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Archived News: Across Virginia
November 2013

Wise County Public Schools Share Their November “Autism Tip of the Month!”

The “Wise County Autism Tip of the Month” is one of many ongoing products that the Wise County Autism Services Improvement Team (ASIT) has developed with the goal of systems-change for all students with ASD in their division. This monthly tip is sent by the team to all school administrators and special education teachers. For the month of November, the division’s autism coaches sent out a summary of some of the most important things that they have learned along the intensive systems-change journey that started a little over two years ago with the VCU-ACE Technical Assistance grant. Thank you Wise County Public Schools for sharing your November “Tip of the Month!”

“The monthly tip for November is actually a reflection on the ‘Top Fifteen’ most important things we have learned since we began our journey to improve services to students with autism a little over two years ago. Along the way, we have discovered that all of our students have benefited from the sharpening of our skills. This list was created by the autism coaches.
1. The first visual support that should be considered is the arrangement of the room. Make sure that physical boundaries are clear to support structure.
2. Everyone needs a schedule. This is a life skill.
3. Before prompting, have a plan for fading prompts.
4. Be quiet! Verbal prompts are the most difficult to fade. Choose other options when appropriate and avoid pairing verbal prompts with other prompts.
5. Teach social skills lessons with the end in mind. Plan the teaching of social skills just as you would an academic area. Look at the long range goal; do a task analysis of what you need to get there; teach each step or skill required systematically; and finally, bring them together and help your student meet his/her goal.
6. All goals should include a baseline, if progress is to be measured.
7. Data should drive all of our decisions.
8. “A picture speaks a thousand words,” so graph it.
9. When teaching communication, begin with mands (requests.)
10. The VB-MAPP is an awesome tool for assessing the communication skills of our students and provides a road map for teaching new skills.
11. Errorless teaching works and it can be implemented in all settings.
12. Transition begins with the first IEP.
13. Literacy is for everyone.
14. Reinforcement is a powerful force that is always at work (either for us or against us.) Make it work for you.
15. Teaming and systematic planning are essential to effectively addressing the learning and behavioral needs of our students.

Thank you for working hard to make sure our kids have the best!!!!!”


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