Planning for a Successful Day: The Comprehensive Autism Planning System
Multidisciplinary teams, including parents, spend a significant amount of time on students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), identifying their present level of performance as well as goals and objectives that will help them to be successful in school. However, even though student outcomes are delineated, transfer to a student’s daily program is often challenging. For example, if a student’s IEP indicates that she needs sensory input, educators, in particular general educators, often do not know what type of support should be provided and when it should occur. The same child may also need a choice board or visual schedule to enhance performance and daily functioning. Even though they may be integral to a child’s success, these accommodations may not be listed on the IEP. Failure to use them can result in frustration for both the teacher and the child, limitations in accessing the general education curriculum or severe behavior challenges.
When planning programs for children and youth, it is essential that all education professionals understand how and when to implement instructional recommendations and supports. This is particularly important for students with Asperger Syndrome (AS) because they require consistency, preparation for events prior to their occurrence and supports that match their learning style (typically visual).
There is another important consideration that is often not addressed: Supports must be created so that they are compatible not only with the child’s needs, but also with the environment. For example, if a child sits at a desk most of the time during a class, a visual support that is Velcroed® to the desk or to a notebook may be useful. But if the child moves frequently during class, she may need a visual support that moves with her or is accessible from all parts of the classroom.
It is critical that supports be planned by and communicated to all teachers who work with students with AS. This will ensure that the supports match the student’s environment and that education professionals know when and where they are to be used during the school day.
Reprinted with the permission of the Autism Society.
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