RALLEIA EXPERIMENTAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Teacher: Konstantina Anagnostopoulou
Autism - Introduction
Autism is like moving sand. Teachers are called to be informed and using the appropriate techniques to be prepared to face a possible crisis. The daily recording of the teacher's observations in a diary, helps him understand the stimuli that affect the pupil with autism, both in the classroom and during breaks.
Visualization helps the student to better understand the lesson and the use of images helps him understand more information in general. The lesson where technology, diagrams/ charts, targeted activities with colors and crafts are used, help the autistic pupil deepen into the cognitive subjects.
It is important for teachers to maintain a constant routine so that the student feels safe. He needs a calm environment that does not forcing him to deal with any kind of disturbance in his everyday life.
People with autism have difficulty in expressing their feelings. Their social communication and skills are developed and can be cultivated mainly through “social stories”, “the pyramid of behavior” and “the thermometer of emotions” so that we could teach them the fluctuations of emotions. The aim is to include pupils with autism into the class/school community. Many of the techniques mentioned also help neurotic students.
Subject : Mathematics-Multiplication Tables
The child with autism understands, assimilates in a more effective way through visualization. Multiplication was taught as a visual color game. (picture 1)
[picture 1 the red (digit is multiplied) with the red (digit)
The red with red
The green with red
And green with green]
Subject : History
The approach of History (3rd grade) was mainly based on the interdisciplinary approach. The connection of history lessons with other subjects such as the Study of the Environment, Language and Art helped the autistic child to understand the lesson of history better. Fabricating envelopes including important sentences, key phrases and the visualization of the lesson through pictures, paintings that were placed on the map used in the History lesson helped the autistic child develop effective techniques so as to understand the module that he was being taught. (picture 2)
Subject : Greek language
Generally, there is a weakness in autistic children in the proper use of speech and expression of what they want using the appropriate type of verb, or using the correct order (spatio-temporal). What helps them the most is to be given clear instructions by the teacher to anything they are asked to. In the lesson of written speech production, the proper formation of each paragraph, combined with indicative phrases / words, leads the autistic student to develop written text with enriched vocabulary and structured content. (picture 3) In picture 3 we ask the autistic student to describe the neighborhood where he lives. We also give him information/instructions about what each paragraph could include.
The technique of the turtle (to avoid anger-tension)
The technique of “Alternative Reaction” or “Technique of the Little Turtle” belongs to the psychological discipline of Cognitive-Behaviorism and is considered to be effective for teaching anger and aggression control in young children.
The child listens to the story of the little turtle from the adult: "The little tortoise, every time she went to school, was in a fight with the other little turtles who were torturing her. One day she met the big turtle, who told her that the answer to her problem was her carapace. He advised her to hide her head into her carapace every time he was angry and count to ten until she felt better. The little tortoise took the turtle's advice, and everything got better for her."
When the child with autism reads or listens to this story, then he is taught alternative reactions by his tutor that he himself will apply to situations where he or she feels like that particular turtle.
So the child slowly conquers the ability to cope with stressful, conflict situations and tension, as well as to manage his negative emotions like fear, anger and frustration. (picture 4)
One of the basic difficulties of children in the Autistic spectrum is in the field of Social Comprehension. They fail to think and act appropriately in order to achieve social interaction with others and to establish relationships with classmates or other people. That's why we're working with emotions. Our goal is for the autistic child to gain empathy and to be able to understand how other people feel.
"How do you feel?" Emotions (happy, sad, angry, afraid, agitated, shy, surprised)
The awareness and understanding of what they think, what they feel and what others are doing is important for the person's effectiveness in the social environment. (picture 5)
[ Picture 5 Left column: Happy, Angry, Sneaky, Shy, Rude/ Right column: Sad, Scared, Surprised, Agitated, Sleepy]
"My classmates' feelings" (picture 6)
"Are they happy or sad with my behavior?"
A teacher talks with the child with autism.
Our classroom’s slogan was "All for One and One for All." All the children in the classroom functioned as a group, and when a child faced a problem, the other children tried to help him in order to resolve that problem. (picture 7)
[ the classroom’s team. Because friendship means: All for one and one for all!!]
The pyramid of behavior is divided into three parts. The basis of the pyramid (the green part) includes logical / friendly behaviors. The middle part of the figure (i.e. the yellow part) encompasses strange behaviors, while the top of the pyramid (the red part) refers to dangerous behaviors.
When a pupil with autism acts kindly to his classmates and follows the rules of the class, we should reward him by recording his positive actions at the base of the pyramid.
By the same pattern, we record-visualize the strange and dangerous behaviors that he may possibly have, mainly towards his classmates. These behaviors are mainly observed regarding the non-management of his anger explosion. (picture 8)
The Thermometer of Emotions
In the thermometer of emotions the teacher discusses with the autistic child by asking him the appropriate questions, depending on the situation the student is.
- the blue color is reported when the pupil is in the resting state
- the green color is reported when he/she is in the state of discomfort
- the yellow color in the state of irritation
- the red color in the state of anger.
The questions that the child with autism is asked to answer according to the situation in which he is at the time are: "How do I feel that particular feeling?", "What can I do?", "How do I look?", "What can the others do?". (picture 9)
Wheel of problem solving
In cases that a pupil with autism has difficulty in solving a problem, he chooses one of the following techniques to help him / her. The aim is for the autistic pupil to start solving his problems on his own.
The main question of the wheel is: "What can I do?" (student’s thought)
The techniques proposed are:
- I will wait and calm down
-To move away and forget it
-To say "stop"
-To do another activity
- To do something that makes me feel good
-To say how I feel
- To apologize
-To discuss it
- To ignore it (picture 10)
The Social Story
Social stories aim not only at developing appropriate social skills in people with autism but also at developing social comprehension in them.
This particular social story refers to the preparation of the pupil with autism for the following school year, when he will be with another class teacher
"I'm Jason and I’ m finishing the 4th Grade. In the 3rd and 4th Grades, my class teacher was Mrs. Konstantina, who kept me close to her, watched me and helped me with everything I needed."