and school to work
Each goal has programming suggestions to make teaching visual, concrete, and understandable to children with ASD.
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- Within the public school setting, children with autism are eligible for special services based upon the definition of autism provided in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) if they demonstrate significant deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction that adversely affect their educational performance. Other symptoms include repetitive behaviors or stereotyped movements and resistance to change in daily routines (ASHA, 2006b).
- Treatment should begin as soon as an autism spectrum disorder is identified (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009).
- Educating children with autism involves interventions in each of the following areas: functional, spontaneous communication; social skills; play skills; behavior; and academics (Lord & McGee, 2001).
- The individualized educational plan should address the following issues that apply to students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): attention, imitation, communication, socialization, cognition, play/recreation/leisure, and essential life skills (Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, 2007).
- The individualized educational plan should include educational objectives that are tailored to a child's individual needs and that describe how the child will be guided toward mastery of the goal and how progress will be monitored (ASA, 2009).
- Collaboration between SLPs, teachers, school administrators and staff, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, and the student with ASD's parents and friends is essential to effective intervention (ASHA, 2006b).
- SLPs must be able to prioritize intervention goals derived from the core characteristics of ASD, including social communication, language, literacy, related cognitive skills, and behavior and emotional regulation (ASHA, 2006b).
- SLPs should be able to recognize the potential communicative functions of challenging behavior and assist the student's educational team in designing positive behavior supports (ASHA, 2006c).
- SLPs should work to enhance the initiation of spontaneous communication in functional activities across settings; comprehension of verbal and nonverbal communication in social and academic settings; reciprocal communication for a range of social functions to promote the development of friendships and social networks; verbal and nonverbal communication, including gestures, speech, signs, pictures, written words, functional alternatives to challenging behaviors, and other augmentative and alternative communication systems; and access to literacy and academic instruction and curricular, extracurricular, and vocational activities (ASHA, 2006c).
- Children with autism may learn best via a particular learning style, whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Presenting information in one modality at a time may enhance learning (ARI, 2007).
- The following strategies take advantage of relative strengths seen in many individuals with ASD: environmental arrangement and structure; picture schedules or other visual supports; written scripts and social scenarios; video modeling; computer-based instruction; previewing of learning contexts and activities; strategies to promote generalization; strategies to promote self-determination (ASHA, 2006a).
The Autism Spectrum Disorders IEP Companion incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006a). Guidelines for speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span [Guidelines]. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.asha.org/policy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006b). Principles for speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span [Technical report]. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.asha.org/policy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006c). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span [Position statement]. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.asha.org/policy
Autism Research Institute (ARI). (2007). Learning styles and autism. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.autism.com/families/therapy/styles.htm
Autism Society of America (ASA). (2009). Individualized educational plan (IEP). Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.autismsociety.org
Lord, C., & McGee, J. (Eds.). (2001). Educating children with autism. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, National Research Council: Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). Autism spectrum disorders (pervasive developmental disorders) fact sheet. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/autism/complete-index.shtml
Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council: Ohio Autism Task Force (2007). Service guidelines for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD/PDD): Birth through twenty-one. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from www.ocali.org/asd/asd_guidelines.php