Help! Severe Autism and Down's student

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by sammyrams, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    Jan 17, 2011

    I have a 6th grader who has SEVERE autism and Down's. He has very few skills and stims ALLLLLLLL day. He makes noise, rocks back and forth, puts everything in his mouth and chews on it or flaps it back and forth, won't concentrate for more than a few seconds, won't sit in a chair, wants to just get out of the room, falls to the floor and doesn't want to get up, and pees more than any person known to man, he just basically wants to be left alone on the floor all day to stim. I am at my wits end trying things with him. His teachers before me have not had any success either, obviously. They have tried a sensory diet, with no luck either.

    He is almost legally blind due to glaucoma, but he can see things up close. We have started using a large light box to do some of our pre-vocational tasks with him, but he does not want to concentrate for longer than a few seconds. He takes meds for his glaucome but can't take other things that may help him due to those meds.

    Any ideas where to start? I have been looking for ideas online, but have had no luck finding anything remotely close to the severity of his disabilities.

    I would like him to stop stimming as much and chewing on things as a start. I think once he can get past that we might get somewhere.
     
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  3. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Sammyrams,

    Is he motivated by any edible reinforcers? Tangible reinforcers? You are right that taking care of the stims and mouthing will help you get started in teaching him work behaviors.

    If he is motivated by food, you could get pretty far with that. Do you have a dedicated assistant for him? (If so, great! If not, it's not an impossible feat to make strides with him.. :) )

    There is a book called, "A Work in Progress" by Ron Leaf and John McEachin. It's an incredibly "old-fashioned" book but gives you the basics for setting up a behavioral program for kids with severe autism. It teaches you "how to teach" to a kid with such significant disabilities. This book was the backbone to my programming for my severe kids - and I am SO GRATEFUL for it. I had a colleague suggest it to me and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn so much from it. It gives you the structure, sequence, and set up of teaching "pre-work behaviors" and attending skills.

    It also teaches eye contact, how to "take a reinforcer when offered," etc. The BASICS.

    I'd recommend getting that book. You can get it on amazon for like $30. There are similar books in Barnes and Noble - "Behavioral Treatment of Autism."

    I do honestly believe that it's not the best method for everyone (rote response, reinforcing every move, teaching kids to do things only to get m&ms, etc.) HOWEVER for some kids (especially like the one you've described) - it is all they need to "get it" and move forward with "learning how to learn." It's unfortunate that this kid is all the way in middle school and hasn't been figured out yet -s o you definitely have your work cut out for you.

    If you don't have the funds/budget/etc. to purchase this book, I can write out some of the suggestions here and share some materials from my classroom that might help you get on your way.
    Just let me know. :cool:

    Just don't give up on him! He needs you to help him on his merry way.
     
  4. teacher12345

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    Jan 17, 2011

    What about a chewy tube for him to chew on?
     
  5. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Thanks for the responses. He has a chewy tube, but all day he switches from thing to thing including his fingers to chew on. His hands and body are in constant motion. He doesn't wear shoes or socks either. There is some crazy sensory things going on with him that no one has been able to figure out/satisfy.

    He does like food, but only 3 things. He like to only eat them in a certain order too! Food has been tried, but he still won't come to where you want him to work, or do the task at hand even when enticed with his fish crackers. The stimming is a stronger need than the food most of the time.

    I look at him at times and just think, "what is it like to be in your head?" I feel sorry for him and am at a loss as to how to help him. I feel like I am just daycare for him so his parents can get a break. He doesn't sleep at night either, he gets very little sleep and his parents have to be on him at all times cause he gets into everything.

    I have 8 students all with severe/profound disabilities and 3 aides in my class. All of my students need a 1:1, but that is never going to happen, so it is a bit of chaos in my room at times. Next year I will have 10 kids in class and knowing the district, no more help. AHHH!

    I do have that book you mentioned. I just have not had a chance to look through it yet and get some concrete ideas and things in place. I feel like I am busy all day and just don't have a chance to breathe except when it is time for my lunch. I am going to have to crack it open and see what I can figure out for him. But that is going to have to wait a bit because now it is time to get the kids ready for the state assessment. Got to love the state forcing these kids to take an assessment that they cannot even possible complete or understand. Some of them are not even able to hit a switch or use eye gaze to even tell me the answer to the question.

    Sorry for getting off topic. :)
     
  6. teacher12345

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Just throwing out some ideas here:

    has a weighted vest being tried?
    a dizzy disc seat cussion to provide movement when seated in chair
    a rocking chair

    Are there any objects/characters that he likes?
    maybe rewarding him with a stimulating sensory toy/item?
    some ideas to try:
    A toy that dances/and sings when you press a button
    A video
    A light up toy (like a spectra light spinner)
    A toy that moves (zhu zhu pet etc.)
    Computer activity
     
  7. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    Jan 17, 2011

    We have tried the vest, he whips it right off. He won't tolerate anything on a chair, and he pushes the rocking chair occasionally but won't sit in it. Apparently he used to use one, not any more.

    It is challenging to find something that he will stick with and like. He will be interested in the computer one day, then not care in the least bit the next. His focus really depends on his sleep the night before. With him not sleeping more than a few hours each night, he is always pretty resistant. Plus I have another student who we have that is challenging that likes the same things character and toy wise. Anytime we bring something out she launches from where ever she is to get it and steal it away. She is like a bull in a china shop and run/walks over anything in her path to get what she wants. She is super strong too. We have really been trying to not introduce any toylike items around her, which makes it difficult to work with other kids. She is so volitile that I have to do it since we have her calmed down and actually working most of the day, unlike when I got her in 6th grade. She would scream and bite her fingers all day, as well as run from the room at any given chance she gets.
     
  8. teacher12345

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Hmmmm.... trying to think of other sensory ideas, here is what I came up with:
    sitting on a ball or ball chair
    a teacher chair that can give him some movement, (spinning, side to side motion.)
    would he keep a weighted lap pad on his lap while sitting down? I am just thinking maybe that would be enough to make his body feel grounded and given the input that way?
     
  9. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    He does like to spin in the teacher chairs, but everytime he is on one, he pees on it! LOL! So I have banned him from them. No weighted pads on lap either. We have the ball chair and he has no interest. I swear this kiddo is an anomoly. I feel like I am shooting down everything, but he really will not respond to much. The only thing we are having any success with is with the light box and placing his work on it. This is if we can get him to sit down in the desk to work. When he is there he will need something in his hands to stim with or he won't work at all, but even then he doesn't really work cause he is in stim land.

    I really want to help him, but he is just a sensory mess and I nor the OT can figure this out.
     
  10. teacher12345

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Hmmmmm....... If the teacher's chair works, can you reward him for sitting in it without peeing? starting by sitting in it for 5 seconds, then a reward, then 10 etc., until you can get up to a desirable amount of time to complete a work task while sitting in the chair?
     
  11. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    Jan 17, 2011

    We might be able to do that if we time taking him to the bathroom appropriately. He goes every hour and still pees thru his pull ups once or twice a day.
     
  12. teacher12345

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    Also just in case he was to pee while sitting in it could you cover it with plastic that way if he pees in it you just have to take off the plastic and put fresh plastic on it.
     
  13. sammyrams

    sammyrams Companion

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    Jan 20, 2011

    Like big shower caps!! Good idea!
     
  14. teacher12345

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    or if you can't find big shower caps, I was even thinking like a disposable cheap plastic table cloth (I think you can buy it buy the roll?) and then just put it on the seat of the chair and then tape it at the bottom with masking tape so that it stays, but so that it can still come off to be changed when needed.

    Also is there a way to tighten the chair so that it cannot spin all of the way around? so that he is not spinning so hard that he is not working KWIM? just enough to give him a little bit of side to side (half spin type motion) motion.
     
  15. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    What does he do at home?
    Do they have any suggestions on things that captivate his attention?
     
  16. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    videos, sensory toys, computer, anything?
     

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