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Autistic Child - I need help
Old 08-14-2019, 06:36 PM
 
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Logging out for this one just for privacy reasons. This is my first year in 3rd grade and though I've taught for 10 years, I've never had an Autistic child (seriously!) This year I have a little boy with Autism Today was the second day of school and I'm already overwhelmed. I LOVE him already, he's so sweet, but he's almost impossible to keep quiet in the classroom. I couldn't get my read aloud done with the class because he kept loudly laughing or making animal noises at the other students. He's self-regulated enough that I can go "[name] shhh while I'm reading please" and he will stop, but obviously he can't control his actions for more than 30-45 seconds at a time.

I haven't had any meetings, files, etc on him from our SPED department, which is ENTIRELY new staff. I know I'll get it eventually, but they're super overwhelmed so I'm turning to you guys for some advice. Am I even in a feasible situation to expect him to be able to participate in whole/small group activities? Today just felt so wasted because I was constantly watching him (he ran out of my room 6 times.)

I should also note, we have no aides or anything to help him in the room. We have 1 SPED teacher with probably 40 kids on her caseload with 2 RTI teachers as helpers when needed. My boy is by far the most 'needy' according to the admin, so he saw her once the entire day.


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Old 08-15-2019, 03:55 AM
 
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Well, the saying is "If you've met one child with autism...you've met one child with autism." - It affects everyone differently.

So I can't say how much he'll be able to participate, but you should know more when his paperwork comes in.

The running, however, is a huge safety concern! There really should be an aide in your classroom, so you can focus on all your students and not just him. - Until that happens, put his desk farthest from the door, so you have more chance to catch him if he starts to bolt. Hopefully, it will decrease as he becomes used to the routine as well.

As for the calling out, maybe try to give him a quiet fidget to use instead?
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:12 AM
 
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Have you talked with last year's teacher? You might get ideas about what works and what doesn't work. Parents could have helpful input also.

And definitely move his desk or chair or whatever far from the door--and move your location closer to the door. What's the procedure when he runs out? Make sure that the results are not reinforcing the behavior (even simple things such as attention or being able to move or getting out of doing work for a few minutes could be a goal.) For safety reasons, this running out of the room behavior needs to be addressed immediately or you risk having it become a pattern that will persist through the year.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:31 PM
 
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Unfortunately, his 2nd grade teacher quit (this school is rough and has high teacher turn around) so all I have is 2nd hand information from one teacher in that grade level who told me this was about normal. From her information (not totally reliable) she basically just let him do whatever he wanted.

Today, I let him draw pictures during writing time and that helped but I just know that isn't exactly what I need to be doing. I'm more upset at myself than him. I feel like such a failure and it's only a few days in. I will say I've come to understand that he's pretty intelligent and CAN do some of the things I'm asking, it's his attention span that isn't strong enough for him to sustain any activity. Even him drawing today, he could only do that for 5 minutes before he started wandering the room.

For the leaving the classroom: his desk is on the far side of the room, mine is in between him and the door, he won't leave the room without permission if I'm at my desk or small group table. He only does it when I'm at the smartboard or sitting in the floor doing read alouds (like he waits until I'm away from the door and then goes). He doesn't run away. He usually goes to the bathroom and just hides there. Sometimes he'll even say he's going to the bathroom, but he'll stay gone for a long time and I have to go get him - where I'll find him just standing in the hallway laughing at me.

We have a lot of high-risk students so I'm under the impression (first year at this campus) that as long as he isn't hurting himself, others, or truly running away.. I just need to deal with it because other kids are worse. :/ I'm praying it gets better. I love him so much already and I want him to have a good year with me.
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Suggestion
Old 08-15-2019, 07:29 PM
 
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Students with Autism need visuals and they need schedules/consistency. Make a large stop sign and post it on your door. Leave your door closed.
Make rules with pictures that can be posted on his desk (quiet, sitting, listen, stay in class, etc. ) Tape a line a foot or two away from the door inside the room. Teach him to stop at the line. You may also want to put a stop sign or the word stop on the tape.
Since he runs to hide in the bathroom he is probably overwhelmed. He needs to be taught to request a break. Make a visual break card and have him give it to you and then he can leave. Another option is creating a quiet space in the class where he can run to to have a break. Look up calming corner on Pinterest.
Also have a visual schedule printed for him so he knows what's coming. You could even put breaks on his schedule so he knows he doesn't have to make a break for himself.
Last suggestion, use a first/then visual. First: listen to story Then: Bathroom break. Make it visual too.


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Old 08-16-2019, 06:03 AM
 
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I like the suggestions for visuals!

I've also been thinking more about your post, and would recommend reading some stuff by Temple Grandin or Liane Holliday Willey. (I just finished Pretending to be Normal myself.) I think they have some very helpful insights.

http://www.aspie.com/

https://www.templegrandin.com/
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:43 AM
 
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I second all the recommendations by momteachsis.

Also, you may not get him to be completely silent when you want him to be, but maybe can teach him to use a quieter voice. We have a student similar to him who makes noise during class, but the other students have essentially learned to "tune him out" and are able to work despite his humming and laughing. Many of his peers have actually become his best advocates and really watch out for him.
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Well....
Old 08-21-2019, 03:21 PM
 
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I was finally given some info on him, got his IEP and all that stuff. Today his OT/PT teacher came in to my room because the student was screaming about various things (first he didn't want to leave library, then he didn't want to come back to class, then he didn't want to LEAVE class for his OT/PT time). I was basically told we've regressed back to what he did in 1st grade with the screaming, refusal to work, and attention seeking behaviors.

I'm basically on my own and it's of no fault of the SPED dept (see above - 1 teacher and 1 aide, nearly 50 kids on her caseload)
He gets pulled for services 45min per day and then OT/PT for about 15min twice a week.

I did try all of the suggestions and unfortunately there was little change. We're assuming the regression is due to the big change this year because 3rd grade is departmentalized with new special area teachers that he doesn't know. Even the mom has expressed that it's getting harder and harder to get him to school in the morning.

We have meetings on him and a few others next week so I'm crossing my fingers we can get some help. I've already expressed my opinion that a one-on-one would be beneficial for him because he does great when he sits with me. I just can't ignore the other 18 kids and solely focus on him though.
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