A newsletter by the ASD Network

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Expanding the World Through
Social Development:
Your "Wh" Questions 

by Cara Woundy, Autism Specialist Colorado Department of Education

Impairments in social communication and social interaction, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities, are hallmark characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This webinar series takes a deeper look into the social domain by answering the WHY, WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW of social-skills development.

WHY: Good social skills are critical to life success. Social difficulty often proves the biggest obstacle faced by individuals with ASD in a work environment. As educators, our role is to prepare students for the future. Social-skills instruction should be taught much like we teach reading or math - on a daily basis.

WHO: Three types of communicators - the early learner, the emerging social communicator, and the social communicator - will be reviewed. Each of these learning profiles will be the topic of one webinar in the series.

WHAT: Appropriate assessments for each type of learner will be identified so that a complete profile of the student's social skills can be determined.

WHERE: While social-skills groups are very valuable for instruction, they will represent only one component of social-skills intervention. We will provide a variety of ideas for where intervention can happen throughout the day.

WHEN: Social-skills intervention can be very difficult for students with Autism. We need to consider the optimal conditions for teaching these skills. Once we determine these, interventions can be planned throughout the day.

HOW: Interventions specific to each type of communicator will be provided.
We hope you will join us For Expanding the World Through Social Development: Your "Wh" questions!

Upcoming October Trainings

Teaching Students with Autism and High Functioning Autism Skills for the Real World (ESU 3 Omaha) 
Building a Solid Foundation with my Para:  Making a Difference in the Classroom (ESU 7 Columbus) 
Emerging Social Communicators  (Tri-State Webinar online) 
Effective Practicies for Specials Teachers:  Engaging Students with ASD in Specials (ESU 10 Kearney & Distance to ESU 11 and 16- North Platte) 
Conversational Social Communicators (Tri-State Webinar online) 
Tools for Teachers (ESU 8 Neligh) 
How to Teach Play Scripts (ESU 7 Columbus) 
Executive Functioning:  An Overview (Tri-State Webinar online) 
2 Day- Advanced Verbal Behavior using the ABLLS-R in Structured and Natural Environments (Nebraska Children's Home Omaha)

Building Social Competency  

by Pam Scharping, M.Ed., BCBA

Social Competency is the ability to interact successfully with others in a variety of social situations.  The individual with social competency reads the social environment and adjusts their behavior based on the social situation.  Building social competency is imperative in developing relationships and maintaining employment. 

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) developed an outstanding FREE 5-part video series on how to attain Social Competency.  Each video is approximately 20-30 minutes and covers 1.) An Overview of Social Competency, 2) Steps to Assess Social Competency which includes examples of assessment instruments from early childhood up to adulthood and different observational methods (naturalistic vs. systematic),
3.) Developmental stages of play, and Tips for Teaching Play and Friendship, 4.) Proactive Strategies to teach social competency such as Social Narratives, Power Cards, Social StoriesTM, Video modeling and Reactive Strategies to address social errors such as Social Autopsies, Comic Strip ConversationsTM, Stress Thermometers, and SOCCSS (Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching).  Descriptive teaching steps, material and video examples are provided for each strategy.  Empirical support for these strategies is provided with citations and resource links. 

After deciding the appropriate social competency strategy, remember the following steps when setting up a program:
  1. Assess the behavior:  A great intervention begins with assessment.  Identify the child's strengths as well as the areas of need.  Rating scales and observation are ways to assess behavior.
  2. Define the behavior so that it is observable and measurable.
  3. Collect baseline data on at least three occasions over three to five days to identify the baseline skills of the learner before beginning the intervention.
  4. Match the intervention to the area of skill deficit.  When writing a program, break the behavior down into individual parts and teach each step. Teach often within the natural setting.
  5. Provide prompts as needed in order to ensure that the child continues to be successful.
  6. REINFORCE the desired behavior! New skills may need more frequent reinforcement and prompting.  Fade both as the skill is mastered.
  7. Monitor learning progress:  Collect data on the target behavior and review the data regularly.  Use data to inform instructional decisions.
  8. Generalize the target behavior to other settings and with other adults/peers. 
  9. After the skill is mastered, conduct maintenance checks periodically and reintroduce faded supports if needed.
Save the Date:   ASD Network State Conference April 7th and 8th, 2016
Embassy Suites, La Vista
ASD Network| 402-472-4194| awragge2@unl.edu| www.unl.edu/asdnetwork/

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