• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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Autism IEP—Requested Accommodations

This is list is a culmination of all our ideas and thoughts, and YOUR INPUT! Thanks you much. You all have been incredibly helpful.  So here goes…what we are going in there this morning trying to accomplish.  My though here is to ask for the world and hope we get what we need.


Priority: Addressing Parent Concerns and Student’s Needs

· **Homework Accommodation/Modification; no work/homework to be assigned to be completed at home after school hours. A designated time during the school day (resource room) can be used to complete any needed work. This will alleviate stress, confusion over homework instructions, and instances of lost assignments and materials. Academic concepts can be reinforced during resource room. Matthew is having difficult grasping Math concepts, and practicing them incorrectly at home.

· **No materials, notes, or assignments required to be transported between home and school. When necessary all correspondence is to be delivered to parents digitally, and returned to school in the same fashion.

· **Remove all penalties for late or missing work; working on organization and academics at the same time can create avoidance of work.

· **Recess is required every day. He should not have his recess taken away as that is down time in the day he needs to have based on his disability; it provides him with proprioceptive stimuli, which he cannot function without it.  When he loses recess it changes his schedule, takes away his time for a physical and mental break his body and mind need, and causes overstimulation which makes the rest of his day more difficult than it already is.

· **Remove color-coded behavior system—this is causing undue stress and anxiety. No punishment should be imposed for disability related offenses, which includes forgetting things, difficulty following instructions/directions, not "paying attention”, lacking focus, etc. Punishments should not be imposed for inaccurately done assignments, poor grades, or test failures.

· **When “punishment” is deemed necessary for willful and disruptive behaviors (not related to disability), parents must be informed of infraction and its penalty prior to penalty being imposed. This may cause a delay in consequences, i.e. punishable offense committed on Monday, parent’s notified (via email) on Monday afternoon/evening, penalty imposed on Tuesday. This is to insure that the child is not being punished for an offense relating to his disability, whether perceived, or unintentionally.

· **Note Taking Assistance is necessary due to executive function issues with prioritizing information and organization, delayed motor coordination/pencil control skills, and oculomotor skills, which are “needed for reading and copying accurately and efficiently in the classroom.”

· Teach keyboard skills to facilitate the future use of laptops, computers, or tablet devices for note taking.

· Student to receive teacher’s notes, or power point presentations (also available online, or by email in case they are lost) for test for study purposes.

· School to assign one-to-one-aide for instructional support, task redirection, assignment modifications, and assist with note taking, to help ensure comprehension of verbal instruction and directions, and provide extra help learning academic concepts.

To Address Executive Functioning (organization, prioritizing, focus, transitions/shifting achieving, etc.)

· Parents need all assignments (that need to be done outside school), either in advance, or daily which can either be retrieved from the school website or forwarded by email.

· Lab and math sheets with highlighted instructions, and concrete (visual) examples of how to solve the problems (especially important with Math sheets).

· Confirm assignment instructions in writing with clear, concise, step-by-step instructions

· Signal activity changes with visual and audio cues. Ensure student hears and understands that the activity is changing, and is afforded time needed to shift (complete assignment, problem, notes, etc.)

· Set timer on desk (cell-phone, electronic device, or other timer) to sound/or vibrate 5-10 minutes before an activity ends.

· Provide a visual daily schedule. If the schedule changes for any reason he needs to know as soon as possible and why it will change.  He may need a break to re-adjust.

· Ensure student has your attention before giving instruction—the teacher or a peer need to tap his desk or his shoulder to notify him that instructions are coming and he needs to focus on the teacher.

· No multiple-step or verbal instructions are to be given while student is working on an activity.

· Ensure comprehension/have student paraphrase directions

· Extra supplies, pencils, books, paper should be kept in all student’s classrooms, duplicate books in each room, or home/school as appropriate—punishment should not be dispensed for forgetting materials.

· Shortened Assignments; since assignment completion has been identified as an issue, shortening assignments is appropriate in order for him to access the current curriculum and transition timely to the next class activity.

· Use calculators or computers for computations

· Tardiness is a part of life when dealing with autistic, and other special needs children. Mornings are often unpredictable, and flexibility is a must. Tardiness should not be recorded or counted in the student’s record, and no disciplinary measures taken towards student. After a morning of bundled nerves, frequent bathroom visits, struggling with shoe laces, anxiety, tears, and meltdowns, worrying about being tardy adds to the child’s level of stress and anxiety.

To Address Sensory Needs/OT/Speech

· Frequent Sensory Breaks—“safe spots” for stimming type behaviors (humming, tapping, fidget ball, bouncing etc.) Stimming behaviors are not to be punished, instead redirect child to a different location, or ensure that plenty of opportunity for these sensory breaks occur during the day.

· A “safe place” to relax if something goes wrong in the day should be provided—quiet place to calm down when anxious, either in the room, or student can go to the special education room if he feels more comfortable.

· Student should be allowed to wear ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones to help with focus and auditory processing issues. Especially during periods of reading, and test taking.

· Flexibility to “change his mind” at lunch regarding previously selected meal choices. (Switching from what he pre-ordered for lunch in the morning, or correcting a mistake that he made on his lunch form)

· Occupational Therapy to address, in addition to current goals, fine motor skills—working buttons, zippers, and shoe laces.

· No penalty or punishment should be dispensed for missing work while participating in OT, Speech Therapy, Special Education Services (resource room), or other service based activities outlined in IEP. This includes being required to “make-up” the missed assignments.

Testing Accommodations/Modifications:

· Un-timed tests

· Highlight key directions

· Read test instructions to student, and ensure understanding (have him paraphrase the directions)

· Provide study guides prior to tests

· Test in alternative site—quiet and away from distractions

· Frequent breaks

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.