Autism Awareness Week!

For Autism Awareness Week, I planned and coordinated 3 different activities for our staff, students and the families of the students.

On the first day, we held a workshop for the families of our students titled, “What Helps Make Your Child Successful.” The speech therapist, occupational therapist and I spoke about ABA, communication, handwriting and sensory integration. The families who attended said it was informative and were glad they attended the workshop.

On the second day, the students in each class performed a song or a skit for the Autism Awareness assembly. One of the teachers created an informational  slideshow about autism. All the staff wore their t-shirts (see below) and the entire school wore blue! It was touching to see the rest of the staff and students in the entire school wore blue.

On the last day, we had a pizza party in appreciation to our staff and students! It was a fun day! Everyone enjoyed it!

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The importance of Token Boards and Behavior Contracts

The importance of Token Boards and Behavior Contracts

Attached is a picture of one of my students looking at his behavior contract. It includes the rules of the classroom ( sit, quiet voice, gentle hands, and listen). It acts as a reminder for the student of the classroom rules. During a lesson or activity, the student earns a check if he follows the classroom rules and earns a reinforcer or a reward of his choice for a limited time of 5 minutes. 

It is successful because it is used consistently and it gives structure to his school day.

Some Facts About Autism from Autism Speaks

Autism Awareness month is quickly approaching in April. Below are some facts from Lisa Goring who is the executive vice president of Programs and Services of AUTISM SPEAKS:

  1. Early identification, diagnosis and intervention can make a significant difference. Autism can be reliably diagnosed by age 2. Yet, the average age of diagnosis is between ages 4 – 5. That’s why raising awareness and understanding the signs of autism are so important. The earlier we can recognize the signs of autism and get support for our loved ones on the spectrum, the better outcomes they will experience throughout their lives.
  2. Everyone has their own unique experience with autism. Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning it affects people in many different ways and in varying degrees. To ensure everyone receives the care and supports they deserve, we must provide the scientific community with tools that will enable them to discover personalized treatments. Autism Speaks is committed to this effort through our groundbreaking MSSNG genomics program, which will lead to a better understanding of autism and new ways to treat its symptoms.
  3. Autism is a lifelong condition. In fact, each year 50,000 children with autism transition to adulthood. Many of them are capable of going on to meaningful employment and living on their own. But they need more employment opportunities and housing and residential supports. Autism Speaks continues to work with public and private partners to ensure people with autism successfully transition to adulthood.
  4. Acceptance is the answer. Together we can make a difference in the lives of people with autism by accepting their many gifts and recognizing the challenges they can face. Autism currently affects 1 in 68 people — these are our loved ones, friends and neighbors. We owe it to them on April 2, and every other day of the year, to make the world a more understanding place. So let’s Light It Up Blue together and shine a global spotlight on autism!

Our Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon With The Families Of Our Students

We just had our Thanksgiving luncheon last month and it usually includes a potluck Thanksgiving luncheon provided by the staff. We usually invite the families of our students.

This year, we took turns saying what we are thankful for AND each class had a performance with a song or reciting poems of what they are thankful for. It was a nice day for us all!

Mud Pudding: Our Halloween Cooking Activity

First, I would like to apologize for my recent absence from my blog. I have been experiencing technical difficulties and have now figured things out. As you might know, I am the Autism Strand Coordinator currently, but my role still includes teaching students as well as supporting the teachers in the autism strand. I teach students from K-8th grade. Last October, we made “Mud Pudding” for a Halloween treat and it was awesome!

Below are pictures that include the Mud Pudding product, the directions and recipe for the students to follow and a picture of a student putting pudding into the tray. The students had a good time and enjoyed the treat!

The materials for the recipe includes: chocolate pudding, graham cookies or chocolate pudding, gummy worms, a spoon and a sandwich bag.

Homemade Game-Like Math worksheets Using Number Dices

The math worksheets below include student goals and directions. There are 4 different math worksheets. They address counting using 1:1 correspondence, adding 1 digit numbers, subtracting 1 digit numbers and multiplying one digit numbers. The materials include number dices and dry eraser markers.

If you have a classroom of students with different cognitive levels, have the students who are cognitively higher work on the addition and subtraction worksheets and the other students can work on counting 1:1 correspondence.

The students enjoy these math worksheets because they are like math games. Duplicate these ideas and put them in page protectors or laminate them.


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A Great Resource and My Current New Temporary Position…

My current new temporary position at the school I am currently employed with is “autistic strand coordinator.” In this role, I am supporting the teachers in my school who teach students with autism, supporting their students and the families of the students. Currently, I am covering for a person on leave but the 6 plus months of experience will be wonderful!

I will be sharing with you my experiences and I will be able to see, observe and work with more students than just my own class as I did in the years past.  Part of my role is to teach “social skills” in 4 classrooms weekly in addition to functional skills lessons and health/hygiene, etc.  Stay tuned for shared lessons, pictures and resources!

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Below is a great resource for families, teachers or anyone who would like support or resources for children with autism:

If you have children in school, have a wonderful, safe and worry free year!