A newsletter by the ASD Network

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Preparing for Summer Break
by Lee Stickle Director, TASN Autism & Tertiary Behavior Supports 

Ready for a blissful summer?--a summer filled with happy kids who sleep in, get their chores completed, play with others and always seem to find something fun to do? Sure, that is every parent's dream! Actually, it is every child's dream, so what the heck goes wrong? Simple, we expect children (these folks are not miniature adults) to be able to organize and structure their time, engage in meaningful activities and get along with others, without help from adults. Wake up!! That isn't going to happen! Like the photo below, we should not be surprised when a child holding a lighter and a can of hairspray creates a flame thrower! For most children, and especially those with neurologic issues like Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Tourette's Syndrome, it is imperative that we provide the structure they need to be happy and healthy. Is it the school's job to help provide supports for those times outside of the school day or year? Whether or not you think it is your job, it certainly is in, not only the child's best interest, but yours as well. Remember, fatigued people make poor decisions; we start using the reptilian part of our brain to manage our environment. So what can we do?
1. Help parents develop a workable schedule and teach them to stick to the schedule. Make sure they incorporate the Premack Principle (alternating preferred with less preferred activities).
2. Summer, while it should be an enjoyable time, can provide an opportunity for children to learn! Think through the areas that the child routinely struggles and provide parents with some activities to address one or two of the areas. Be sure to also provide parents with 8-10 activities that the child enjoys and has mastered. Research supports providing challenging activities about 20% of the time and independent level activities about 80% of the time. 

3. Encourage parents to find an activity that they can enjoy with their child. Parents of children with disabilities and children with disabilities deserve to have a family life; they deserve to develop parent-child relationships and create memories! 

82 Summer Activities for Families with Special Needs:
10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism: 

Upcoming Summer Trainings

 Structured Teaching:  Two Day Workshop   
6/2 & 6/3  2 Day Structured Teach for Classic Autism
6/7 & 6/8
 2 Day Sturctured Teach for High Functioning Autism/AS
6/14/16 Intro to High Functioning Autism
6/14/16 Intro to Autism
6/15 & 6/16
2 Day Introduction to Verbal Behavior - ABLLS-R
Get Ready, Get Set, Go... Planning Social Skill Instruction for Students with ASD
The end of the year is finally here and most everybody survived. You and your students have grown and learned lots of valuable information that you will use in your future as students and teachers. Be sure to share what you have learned about good behavior management with next year's teacher. 

Sometimes it's a dance to figure out the best way to work with a student that has challenges in your class. You may be one of the few people that has "Figured this kiddo out" and have come to some agreement of what is or isn't acceptable in your class over the year. Just as you would pass reading or math strategies on to the next teacher, pass along your behavior tips as well. Things may seem small and not worth sharing, but if they are working-share them. 

I once had a student that showed significant behavior control problems once I stepped out of the room. I tried several things but usually with the same miserable results. I would return to my room and he would be in some sort of trouble. One day as I was leaving I asked him to come sit at my desk. I told him to be sure and do his work but to also list things (not deal with them) that occurred that he knew I wouldn't be happy with if I had seen them. I came back to a completed assignment and someone that felt important to the class. I never had to do anything with his list just taking it down made him feel important. I didn't know at the time if it would work, but gave it a try. This student worked very hard when he felt important so we used this lesson over and over again with him through the years and shared with all his new teachers.
ASD Network| 402-472-4194| awragge2@unl.edu| www.unl.edu/asdnetwork/

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