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autistic room grades 3-5
Old 05-27-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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Is there anyone out there that is in this type of room that I can PM and ask questions. Will be moving into this placement next year after being in reg ed. for 15+ years. I did a short stint in a LS class eons ago.

I met with the teacher (term used loosely) that was in there for 1 year, no previous sped classroom experience.

It was scary to listen to what she did in the class and her philosophy. She was actually telling me I should do this and that, leave things just the way they are.......I've watched these kids since 1st grade and saw the regression that took place this year. I just listened and nodded my head. Having PT as a resource I knew I could get help here.

I have so many random questions.
Since the legal aspect is one of my major concerns, if you're in Pennsylvania that would be a bonus. But PT has fantastic teachers everywhere
TIA


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Old 05-27-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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What level of autism are you talking about? I am in a integrated team teaching class..it's a special program..with 12 gen ed kids and 4 high functioning asd kids. Maybe I can answer some question.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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First of all the district did say they would send me to some type of training over the summer, but my wheels are turning already!

Because of budget shortfalls teachers were furloughed and any reg. ed. teacher with a special ed degree went into the sped. rooms. This was all based on seniority. Just a tidbit of how I came to this place. So I was involuntarily transfered! I'm not bitter, like a lot of people I just want to do the best job possible.

I have three 5th graders that are high functioning, 'included' for Math Science and Social Studies. Their social behaviors & low frustration levels prevent them from being in the reg ed classes for any length of time. 2 of them I did have in my reg 3rd grade. One should actually be ES, but our district has a habit of moving kids based on numbers. And right or wrong, I just have to deal with it. BTW do you know the law on numbers in the classroom?

I will have two 3rd graders that are included about the same amount, not sure of their actual academic levels. Then, I think 3 more that they have have labeled as itinerant, mostly for stress free testing environments, and on an 'as needed' basis.

For some reason there are not 4th graders.

This will be the third teacher in this room in three years. I am the only one that has been in the building consistently and have gotten to know the kids as they come up through Kdg. Both previous teachers were at polar ends of the spectrum with their methods and philosophy of special education

I will be walking into a room that has basically no materials! A blank slate. Every teachers nightmare. However, I do have 15 years of my own junk

Questions:
1. What should I be looking out for over the summer for the classroom?
There is nothing for their sensory needs.

2. What assessments do you use for this grade level outside of curriculum based assessments?

3. Any suggestions on how to get organized, particularly their records?

4. How do you feel about 'chewys' ? One student likes to put things in his mouth.

That's it for now, I'm sure I'm going to have more questions as I get ready for this over the summer. thanks
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Self-contained sped teacher
Old 06-03-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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I've taught self-contained sped for 18 years. I always have students on the spectrum, but I've never had a class that was exclusively under the umbrella. The closest was when I was teaching in the Applied Behavioral Analysis program.

4. things in his mouth -- you mean PICA, or just regular chewing on things? I use a lot of sugar free gum. The literature supports this for concentration and I've seen it work wonders.

3. Records: Do you receive a teacher's file with each student's IEP, psych reports, and positive behavior support plan? If not, are they on-line at your school / district? Can you request copies for each student from the sped central office? I'd want those immediately along with the last quarter data.

2. I use a number of normed assessments: The Slosson to determine how well they are at using their phonics and syllabication skills in decoding words in a list (remember, it scores about one year high); Curriculum Based Measures to determine their accuracy, fluency, literal comprehension, and to take a miscue analysis; The Morrison-McCall Spelling Scale gives a very good idea of the grade level equivalency in spelling; and, I've never found anything I like very well for math so I end up using the Brigance. Our school uses TeenBiz / Achieve2000 and the Scholastic Read 180 programs which give reading levels by Lexile Levels based on comprehension, so I use those, too.

1. What do you know about their sensory needs? In ABA, we had everything from swings to hammocks to bean bag chairs, etc. Will wedges and fidgets be enough? Do you have access to "dead" headphones to block auditory sound? That is fairly typical. Do any of your students have O.T. or P.T. services and, if so, have you spoken with your O.T. or P.T.?

Feel free to contact me with any other questions. I'm sure I'm leaving out the most critical information. : )
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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thanks for the help.
As I said I am the 3rd teacher in this room in 3 years. The first teacher took everything, the second didn't want to be there so she didn't buy, replace or order anything.

The first teacher was part of an outside Sped agency that we purchased services from. This year was the first year the district took over and is providing services. The people in charge are not terribly knowledgeable in the area of autism. So we are often left to fend for ourselves. Hopefully you can see my problem.

The chewing isn't PICA, just chewing for the sake of chewing.
Most of them go to OT, PT or both. An outside agency comes in to provide these services, so I will be spending more time with them I guess.

One of the 5th graders has a wedge, and fidgets, he is very much adhd but mom goes ballistic at the hint of Meds. I don't see any evidence of him being taught how to self regulate, or handle himself in any type of social situation that is overly stimulating in any sense. He will be my biggest challenge. I know I want to get a bean bag chair for them to start.

The present teacher read over the IEP with me, but I don't trust her testing and or judgement in the evaluation of the students. She told me she had no behavior plans for the 3 boys, not sure why, but I think there should have been. Because of her friendship with the Super, it was just better not question her decisions!

I will get their files before then end of the year. I'm not sure which assessments will be available to me from admin.

Since I haven't had to deal with this type of data in a long time, I wanted to re-familiarize my self with these tests over the summer.
The day-to-day dealing with the kids I shouldn't have too much trouble with, it's the testing, paper work and newer techniques that I need to work on.

Is there someplace on line that you can direct me to for handling the social aspect of autism. The fifth graders need more help dealing with this area before going to the middle school. I think they could be taught to be more independent and how to self regulate their feelings before changing schools.

Again, thanks for your help, I'll probably call on you throughout the summer as questions come up.
I might not be jumping for joy over this placement, but it's not about me, but what is best for the kids


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Old 06-04-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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My situation is not the same as your situation. I work exclusively with kids with behavioral challenges, regardless of their abilities & disabilities. I have taught in general ed, but I've been in a public separate day school for these kids for almost 20 years. Both in general ed & here, I've taught K - 12. Now I teach in the rotational middle school. Our classes stay together all day, but rotate to their next classes together. We have a wide array of learning environments, from self-contained behavioral, self-contained short-term, self-contained life-skills, etc. We switched a few years ago to only serving 6th to super 12th grade. We have a sister school for the younger students. We serve not only our large district (one of the largest in the nation), but most of our state.

I have certain "musts" in my class. I provide a lot of visuals: cues, modeling (behavioral & academically), posted daily schedule, class rules, etc. We have structure, routines, & format. There are few surprises. I have NO personal triggers. I know that my relationships with these kids & my responses are the most important determinants to how things will evolve. With most kids & classes, I show almost no emotion. They are so overwhelmed by their own that they can't handle anyone else having an emotional response. Dignity & respect are musts. I use humor, but it is at no ones expense. My language is never "baby talk," i.e., I don't talk down to students. I do use a lot of short sentences that are concise with wait time for processing. I give a lot of positive choices, but I do not reward or use token economies of any sort. I acknowledge authentic behaviors constantly & expect any adults in the room to do so also. I make many honest mistakes & point them out. I am brain damaged from a drunk driver & the kids know this & the mistakes I am likely to make, the challenges it causes, & the strategies I use to function. We work on the same, one-on-one, to determine how to help them be successful. Mistakes are learning opportunities. I have a teaching assistant who I call & consider my teaching partner. We act as clones of each other.

I could blather on and on, but you get the gist. I looked for some sites that got into more depth with explanations. Two programs: First, Second Step. I love this program. I have used it at all ages with the appropriate grade level materials. It has the highest empathy results for any that were rated by my state and, at the time, by the National Center for Children. It uses photos (visual!), role playing, rituals in the problem solving, so it generalizes, & is fantastic.

Second, I just took a class on a national program called Conscious Discipline. Your 5th grade students are the reason I am saluting this program. It's not that useful to me now as it umbrellas years of training & reflection I've had/done plus it is geared for preK through grade 5 (the philosophy is timeless). I would have been in love with it 20 years ago. In that respect, I highly recommend checking it out. This program's strengths, in my opinion, are that it builds communities, emphasizes the need for the adults to have self-control, & helps kids identify their triggers while giving them strategies to stop their behaviors when they realize they are being triggered.

Second Step
http://www.cfchildren.org/programs/ssp/overview/

Conscious Discipline
http://consciousdiscipline.com/default.asp

Strategies to Promote Successful Inclusion Experiences -- These are excellent. I use them all daily. Don't be put off by the name OR the fact that they claim to be for students with autism. Again, best practices are best practices whether the student has FASD, ADHD, or is on the spectrum. Unless you're the government & providing funding, does the label matter? No. Think of the what the student needs to succeed.
http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe....lassrooms.html

I work with a diverse population. Whether you are working with kids on the spectrum, FASD, ADHD, language processing, etc., using visual strategies are essential. You're probably already using a lot. Here's a good review.
Use Visual Strategies
http://www.usevisualstrategies.com/Welcome.aspx

I'm not from Texas, but I looked for a set of procedures with explanations for you & found this -- perfect. We follow this in our district -- SOP. This may reflect updated information since you took sped training. Hope it is useful. Look under the 11 strategies. The rest is dated.
http://www.texasprojectfirst.org/AutismStrategies.html

"The chewing isn't PICA, just chewing for the sake of chewing."
Another sped teacher listed a site (did I mark it? sadly, no) for buying fidgets that were chewable! If I come across it again (I'm procrastinating writing a paper - ha!), I'll list it. I learned something personally that I promised to share w/folks. I chewed ice for years. Didn't know why I started. Turned out I had a couple of types of anemia & chewing ice & other types of PICA can be signs of one of them -- either the Pernicious Anemia or the Iron Anemia, don't recall.

"She told me she had no behavior plans for the 3 boys, not sure why, but I think there should have been."
Best practices -- kids with behavior impacting their school success should have Positive Behavior Support Plans. It helps us & them. The IDEA, however, says that unless a child has had a Manifestation Determination, they do not have to have one. I expect that to change.

Feel free to contact me!
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Fidgets -- chewing stuff
Old 06-04-2011, 10:06 PM
 
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I easily found it.

PPCD Teacher was the first one to suggest this site. Ms Ang seconded it, and went on to say this:

"Hi,

I am an OT, and I have found the Abilitations, and Southpaw are good resources...The Chewy items in the category of the oral motor items, are good for students who chew items. Also, the heavy bean bags, are good which are lap pad size. Other OT's have added some helpful, insight of recipes, made of socks filled with rice or beans, and sewn, for a homemade item. It works great if you are looking to save money... hope it helps...sharing ideas is helpful.."

The site is Schoolspecialtyonline.net & the product is Abilitations.
https://store.schoolspecialtyonline....minisite=10206
After going to the site, go to special needs, sensory needs, then oral motor.
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Autism
Old 06-04-2011, 11:55 PM
 
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I have one student who is included in a regular education setting. When I pull him out we work on his comprehension skills. Last year we worked on idioms and friendship skills. I used a book called The Hidden Curriculum.
http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Curricu.../dp/1931282609

I also love Linguisystem resources. You can google them and get a lot of free downloads. I've purchased some of the books and they are very useful. He is now past most of the beginning level.

http://www.linguisystems.com/index/services#ebp

Good luck to you. I hope these resources help. I was surprised that my student caught on very quickly to the idioms and the language we use.

kj
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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Thank you so much. I feel like I hit the jackpot.

Peachyplum- I loved doing idioms in my regular 3rd grade I can see where this along with the friendship skills are something that will be very useful. Not only do they need this for dealing with other students, but in dealing with adults also.

Lstrm- Thank you so much. I was so excited as I read your response, we have similar philosophies with regard to behavior. I've always questioned the use of token economies/rewards and when they cross over to bribery.
When you have reached that point you have given the child the wrong kind of control. Re: the behavior plan, now I understand not having an official plan in place. Manifestation determination is one of those newer terms that I heard for the first time at my first sped meeting that I knew I had to look up

You've given me some good resources to start on.

Will be in touch
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Manifestation Determination
Old 06-06-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Do you know what these meetings are for or do you want an explanation? No problem either way. Glad to be of help. Still Procrastinating.

PeachyPlum's suggestion of idioms is great. I remember trying to teach those with some of the kids with classical autism in the ABA program. It was a trip! In my current setting, I use the shorter & more common quotations (usually from Poor Richard's Almanac / Ben Franklin) to teach cursive, vocabulary, and higher level thinking once they have formation down pat.


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Old 06-06-2011, 06:26 PM
 
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Go for it. I need to hear things more than once to sink
Seriously, I would like to hear you explanation.
These last few days of school are making me punchy!
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Manifestations
Old 06-06-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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When a student is certified as being in need of special education services, the total number of days of contact is vital. This impacts suspending students in special ed (or suspected of needing special ed) for their behavior, which some principals are wont to do.

If a student is closing in on the 10 day mark of suspensions, a Manifestation meeting must be held. At this meeting, an exhaustive summary of the student's lifetime of special education services, hours, and behaviors will be documented. Next, the current year's progress, behaviors, and school responses to those behaviors (suspension, sent next door, sent to the office, calls home, etc...), will be thoroughly explored in writing.

Finally, the team will discuss whether the tipping behavior (behavior that pushed things over the 10 day mark) was due to the student's disability or not. If the team determines that the behavior was a function of the disability, the team determines how to improve and/or writes a Positive Behavior Support Plan to avoid this happening again. Sometimes change of placement is discussed here. Teams almost always find that the behavior was a function of the disability.

When team's find otherwise, the student may face the same consequences that a student in general ed would face except (big exception) they have the right to appeal with a due process hearing officer, etc... This can lead to district's who have cut services to a weekly tutoring session of 3 hours at the public library being required to make-up the services if the hearing officer disagrees with the Manifestation decision. Thus, teams usually determine that the behavior was due to the disability.

At least in larger districts (mine is HUGE), special education district consultants will usually participate in these meetings too, to make sure that the law is properly followed. Also participating will be the same folks you would find at an IEP meeting: parent/guardian, general ed teacher, special ed teacher, often the principal for this, any service providers, and the district representative (although the principal may fulfill this function).

Here's a special aspect of Manifestations: A student could have several a year! This is unusual, but possible. Every ten days that service is missed due to a decision of the school, bang! -- another Manifestation.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:30 AM
 
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You have received terrific advice from a number of people. I will not attemp to reproduce their efforts. I have taught a substantially separate severe needs Grades 3-5 classroom for a number of years, a highschool Severe Involvement Autism program Grades 9 - Age 22 (All functioning and Behavior levels) for all students in a fair size school system currently for a number of years, and severe behavior disorder public and school systems previously. I do not claim to be any sort of expert.

Things that I have learned:

1) Try everything - with Severe Autism you never know what will work.
2) These kids can make major changes if you hit the right combination.
3) They can have multiple diagnosis - ODD is ODD, treat the ODD and let the Autism take care of itself at first. Don't try to solve too many problems at a time. If you don't know what to do about the total problem, work on the sections that you do know what to do about first.
4) Get the book "The Verbal Behavior Approach-how to teach children with Autism and related disorders" by Mary Lynch Barbera. Will not solve all of your problems but will give you some ideas.
5) You may have some students that ABA-Discrete Trial methods are applicable for. If so, put a note on this web site for me. I will get your address and forward about 1500 pre-prepared sequential DTT programs for all levels and grades that address most skill and behavior needs. Most will need to be modified to meet the individual needs of your students, but they will give you ideas and a head start.

Good Luck
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thanks
Old 06-08-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Lstrm: Thanks for the detailed explanation. I can see where this is more relevant in the upper grades and I haven't become familiar with this type of situation.
also I see the necessity for me to be very vigilant in records keeping at my level that it could become pertinent later down the line.
Students of that severity, at the elementary level, would have most likely gone to 'alternative placement' mutually agreed upon by district and parents. I see the need more at the secondary level where hormones, environment, and other conditions have had an opportunity to compound the the problems.

You and SPED teacher have given me a lot to think about. (I feel like I'm in a grad. level class)
I'm trying to digest this info within the realm of my situation

Thanks again for challenging me with the info.
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I'm at an alternate placement
Old 06-09-2011, 05:41 PM
 
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Do you remember what the justification page looks like on an IEP? It's often the last page and lists all the sped placements within a district. The placement the student will receive for the IEP is checked. For instance, help in the classroom is the first level of service whereas hospital placement is the seventh. A self-contained class at a neighborhood school is level four. A separate day school, full-time, is level five.

Kids from kindergarten through grades 12 come to my level 5 placement school from neighborhood schools, either after IEP or Manifestation Determination meetings or 45 day holds.

Hopefully, you won't have any next year. Grade level and age have nothing to do with who ends up having one and has a change of placement.
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Information
Old 06-12-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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Wow! There is a lot of useful information that I can use in my own classroom. Thank you!
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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I am not SPED teacher and I do not have any type of expertise in this area but I do have a son on the spectrum. He likes to sit on an excercise ball to do his work. He also chews on things. He will chew pencils, cords, paper, literally anything he can get his hands on. He will not chew gum though. If you have any ideas about what to chew on I would be very interested.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I just showed my son the cheweze from Abilitations. He is so excited to try it out. Thank you for this website.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and go through the IEPs with a fine-tooth comb. Cleaning out and moving my room was a big enough task, and then coming up with a preliminary floor plan for my furniture for the custodian.
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That is so important
Old 06-13-2011, 01:48 AM
 
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You have accomplished vital work for next year. When the form doesn't fit the function, challenges abound! I feel bad that there is absolutely no place in my room (last room - Lstrm) to fit a quiet space. I have had great success with a quiet space for students. This room doesn't allow one, short of putting it in the middle of the room so that the student using it is 100% on display. !

I start each year by letting kids choose where to sit. If there are challenges, I move them. Like adults, once they pick a spot, they choose it day after day. Each quarter, we do a seat change, practicing democracy with regards to picks. The sole exception is for the student with preferential seating on the IEP accommodations. Usually two to three spots fit that accommodation and I make the kiddo aware that he should select one of those spots.
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new thought
Old 06-14-2011, 05:14 AM
 
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Just started reading a book called "Just Give Him the Whale." This book discusses students that have deep obsessions or fascinations and how educators could/should handle them.
Still trying to figure out 'my' thoughts on this.
Where do you draw the line - going with the obsession and perhaps using it as an educational tool or the obsession being a big neon sign saying 'look at me I'm autistic', creating a social stigma?
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I start with the FBA/PBSP
Old 06-14-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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I swear by the Functional Behavior Analysis / Positive Behavior Support Plan approach. To me, it depends on what the kiddo is gaining from his behavior.

I had one kiddo who was completely oppositional, wanted control all the time. A win to him was anything the authority figure said they wanted. To this end, his narratives as a middle school student were about Barney and other juvenile cartoons. In the big picture, a win for me was the kiddo writing. Would I prefer it wasn't about Barney? Sure. If that was where I drew my line in the sand, the kiddo wouldn't have written and would have stayed at home even more than he did (huge absenteeism problem). I worked with him on his Barney narratives on stronger organization, word choices, etc. It was a win-win. I worked with his function of behavior.

I don't always do that.

Another student I had wanted to do craft projects ALL the time. His function was academic avoidance. Perfectly capable at academics, but obsessed with crafts -- actually a genius (I don't say that lightly). I wrote a plan where he could earn craft materials daily to take home for completing work at school (he had no craft materials at home) and that doing crafts at school were taboo. His function could not be incorporated into academics; they overtook them. There was a way to meet his function and create a win-win, so that's where I went. It worked. He's now at his neighborhood school, still using this plan.

Does this help? Do you have any kiddo / situation in mind you'd like to hypothetically discuss?
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xSkAidaPrYRVm
Old 06-30-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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This article achieved exaclty what I wanted it to achieve.
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grade3teacher grade3teacher is offline
 
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back again and ready with questions.
Old 07-22-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Ok I guess it's time to start thinking about school again. I tried to take time for vacation and empty my mind of school........

Anxiety of the new year is starting to get to me, the nitty gritty of running the room. What kind of things should I be doing the first few days. I know the importance of establishing routines,
What kind of other activities could I preparing?
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Autistic Support Websites
Old 08-14-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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Hi! I'm a K-5 self-contained Autism teacher and have had kids of varying ability levels and behaviors.

http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/as/asteachersites.html

I love this website, it has a lot of great ideas for work tasks, picture cues, and online activities.
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