Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shhh... Don't tell the "Internet Quality Police"...

but I am now hiding my writing in lots of places. That way they won't realise how much nonsense I am posting out there. Here is the post I wrote for Jason Robillard from the "The Barefoot Running University".

Writers block finally over..:) Until the next time. :)




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Umm.... what to write about.. ?

I have a big case of mental block at the moment. Usually a couple glasses of wine and an insane day is enough for me to splurt nonsense, however this hasn't been happening. I sit looking at the computer, blankly wondering what event I can drag out of my mundane life and then somehow make it interesting. In the last week I have now discovered there is something called "Justin Bieber" (Sp?), but still don't understand it's role in the universe - or why it's hair-cut is so important. Anyone know what this thing is and why it's needs dedicated news reports on it's hair? After investigating - yes I have been that desperate - I am still at a loss. Anyone?

I have found random web-sites that are of no use to me - or anyone else I can see, yet I will spend my days plowing through them instead of actually siting down and writing. I have managed to catch up on all my friends blogs - which is unheard of. I am even whittling down my "to-do" list and yet, the blank "New Post" page on blogger blinks at me.

Why the sudden evaporation of stupid thoughts and ideas? I think it's nerves. I have been asked - along with many others - to write a few posts for my friend Jason Robillard at the "Barefoot Running University". This is a big surprise, an awesome opportunity and one I am so grateful for. I still personally think he doesn't know what he is letting himself into. I mean, my contribution to the Internet is inane at the best of times. Honestly I think he must have had one too many of those purple cocktails drinks with the little umbrellas and the fake pink flamingo olive sticks... Actually, do those fake pink flamingo olive sticks exist? Now I have written that I am not so sure - let me get a patent on that quick, it will make me millions!

Initially I was brimming with idea's. On my run's I began to think of posts I could write: How running should be about life, but not the other way around; My love to run trails; How I fit in running with my life. They were just coming out of my head. Then I made the mistake of trying to tackle the task as if it were a college essay. I would plan, organise, create notes - in fact I would do this in a grown-up and methodical fashion. This is where it all failed.

My blog posts are evolutionary in nature. Not in the way they come out of the primordial soup and then consequently devour anything smaller than themselves, then repeatedly mate with anything that moves; okay, that was probably closer to the mark than I was intending and didn't actually prove my point. Ooops :)

My posts morph from the title and I just sit there and type. Usually with a mug of wine, (yes Mug, I am one classy lady) and my local radio station playing over the internet. I don't really consider paragraph headings, or introductions, summaries or citations. Heck, if it wasn't for an automatic spell-checker the posts would be unreadable.

So there I was sitting at a open document page wondering what the heck to write. The pressure began. I wanted to write something cool - Jason's a cool guy, how could I write anything less. But I don't do "cool"... Bugger.

Jason didn't specify times or topics. No time-frame. That's a killer to start with. I could actually win awards for my level of procrastination, if I could be arsed. I don't just wait for due-dates, I wait for three days after the final red-letter and the threats from big guys with mallets. I will provide an example. It's nearly March and I still have Christmas parcels on the dining table that needs to be shipped internationally. We aren't talking presents to vague acquaintances, we are talking presents to immediate family! I have still to write the Christmas cards from last year. I make it a standard joke that I am 7 weeks behind on life. Everyone titters, how they would laugh if they actually realised, I am NOT joking! I don't organise my life on dates on a calender, I just organise my life as a "Sun-Sat" affair. Why? because in my head it's still the second week in January.

Then the pressure to think of a great running topic began. "Running whilst hiding the snot-streaks"? Nope - that's going to appeal to, well maybe just me, and anyway my other friend AngieB and Jason's wife, Shelly have that part of running covered a little too well already. "How to run barefoot?" Heck, no - Jason wrote the book (literally) and I am a novice in comparison. "How to run quicker, better, further?" I am a person who's idea of a training schedule is checking the inaccurate weather forecast and seeing how far I can go before the usual Vancouver rain drenches me. "Cross-training" - what's that? (learning how to be a transvestite?) I think you can see my problem here. When I tried to examine an aspect of running (and Barefoot/Minimalist running in particular) I felt that I was either un-qualified, inexperienced or there was somebody better at the topic than me.

So here I am. I am in a better situation than I was 40 mins ago, (I no longer have a blank "New Post" screen). I do still have my initial problem though; what can I write for Jason that will be interesting, informative, cool and inspiring - oh and about running? *slaps face* This is where we look to our strengths and unique talents.

[pause]

I've got it! I know something I can do better than anyone else. Why did I not think of this before?

Getting drunk and then registering for races I have not prepared for and which are due to start in 3 days time. Then I can write a race report about looking at peoples arses and freaking out the Vancouver Police Department whilst running. Then I could add a section about drinking wine 4 miles from the end and crossing the line with the most insane buzz this side of inhaling a helium balloon. This I am an expert on. This I can do well. Right guys, pass the wine, let's get the BC 2011 race calendar on the screen, (is my Credit Card handy?) - I can feel a article coming on :D


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quick notes about Autism

Here are some notes I made during my course that relate generally to Autism and cannot be fitted into any of the other topics. It might seem scary, unfortunately a lot of the information relates to co-morbidity of other conditions and Autism.

Autism is diagnosed using the Diagnostic Criteria called the DSM-IV (r). I have included a copy of the criteria on the link below:

As you can see that sensory issues are not included in the criteria although many children with ASD DO have sensory issues. The main characteristics of Autism are as follows:
  • Impairments in social interaction
  • Impairment in communication
  • Restrictive Interests
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Sensory Challenges.

There is a co-morbidity of the following conditions with Autism:
  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
  • Tourettes
  • DCD (Development Co-ordination Disorder)
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety (common with HFA and AS)
  • Seizures (up to a 50% increase of seizures when a child has Autism - usually in Adolescence)
  • Pica - 5% of children with Autism have Pica
  • 30-35% of children with ASD have sleep issues
Autistic children are part or whole learners. Autistic children will focus on small items and if there are changes in the small parts they may have issues, because the can't see the whole situation.

Children with ASD tend to prefer non-fiction because they can't relate to the social contexts within story books.

Difference between High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's Syndrome (AS)

There are important differences between HFA and AS. (This is a general guide take from the course text book - it's not a definitive analysis)

In HFA there is a preference for sameness however this doesn't appear to be particularly driven. Children with AS take "sameness" to a new "art-form" and has a driven quality to it.

Children with HFA have problems shifting rapidly and flexibility shifting from one thing to another and may get "stuck" on one thing in detriment to others. They aren't susceptible to environmental changes as children with AS, possibly due to this over-focusing blocking external distractions.

AS attention difficulties resemble those similar to ADHD (impulsivity and drawn to distractions).

High stimulation often causes hyper arousal in HFA students, where students with AS may need more intense stimulation.

Students with HFA may demonstrate the rudiments of imagination but the imagination will be under-developed and markedly impoverished. Students with AS have more varied responses including an over-active imagination where the boundary between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. However there is still a non-reciprocal/controlling aspect to play behaviour for children with AS.

There is an apparent lack of preference or interest in social interaction with children with HFA. Children with AS appear quite social on topics of interest and may impose their interests on others without understanding the "distress" signals given. Children with AS have a greater awareness of their social difficulties.

There is generally a less sophisticated use of language in both vocubulary and verbal expression for children with HFA. Children with AS have a greater use of language almost above normal - however this can be mis-leading as their comprehension may not match their vocabulary. AS children may also speak more metaphorically (i.e. round-about or idiosyncratically) than HFA children.

Sensory issues in AS children are not only more subtle but also deceptive. This means their sensory issues maybe overlooked.

A diagnosis of AS is usually made at a later age than that of HFA. Mis-diagnosis of AS is quite common, with other disorders being attributed before AS.

Less tendency to label HFA students as "willful", as their behaviour seems more reactive than deliberate. Some students with AS are quite oppositional.

Social Interventions and other tools

There are a number of ways to increase social interaction with ASD children. As mentioned in other blogs, children with ASD do not automatically learn social skills through observation. These social skills have to be specifically taught. ASD children lack 'Theory of Mind' so cannot understand that people have separate thoughts to them. We have to accept that with ASD children, social interaction will be on a rote/learnt basis and any empathic skills you may observe is a due to the child remembering the rules and not specifically because of they have managed to "understand" what the other person is thinking and feeling. We also have to remember that a child with ASD has problems generalising a skill learnt in a specific environment or situation. Social skills are very general and there is no way of being able to teach what a verbal cue will be in a situation.

SOCIAL INTERVENTIONS

Social Stories - Recent information has come to light regarding the usefulness of 'social stories' in teaching social skills. (Don't ask me to point to it, because it was mentioned in the conversational part of the lecture and it wasn't referenced as such. Remember this is a blog not an educational work, so I am allowed that lapse).

It has been seen that "social stories" are actually not very good at showing un-defined social skills, i.e. be nice to the kids in school because they will be sad, but is VERY good at teaching specific behaviour, i.e. in class we are quiet, we sit still and we listen to the teacher. When you think of the lack of ToM in ASD children, it makes sense that social-stories will of course not teach how your actions will make people will feel, because this is a concept that is out of the reach of them.

Social stories are best when they are read before you want the desired behaviour, but are not good for teaching desired behaviour after an incident. Social stories are also very good for teaching social behaviour and rules to Neuro-typical children.

"The New Social Story Book" by Carol Gray is written by one of the leading proponants of "social stories"

Floor time - This was developed by Stanley Greenspan. It encourages the caregiver to get to floor level with the child and see/participate what the child is experiencing and expand on that interest with social and verbal skills.

Turn taking games - Turn taking games specifically requires a back-and-fro reciprocal setup. My turn, your turn scenario shows that sometimes you have to sit back and let the other person participate. This initially will have to be aided by visual cues to show who's turn it is, (It's the persons turn when they have the cue card, beanbag etc). This back and forth is important for building conversational skills.

Facilitate Peer interaction - Social skills taught by peers is essential. In a social group at the school you can shape the peers to cue the child with ASD in the correct behaviour. Getting the peers to prompt the child is one of the best ways of teaching social skills to a child with ASD.

Circles program - Nicolas Watkins. This is good for teaching social distances to ASD children. It shows visually what social behaviour is acceptable to (and from) different groups of people. i.e. that hugs and kisses are okay for parents, but not okay to the store clerk. There are some links to the program here.

Video modelling - "Model me Kids program" by Scott Belamy. Short videos that show the targeted behaviour in various situations. Apparently very successful.

Social Thinking - Michelle Garcia Winner. This is a program that shows in a discrete way how people think about you and how you can think about them. She has created the "super-flex" cartoon series which shows expected and unexpected behaviour and how other people react to that. (watched a video showing her practising it - very good).

OTHER TOOLS

Preference Profile sheet - Although not a tool in teaching desired behaviour it is important in showing to a floating SEA/teacher the likes/dislikes and other comments relating to a child with ASD. This is invaluable in showing quickly the triggers and re-inforcers you can use in a child that is not known to you. See link below for a clean example of a "preference profile sheet"

PREMACK system - This is a way of altering a child's schedule so that a preferred activity follows an non-preferred activity. Using a visual schedule or a "Now/Then" chart, you can ensure non-preferred activities are achieved by showing a "preferred" activity will follow. Many ASD children have no concept of time and therefore may feel that during a non-preferred activity they will "never have any fun EVER!". By showing a preferred activity will be coming, you can re-direct avoidance behaviour.

Token Economy - To most parent's this is the token board. A child earns preferred items/scheduling by earning tokens for achieving desired behaviour for a period of time. You have to ensure that when choosing a desired behaviour you are very discrete. A reward for "being good" won't work as the term "being good" is too general. You should define the behaviour through a contract between the child on series of tasks over a specific period of time. Before you create a token economy you need to "base-line" the level of non-preferred behaviour. It is unfair to expect a child who hits 10 times an hour to go 2 hours before earning a token. Initially you may need to reward a child who achieves the desired behaviour EVERY time he performs it. You then increase the time between each token, or increase the number of tokens to be earned before a re-inforcer is given. Increasing the number of tokens to be earned only works on ASD children that have learnt to delay gratification for a re-inforcer. The size of the re-inforcer should be small enough that the child does not become bored of the re-inforcer, i.e don't give a whole bag of candy as a reward, maybe just one. :)

Prompting - Occassionally prompts are required to help a child perform a task. The idea behind prompting is that you should move to reduce the invasiveness of the prompt as quickly as possible. Generally prompting goes through the following levels:
Physical - * Hand-on-hand prompting (moving a child's hand to perform task)
* Physical Tap, or physical reminder to perform task
Gestural - * Showing in a gesture what the action/task should like when you are
performing it. You look as if you are brushing teeth
* Pointing to area or item to show that the task should be done. i.e. pointing
to teeth
Verbal - * Giving full verbal prompt and what should be done. i.e. put toothpaste
on your brush and brush your teeth
* Partial verbal prompt to what should be done. Teeth
You should attempt to move as promptly from Physical to Verbal as you can, however, this
should be directed by the child. If the child is failing to understand a prompt then go back a few steps.

Task Analysis - Most children with ASD become overwhelmed when they envision a task is too big. This will lead to avoidance behaviour. Sometimes it is necessary to split a task into it's individual components and have the child complete the larger task one "sub-task" at a time. When completing a series of sub-tasks, an adult can help the child at the beginning of the set or at the end. Forward chaining is when the child performs the first parts of the task, but the adult completes the rest, (the child puts on his shoes, but the adult ties them up) . Backward chaining is when the adult performs the first steps but the child completes the last (the adult puts the toes in the sock, but the child pulls the sock up).

Discrete Trial Format - Most ABA programs are based on this. There are five stages of Discrete Trial Format.
Ready - if the child is stimming (flapping/moving for stimulus) then manual move hand to a ready position
Stage 1 - Discriminative Stimulus. This is the request... "give me", "match"
Stage 2 - Student response. The child's answer
Stage 3 - Consequence. If the child has the answer wrong, then the child is asked to perform the task again. If the response is correct then a re-inforcer is given.
Stage 4 - Inter-trial interval. Usually the period it takes for the BI to mark the answer before the next repetion of the task.
Stage 5 - Pause for Data collection. The time spent between each series of trials.

Errorless-learning. This is a way of always encouraging the child to the right response either through manipulating the environment (pushing the correct object forward) or a physical prompt. When a intervention is made for the correct answer then a reward is still given. Remember we are trying to encourage the correct response via positive re-inforcement.

Break and relaxation options
Children with ASD may very well become overwhelmed with their environment and therefore it is useful to have a way of allowing a student to have periods where they can relax. This should be done through both Scheduled breaks throughout the day but also through a setup where the student can ask for breaks. (D uses a break card he can hand to the teacher when he needs to calm down). When these breaks occur there are a number of ways to relax. The concrete ways are, books, toys, body pressure, or "hard-work" activities. Abstract ways are, progressing muscle relaxation, deep breathing, visualisation and imagery.


Introduction to Basic Behavioural Theory and teaching new skills

This post is a little technical. I tried to make it as easy to read as possible, but I am having trouble.

In ABA teaching with children with Autism, teaching of new skills needs to be done with a understanding of basic behaviour. Most teaching of new skills is done with re-inforcers, (something a child wants). There are two different types of re-inforcers.

Primary - These are the basic needs we all need. So therefore, food, drink and sleep. Of course we can't use sleep as a re-inforcer, so as a primary re-inforcer we can only rely on food or drink.

Secondary - These are learnt re-inforcers and are not instinctive. Physical objects (toys) and preferred activities fall under this section. Social interaction (usually praise), also falls into this section, but quite often children with ASD have no desire to make social connections, so this is a hard re-inforcer to use.

During typical child development a child will build a connection with the primary and secondary re-inforcers. A baby will like to have milk (primary) and will use negative re-inforcement on the parents to get it. (i.e. baby will scream for milk and won't stop until they get it). The baby will also associate being held by the parent (social/secondary) with being given milk and over time a connection between the primary need and the secondary need will be made with the child. Eventually, the association of person giving the milk (love, happiness) will be present even if the milk is not present.

With children with ASD there is not this automatic association between the primary and secondary re-inforcers and this connection takes a LOT longer to learn. This is one reason why children with ASD may not respond to a "good job" comment when they practise a preferred behaviour. You will find in teaching new skills to a child with ASD that food is quite often used as re-inforcer. It will be accompanied by a "Well Done", but essentially the child is after the candy! :D Eventually however, the child WILL learn the connection between the primary and secondary re-inforcer so eventually a "Well Done" will be enough.

In modifying behaviour we can use either Positive or negative re-inforcers, OR positive or negative punishment. Understanding the differences between them is essential to see why they do or don't work (with most kids not just those with ASD).

Positive re-inforcement - This re-inforces a preferred behaviour by giving the child something he/she wants. Giving the child candy for doing something you want.

Negative re-inforcment - This re-inforces a preferred behaviour by taking away something the child dislikes. Stop shouting at a child when he/she is doing something you want. (Of course you shouting is not encouraged, it just illustrates a point - honest!)

Positive Punishment - The intention is to increase a preferred behaviour taking away something the child wants. Taking away a toy

Negative Punishment - The intention is to increase a preferred behaviour by giving something the child dislikes. Spanking/hitting is an example.

Re-inforcement occurs during a behaviour, where-as punishment occurs after a behaviour.

Re-inforcement of a behaviour (wether it is positive or negative) will increase a desired behaviour, Punishment (both positive and negative) will not increase a desired behaviour over a period of time. It will INCREASE an UN-DESIRED behaviour.

When a child performs negative re-inforcement on us; i.e. screaming for a toy in a store, and we give-in, we are actually positively re-inforcing the behaviour. This is more so if the toy is given after a delay, or intermittently. To explain, a child screams for a toy. You will say, No for the first 5 mins. The lack of response will cause the behaviour to increase. Eventually you have enough and you give in. The child stops screaming. The child has performed "negative re-inforcement" on you. She was doing something you didn't like, but stopped when you did what she wanted. In the future, the child will remember this. So therefore will do exactly the same again. You have positively re-inforced her behaviour because you have shown her that 'screaming works'. If you do it intermittently, then the child will scream every time you go to the toy store because she knows that there is a percentage chance the screaming will work, which is better than nothing.

The same works both ways. The best way to create a desired behaviour is to positively re-inforce it. It is the most consistent and creates a increased self-esteem (if you are able to use social re-inforcement).

Positive re-inforcement is usually used when altering behaviour through the following:
  • PECS communication learning (see communication section)
  • Token Economy (see tools section)
  • Discrete Trial Format for behaviour (see tools section)

Introduction to Behavioural/Functional Analysis

Behavioural/Functional Analysis, is the way of identifying the reason behind a behaviour so that it can be shaped or altered. In children with ASD we have to constantly do a behavioural analysis because many of the children will not be fully verbal, or if they are verbal, may become uncommunicative under stress. There are some important facts we need to know before we start.

All behaviour is communication
There are always pre-cursors to a behaviour
The behaviour will escalate when the cause is not acknowledge or acted upon
A lot of the "Protest" behaviours are because the demands on the child is too much.

There are only four functions (reasons) of behaviour
  1. Escape/Avoidance/Protest - "I DON'T WANT"
  2. Sensory avoidance or seeking
  3. Attention (to gain or avoid - usually gain in a social bid)
  4. Tangible - "I WANT..."
To be able to understand the reasoning for a child's behaviour, doing a "A B C chart" helps us. An A B C chart stands for
A - Antecedent (or Trigger) - what actually caused the behaviour
B - Behaviour - what was the behaviour we saw
C - Consequence - this is not necessarily what re-inforcer or punishment was given. It could be, 'how did the child or others react afterwards?'

An example of a plain 'A B C' form can be found here:

As well as the 'Trigger' we also need to be aware of the 'Setting' events that may pre-cursor the behaviour. These don't actually trigger the behaviour directly, but they may contribute to the behaviour's frequency or intensity. These setting events are usually the same for all of us:
  • illness/hormonal imbalance
  • Medication; change, introduction, ceasation
  • Sensory
  • Weather
  • Allergies
  • Tired/lack of sleep
  • Hunger
  • Changes at home (birth, death, house-move, divorce)
  • Emotional changes (e.g. Stress/Anxiety)
  • Educational changes; SEA or teacher change
  • Environmental conditions; change in furniture
Another aid to help understand behaviour to perform a frequency chart. Mark down every time we see the behaviour and when/where the behaviour occurs. Over a period of time we may be able to see a pattern in behaviour which will lead us to be able to pin-point the triggers. An example of a completed 'Frequency Chart' can be found here:

Once we have examined the setting events, the trigger and evaluated the behaviour, we can perhaps come to a conclusion as to why the behaviour happened. We can begin to understand why the child behaved as he/she did. Once we know the cause of the behaviour we can put plans in place to modify the behaviour to something or create aids, that are beneficial to the child.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Autistic kids need visual aids?

We all require visual aids, not just Autistic children, or even Neuro-typical children. There aren't many of us that cannot survive without a calender, diary, address book or notebook. These are all visual aids that help us in our day-to-day lives. People with Autism however, are less able to function without visual aids and there are many reasons for this.

Firstly, Autistic children have poor informational processing. This leads to poor memory. When there is also poor information processing there is also increased anxiety, because you are less able to remember/predict/understand what will be happening next. (This is why Autistic children have a preference for "sameness", it makes life a little easier for their information processing system). Having a visual schedule or scripted routine elliminates the need to rely on a faulty information processing system.

Second, as mentioned in the communication blog, verbal communication is transitory. Once something has been said it is gone and the information will only be available again IF the person decides to repeat the sentence. As many children with ASD also suffer from a processing delay, then this can mean the request is misunderstood or not acted upon. This again can create anxiety, because the child cannot be confident that they have the correct information. Visual information is NOT transient and can be access when the child needs to.

Visual aids reduce the need for Verbal prompts by the caregiver. Visual prompts (maybe a "handwashing routine") means that a child can perform the task without having to be prompted verbally every stage. Visual aids increase independence and reduce "learned helplessness" (as with verbal prompting - "learned helplessness" is when a child will wait for a prompt before continuing the task and will be reluctant to do any stage of the task without a "usually" verbal prompt).

There are many types of visual aids:
  • Visual Calenders showing what will happen over week/month
  • Visual schedules (showing activities that will be done through-out the day)
  • "Now" and "Then" strips; cut-down versions of a visual schedule
  • Visual scripts/routines: A visual way of showing the various parts of a task; i.e. hand-washing
  • Cue cards: cards that can be used to show what should be said or done next in a script, or showing single actions (like STOP)
  • Visual Rules: a visual list showing what should/shouldn't be done
  • Countdown strips: a way of visually showing the time till a task is to be completed; helps with transitional situations. "You have 5,(4,3,2,1,) minutes till you are all done"
  • Visual bridges to convey information between home and school
  • Choice boards; allowing a child to indicate what he/she would like (to do)
  • Social stories; a visual way to show a child what he/she should do in a social situation - a way of learning the social rules.
  • Problem solving cards; a visual way to show have a "social problem" can be solved
  • Consequence mapping sheets: a visual way to show a consequence of an action
  • Relaxation and calming down routines
  • Zone meters: showing how loud/quiet you should be in an activity/area/time
  • PIC communication: picture cards used for non/reduced-verbal situations allowing reciprocal communication. (asking for something). This is part of the PECS system (Picture exchange)
Examples of visual supports can be found here:

The Benefits of a visual scripted routine is as follows:
  • Breaks larger tasks into smaller steps
  • Allows more independence from verbal cueing
  • gives all staff the format to teach in the same way
  • reduces anxiety by providing predictability
  • Allows the accomplishment of large goals.
Please see "30 reasons to use and keep using a Visual schedule" which can be found here:

We have to remember that the fading out of the visual aids should be dictated by the CHILD and not the adult. Just because the adult believes the visual aid shouldn't be used anymore, doesn't mean the child still isn't using it.

Apart from visual schedules, on of the main visual aid is the "Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). This is a way for a non-verbal child, (or a verbal child who has decreased language because of an overwhelming environment) to be able to communicate their needs. It has been shown that instead of hindering language, the PECS system actually facilitates the growth of language.

The PECS system teaches the child to:
  • Locate a communication partner
  • Present a picture for a desired item
  • Get the item in exchange for the picture
  • The exchange is intentional
  • Initiative is taught
  • Is a child centred approach
The PECS system should follow the child's level of comprehension of reality regarding the item. A line drawing of an object maybe beyond a child's level of understanding, if this is the case, then the PEC symbol should then be downgraded to an actual photograph. Likewise, if an actual photograph is beyond a child's comprehension then you shouldn't use a "picture" but the actual object. The development of comprehension of symbols is as follows (1-8):
  1. Actual Object (then miniature)
  2. Similar object
  3. Photograph of actual object
  4. Photograph of similar object
  5. Colour line drawings
  6. Black line drawings
  7. Pictorial Symbols (PCS)
  8. Written words

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Useful links and book recommendations

Below are some of the links and books recommended by the lecturer from my 'POPARD Introduction into ASD - practical applications' course. I'll update the list when I get more info.

Links

Autism speaks.

Defeat Autism Now. There is a list of doctors and specialists.

POPARD is the outreach program for Autism in BC. They run the course I am on. They have good resources in the E-learning section.

This video was created to show what it is like for an Autistic person who has auditory and visual sensory integration issues. It's only 11 minutes long and it makes you realise what it must be like for people who have to deal with this all day, every day.

SetBC- There is a section called 'PictureSet' which has pre-made .pdf and boardmaker visual prompts.

ACT BC the Autism department for BC, Canada. List of qualified practitioners in BC.

Books

Course text - "How to be a para pro - A comprehensive training manual" by Diane Twachtman-Cullen (Good insight into how the Autistic mind works, reasonable expectations you should expect and an introduction into some techniques on dealing with situations. DOES NOT go into ABA or PECS)

How Autistic people think- "10 things a child with Autism wishes you knew" by Ellen Notbohm

How Autistic people think-"Look me in the eye" by John Elder Robison. (Biographical)

How Autistic people think-"Curious incident of the dog in the Nighttime" by Mark Haddan. (Fiction/Biographical)

How Autistic people think-"Freaks, geeks and Aspergers Syndrome" by Luke Jackson. (Biographical)

Sensory Integration- "The out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz (The go to text about what SPD is and what you should expect).

Sensory Integration-The out-of-sync child has fun" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. (The techniques on how to create a sensory diet).

Sensory Integration- "Building Bridges through Sensory Integration" by E. YAck, P. Aquilla and S. Sutton. (A book written by OT's on the different types of Sensory Integration and techniques on how to create a sensory diet. I brought this one - it's been recommended a few times to me too)

Teaching ASD children - "How do I teach this kid?" Kimberly A Henry

Teaching ASD Children - "The Hidden Curriculum" Brendan Myles Smith

Teaching ASD Children - "Teaching Children with Autism in School - a resource guide" by the BC Government (available on-line)

Emotional regulation- "The incredible 5 point scale" by Kari Dunn Buron.

Emotional regulation-"When my Worries get too Big" by Kari Dunn Buron (I brought this to help D with Anxiety and to give him calming techniques in a "social story" context")

Emotional regulation-"A 5 could make me loose control" By Karo Dunn Baron (We brought this a while back to try to discover D stressors. The child just has to put a card with an event (i.e. recess) or object (horses) into a pocket going from 1-5. 1=like, 5=upset. They use words and PIC symbols)

Emotional regulation-"My Book of Feelings" by Amy V Jaffee. (A dry wipe book where the child can put down events/objects that illicit certain emotions, and then the child can work through techniques on how to combat negative emotions)

Social Thinking- "The New Social Story Book" by Carol Grey. (A book with all stories on a CD so they can be altered to suit the situation/child. This book gives 150 social stories that teach social skills for varying situations. I brought this one to as D is high-functioning and reading social-situations is one of his difficulties).

Social Thinking- "Superflex Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum" by Michelle Garcia Winner. (This again teaches children with High-functioning ASD about how their mind works and how they can alter their social thinking in certain situations. Written in a comic book format. D likes this one)

Social Thinking- "Social Behaviour and Aspergers Syndrome" by Tony Atwood. (Can't actually find it, but I believe Attwood is one of the main researchers around social thinking and how it applies to ASD)

Social Thinking - "The Circles Program" by Nicolas Watkins. (Not sure where to get this... I'll post more when I find out)

Anxiety- "Meet Thotso, your thought maker" by Rachel Robb Avery. (I brought this one because D was starting to suffer from Anxiety and I wanted to show him it was okay and how he could change his thinking. It's a board book with "lift the flap" and removable items. Kind of fun).