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School-Based Interventions : Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
Interventions for Communication Difficulties

Accommodations
  1. Create situations to motivate language use

    Example:
    Structure situations so that language becomes helpful (choose the flavor of ice cream from a list).
  2. Engage peers or other adults to help the student interact with others
    Example:
    Have a peer or adult "translate" between the student and others, particularly during activities ("he wants to go on the slide, too").
  3. Supplement verbal directions to the student with written directions

    Example:
    Write instructions on the board, then say them aloud, and check to see that the student understands by asking "what's first?."
  4. Present instructions to the student at a slower rate

    Example:
    Go slower with instructions, and check in more frequently to ensure that the student understands and is following instructions.
  5. Have the student give feedback to the teacher to check for understanding

    Example:
    Particularly with symbolic language, ask the student to explain what he/she just heard to ensure correct understanding.
  6. Review new vocabulary with the student/class before beginning a lesson

    Example:
    Identify new vocabulary, such as words with multiple meanings, so the student will correctly understand (" 'stalk' can mean corn plant, or to follow someone -- in our lesson today 'stalk' will refer to corn plants").
  7. Allow the student time to process information and respond

    Example:
    Provide sufficient time for the student to understand direction and to respond (wait 10 seconds for student response).
  8. Ensure that the teacher is positioned strategically to engage the student's attention

    Example:
    Align at the student's eye level. Touch the student's desk or chair while quietly saying something like, "Look at the ------(checklist or material) and listen. I need you to know…….." Pause to give the student time to shift attention.
  9. Provide plenty of processing time before repeating or rephrasing a question

    Example:
    "What is the capital of California?" (Stop, wait and count to 5-15 in your head before repeating/rephrasing the question. Then if needed, rephrase, "is the capital Sacramento or Los Angeles?") top

Specialized Instruction

  • Use short word prompts or commands

    Example:
    Simplify instructions for the student ("laces" to signal shoe-tying).
  • Provide choice boards for the student to communicate preferred activities

    Example:
    Show the student different options for tasks (picture of a book [for reading], food [for snack], counting cubes [for math]).
  • Use pictures to enhance communication

    Example:
    In addition to spoken or written words, provide pictures so the student can understand tasks and sequences.
  • Expand the student's language use

    Example:
    Connect words to other forms of communication (connect phrases with visual cues, match words with gestures).
  • Explain direct, literal language vs. metaphors, idioms and puns

    Example:
    When a person says 'he's in a pickle" and you can see he is not in a pickle, it means he is in trouble or out of luck. Use visuals to define each meaning.
  • Develop visual cues to reduce sensory overload

    Example:
    Devise visual cues such as hand signals or use of pictures to diminish reliance on verbal and physical prompts.
  • Use adult verbal modeling to teach a younger student to ask for what he/she wants

    Example:
    Connect words to instrumental acts (when the student reaches for a cracker, ask "does [student name] want a cracker?").
  • Use scaffolding techniques to promote spontaneous language

    Example:
    Add "parts" (sentence starters, transition statements to connect ideas) to facilitate conversation with the student.
  • Teach the student specific statements to obtain help when facing challenging tasks

    Example:
    Provide the student with statements to obtain help, such as "can you help me with this problem?."
  • Verbalize information simply, briefly, and clearly

    Example:
    "It's time for lunch. You must be hungry" instead of "Would you like to go to lunch? By this time, you must be really hungry."
  • Start with picture cues but systematically fade to promote maintenance of desired responses

    Example:
    Provide an "I need help" picture cue, eventually fading to the student asking for help on his/her own.
  • Present instruction in the way that is best understood by the student (whole to part, part to whole, etc)

    Example:
    Have the student use a "zoom lens" to "zoom in and out" on information. "Zoom out" to get the big picture, "zoom in" for a more detailed approach.
  • Provide academics in visual format

    Example:
    Use calendars, transition cues, checklists, cue cards, or semantic maps (line drawings, printed words) to show relationships between many details. top
 
   
 
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