Monday, May 22, 2017

Regulation Rendezvous-- Preferential Seating

Today's Regulation Rendezvous will focus on the use of Preferential Seating. 

Preferential seating means that a student’s seat is placed in a location that is most beneficial for his/her learning. Preferential seating is often necessary for a student with autism. Organizing physical space to minimize the negative impact of classroom stimulation is an important educational consideration. To the extent possible, furniture and classroom space should be arranged so that a student with AS/HFA is not bombarded with any more stimulation than is necessary.

Below are some things to consider:

  • Seat the student close to the teaching areas – within 3 – 4 feet when possible. This way the teacher can monitor student progress. Also, the student will be less likely to be distracted by interfering stimuli.
  • It is also helpful to have the student facing away from the noisiest or busiest parts of the classroom.
  • Seat the child with autism in close proximity to a teacher-selected peer partner(s). This will allow the child with autism to be able to model his/her response from a good peer example. It will also give the student a support other than the teacher when he/she needs additional guidance.
  • Many students with AS/HFA benefit from having their own independent work area or office-like arrangement for part of the instructional day. This can look a variety of ways. One suggestion is a desk separated from the general classroom by a divider or bookcase. This will further reduce distractions during independent work time. 
We love the use of a study carrel to provide an independent work area. Tabletop or full cubby carrels can be purchased. 

Jennifer Jette, Vandalia-Butler School District
Beth Young, Springfield City Schools

DIY study carrels can be made with a tri-fold board or two folders. 

Sometimes preferential seating includes adaptive seating options which can be used in a variety of classroom situations including seatwork, sitting at the carpet, or in a home base location. Adaptive seating options provide various benefits such as:

Increased Physical Boundaries

Anne Rosenbaum, Kettering City Schools

Increased Visual Boundaries

Emily Ottmar, Mad River Local Schools

Core Support 

Vestibular (Movement) Input

Hokki stool

place tennis balls on alternating chair legs for vestibular input!

Proprioceptive (Deep Pressure) Input
Kate Pennington, Kettering City Schools
Rachel Hatton, Centerville City Schools

Taylor Ruef, Mad River Local Schools

Friday, May 12, 2017

Organization Station-- Visuals

As the end of the year approaches, what better way to introduce our latest blog series, Organization Station which features examples of organization techniques to make your life easier!

We know that by this time in the year you may find your classroom buried in visual cards everywhere! This week's Organization Station is dedicated to organizing all those little cards so that they are easy to find again in the fall.

For student specific visuals, you may want to use a zipper pouch that can be placed in their binder and easily accessed or a metal ring for each student stored near the schedules. 
Brian Frimel, Bradford Exempted Village Schools

Amy Beanblossom, Arcanum-Butler School District
Another way to store schedule visuals is using a 100s chart pocket chart with a designated pocket for each type of card. 

Many teachers organize their visuals by category for easy access. A binder with baseball card sleeves or a crafting organizer have great dividers for each category.

We have also seen some really sturdy options online that are sure to give users a great way to organize for years to come. Click on each picture for links to similar products. 


Do you have another way to organize your visuals? Share in the comments!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Regulation Rendezvous--Zones of Regulation

One of our team's favorite curriculums for teaching students how to self-manage and regulate their emotions is The Zones of Regulation. To spread the love for Zones we have highlighted the curriculum in today's Regulation Rendezvous.

The Zones of Regulation is by Leah Kuypers, M.A. Ed., OTR/L. The Zones curriculum provides lessons to help students identify their emotions or level of alertness through introducing 4 color-coded levels and introduces them to using tools to regulate themselves at each level. 

To find out more information, check out the curriculum website which has information about purchasing and resources for educators already using the program. Click the image below to be directed to the website.

We have seen many teams using the Zones of Regulation across the Miami Valley in self-contained classrooms, resources rooms, general education classrooms, and as a school-wide positive behavior support. 

Many classrooms do a Zones Check In throughout the day to provide students with opportunities to practice identifying their emotions/level of alertness. 

Leslie Mann, Vandalia-Butler School District

Jody Chick, Yellow Springs Schools

In some classrooms, staff has incorporated special interests by incorporating Pixar's Inside Out to their Zones instruction.

Rachel Hatton, Centerville City Schools

This handout can be found for FREE at BrieBrieBlooms.

One of the Autism Coaching Team's favorite tools is our Emotion Cue Cards for Staff which was created to provide a visual tool for staff working with a student with difficulty with self-regulation and managing unexpected or explosive behaviors. One side of each card will show what the level of emotion looks like, while the back will list the options that the staff has for responding to that emotion.  Some students do not have the ability to self-manage and will rely on others to guide them to appropriate options when they are feeling overwhelmed.  An Emotion Cue Card can be created as a tool for the teacher, paraprofessionals or related services to refer to throughout the day.  This tool can help to ensure that all the adults are responding to the student’s emotional needs in an appropriate and consistent manner.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Around Town Round Up--Visual Reminders

Many students with autism are visual learners and research has shown that visual supports are an evidence-based practice. In fact, they can process visual information up to 2X faster than the neurotypical individual.  In contrast, research has shown that individuals with ASD take .4 to .9 seconds longer to process auditory information. Visual supports are used in almost all classrooms in numerous ways. This week's Around Town Round Up focuses on the use of visual supports for providing students with reminders for a variety of purposes. 

Some students needs a visual reminder to help them gather materials for class. These color-coded checklists are a great tool for building independence for students.

These desk cues provide a variety of visual reminder options including following directions to gather materials, redirecting behavior, or providing scripting sentence starters to make requests. The bottom example shows the flap covering the cues so they are not distracting when unnecessary. 

A visual cue ring is a great way to provide reminders without adding to auditory clutter within the classroom which can be distracting for peers. 

When using a visual cue ring keep in mind the following tips:

  • Put a contrasting border on the cue card to draw the eyes to it.
  • Avoid using pictures that tell the student what NOT to do. Give them a replacement behavior instead!
  • Use the cue ring for positive feedback or directions for preferred activities so that the student does not only associate it with negative feedback.

Laura Brown, Springfield City Schools

Visual reminders can be a great way to prime students for changes to the schedule or routine which can be challenging! Adding a "change" card to a visual cue ring is an efficient reminder that can be used "on the go" for unexpected changes while a larger change card can be used during a daily schedule review or morning message to review changes for the day. Students benefit from the change card reminder because it provides a predictable way to prime for life's unpredictable changes!
Emily Ottmar, Mad River Local Schools

Sometimes students need to be directly taught expectations during life skills activities. This is a great visual reminder to remind students to push the lever 3 times to get a paper towel. 

Anne Rosenbaum, Kettering City Schools
Older students benefit from visual reminders as well! This is a great example of a visual support for high school students to remind them what the cost of lunch will be each day.

Jennifer Jette, Vandalia-Butler School District

Visual reminders can be a great way to cue students during multi-step academic activities especially during math. Check out these great step-by-step reminders for solving word problems and telling time.
Taylor Ruef, Mad River Local Schools

Controlling voice volume can be a difficult and abstract concept to teach but these visual reminders are a great visual support!

Leslie Mann, Vandalia-Butler School District