“Autism is a shared disability”. Interview with Dr. Amy Laurent, co-author of the SCERTS framework for intervention. In this episode, Amy speaks about ways in which to use individuals strengths to propel them forward. She asks communication partners to take responsibility for the part they play in any interaction. By doing so, individuals are empowered to become the best versions of themselves.
Interview with Dr. Jacquelyn Fede, developmental psychologist and Ted Talk co-presenter for ‘Compliance is not the Goal’. She shares her autism story, identified as autistic in 2017. She offers tips and strategies on what she finds helpful navigating her autism journey.
The Energy Meter is designed to help conversational partners reflect on their own arousal states in relation to the environment. The basic Energy Meter uses two descriptors to help individuals identify their own internal energy and the energy expectation for the activity. The first descriptor is meant to be what it “feels like” while the second is more reflective of “what it looks like.” This type of support, free of emotional labels, is particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with emotional identification and expression but are working to understand the concepts of regulation and how to adjust their energy level to successfully engage in activities. This support can be used by an individual, but can also be used interactively and dynamically by partners to provide clear visual feedback related to “Energy Needed” to match an activity and “My Energy” where the individual is operating. Remember if there is a mismatch in Energy, a regulatory strategy will be needed! The second page of the support provides general strategies for increasing and decreasing energy levels! In addition, three adaptions are included in the combined support to show how the support might be customized for students incorporating 5th grade lingo or their areas of special interest (e.g., Pokemon and the periodic table) The video tutorial describes the design and use of the support, as well as customizing options.
MR 4.5 Shares intentions for joint attention (a. comments on immediate events; c. requests information about immediate events; d. expresses feelings or opinions)
SR 4.3 Uses self-monitoring and self-talk to guide behavior
SR 5.3 Uses metacognitive strategies to regulate arousal level in new and changing situations
IS 1.6 Provides information or assistance to regulate state
IS 5.3 Provides guidance and feedback as needed for success in activities
LS 2.4 Uses augmentative communication support to enhance child’s emotional regulation
Free Visual Support: Snack Server (PDF)
When we are hungry, it can be hard to focus on others. Yet, snack and meals are wonderful opportunities for social engagement. Snack Server is a visual support designed for Language Partners. The structure creates predictable and meaningful roles within the context of getting ready to eat, while also supporting the development of socially focused vocabulary. Snack Server highlights two roles using word combinations to guide participation- the “giver” of the snack and the “taker.” The support is designed for users to fill in the red squares with with photos of those filling the roles. See video for further discussion and possible modifications.
JA 6.2 – Comments on action or activity
SU 5.6- Uses variety of relational meanings in word combinations
IS 6.2 – Adjusts language complexity to child’s developmental level
LS 2.1- Uses augmentative support to enhance child’s communication and expressive language.
Free Visual Support: Decision Making Tree for Dealing with Problems (PDF)
When arousal levels increase, often times, creative problem solving abilities go out the window. The Decision Making Tree for Dealing with Problems is designed to lighten the burden of needing to generate solutions in the moment for Conversational Partners. This support requires pre-teaching in order for it to be useful and effective when a student is actually confronted with a problem. As with any complex support, in addition to pre-teaching, the use of modeling as well as initial mutual regulatory support is suggested. Remember new self-regulatory skills are often most effectively learned through successful mutual regulatory assistance. The structure of this support can be adapted for a wide range of possibilities. So, feel free to be creative and individualize the strategies.
Free Visual Support: The Daily Brain (PDF)
It’s difficult to rank any given day on a simple descriptive scale of good to bad or on a numerical scale of 1 to 5. However, many times that is just what our students are asked to do. These scales fail to capture the complexity of a day and the variability that is inevitable across multiple hours. The Daily Brain is a tool that is designed to help conversational students be thoughtful and reflect on how they experience and navigate their day according to several dimensions, using sliding scales. It can be used at the end of a single day or at multiple points during that day. The video briefly discusses possible ways to introduce and use The Daily Brain.
Free Visual Support: Fidgets in the Classroom (PDF)
Fidgets are a tool for self-regulation. Just like many other regulatory tools, students need to be taught how to use them. Fidgets in the Classroom provides practical information for school staff seeking to help students use fidgets effectively in the classroom to support active engagement and learning. This support can be used for direct teaching about fidgets and can also be used as a visual reminder in the classroom. The video briefly discusses the use of fidgets as learning tools.
Free Visual Support: Class Ready? Check in! (PDF)
Part of helping students to learn how to independently use meta-cognitive strategies for self-regulation is supporting their ability to identify their own emotional/arousal state. Scheduling a consistent time to “check in” with how one is feeling provides the structure and repetition needed to start to build the capacity. This tool was created for a student to use at the beginning of each class block. It is provided here in .pdf format for printing, but can also be made into a lock screen photo on an iPad or other device for quick access. Once the student identifies how “ready” they are to learn they are encouraged to consult the “what to do” menu in the appropriate box and to choose a regulating strategy. The video tutorial talks briefly about the design of the support and ways to individualize it.
Free Visual Support: Good Guy (PDF)
Many older individuals on the spectrum require support to understand social expectations and situations. Using a combination of Social Articles written at the appropriate developmental level and visual supports (e.g., flow charts) can be a powerful tool. Many of us know young adults with ASD who often look to others for validation of their behavior. They are frequently preoccupied with doing “the right thing” or a “good job.” This focus can often interfere with their participation in ongoing activities and interactions, especially if they are in complex social environments. Here is one example of a combination support that is helping a young adult shift his language from talking about himself as a “boy” to a more age-appropriate term, “guy,” and also helping him start to be able to self-monitor his behavior and provide his own validation. The video tutorial talks briefly about the design of the support and the rationale for the combination of supports.
Free Visual Support: The Regulator (PDF)
The Regulator is designed to help conversational individuals explore sensory motor strategies that may be useful for self regulation. As the individuals trial the listed sensory-motor strategies, partners can use the support to facilitate discussions related to how the strategy makes the individuals feel (excit-o-meter), as well as to the degree the individual lies it and is likely to use it (like-o-meter). Answers recorded on the Regulator can then be utilized to discuss when and where preferred sensory-motor strategies may be most useful to the individual in the future. The video provides a brief overview of the support.