Here are the 2nd set of questions from my participants in Jakarta. It was interesting to learn what they were thinking.
1)What kind of activities should be planned for 17 to 20 year olds who never have a great deal of treatment early? Once again this depends upon the level of communication, behavior, sensory challenge, cognition and social skills. All students should receive a program that addresses independent living skills, social skills, leisure skills, pre-vocational skills, communication skills and community access. Lower cognitive students need it earlier. The education system needs to help them prepare to learn how to live, work and recreate in their own communities.
2)How does one implement a curriculum for a non-verbal child? We all communicate differently. Some through gestures, some pictures, some sign and now many through technology. The teacher needs to adapt the curriculum based on the form of communication system the student has or is developing. Signs need to be taught. Pictures need to be arranged for easy access for responding and technology needs to be programed. Sometimes an extra staff person is needed to help support these children so their communication system can be created and implemented. Non-verbal children are not deaf!!! They hear. They just need a way to respond and we need to structure teaching allowing them to access their own communication systems.
3)What types of activities should be taught to non-verbal children? All (social skills, pre-vocational skills, communication skills, skills of daily living, hygiene, academics, leisure, community access, academics)
4)How do we improve communication skills? There are many activities that can be done to improve the communication skills of our students. Here are only a few. Read to them and take them on field trips to museums, art galleries, parks, hikes, bike rides etc. Point out new objects and information. Work on wh questions with them (who, what, where, why, when and how). Have them problem solve more? Have them make up shopping lists, find things in stores and pay for things at the market. Have them read recipes and prepare meals. They will learn new words in context. Teach them to greet others, ask questions and have a conversation. When they read have them underline the words they do not know. They discuss meanings of words with them. Teach them to use email and write letters to family members. Have them call friends and family on phones and ask questions. Take them to the library and have them ask where something is located.
5)School learning and home learning is needed. Parents need to stop thinking and doing for their sons or daughters. Learning should continue at home. They should have jobs around the house. They should help shop and meal plan. They should clean their rooms, bath, brush teeth, comb hair, do their laundry and dress themselves. They should set the table, load a dishwasher, vacuum, sweep, dust, and mop. Skills of daily living are very important to becoming independent and learning to problem solve. Parents should get them into the community to see new places and learn new words and rules for engaging in the places they visit. Perhaps the teacher can send home some small assignments at first. A special place set up to do homework is needed.
6)How do we teach children with autism to have a conversation in English…. First make sure they can speak their regular language well. Make sure they are interested in learning English. Then make it fun!!!!. Teach it in context. When you shop, name things in native language and then English. Find their interests and have a game of finding out the name of their interest in English. Once they are learning then perhaps get a tutor to work with them privately, slowly.
7)How do we decrease anxiety for children with ASD in the classroom? There needs to be a schedule visually on his/her desk. They need the right seat. Maybe on the end not in the middle of everyone. Look at the noise levels in the classroom. Look at the visual distractions. Don’t have too many transitions. Let them know when things are going to change, before they change. Let them go first to recess or last or stay inside away from crowds if they like. Give directions visually and verbally. Make sure they understand your directions. Maybe have someone there to help them in the classroom. Give them frequent breaks. Connect with the parents often and have them go over reading assignments the night before. Have parents help make sure they have all the things they need each day for school. Help them keep their space organized. Make sure there is not too much on the page of work they have to do. Keep it simple. Help them get started. Sometimes they get stuck. Give warnings before the end of the assignment time. Let them have more time if needed.
8)Is there an effect of diet or supplements? We all know that less sugar is always best. Less caffeine is best as well. We know some children are sensitive to gluten or casein. This should be tested. We know that they need good oils (not corn oil). Seeking knowledgeable help in this area is always a good thing. All children are different. Not one supplement works for all.
9)How can you prepare your child to go back to school after a long holiday? Put up a calendar. Show him/her visually how the days are moving forward with an X. Put a big mark on the day he/she returns to school. Ask the teacher for some repeat work that your son/daughter could do over the break. Set up a routine at home during the break with school type activities. Read together, visit interesting places, and practice what he/she has learned just prior to the holiday.