High Functioning Autism: Behavioral, Academic, and Language Perspectives
Thank you to our moderator, Courtney Evenchik, MA. NCSP and our panelists:
Dr. Arthur Lavin, MD.
Anna Fredman, MS. CCC-SLP
Nikki Jaras, MS., BCBA COBA
Favia Becker, Psy.S., NCSP
In our last post we spoke about the pediatrician’s role in helping manage your child’s care. In this article we will discuss what your School Psychologist can do to help if your child is diagnosed with ASD.
Favia Becker is one of A+ Solution’s School Psychologists. She followed Dr. Lavin’s remarks with important information for parents on what they can expect from their child’s School Psychologist.
Favia explained that we are seeing more children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in schools. One of the reasons is that certain educational services for students with disabilities are linked to a diagnosis of ASD. Children with ASD are often able to access funding for educational and therapeutic services.
School Psychologists play a large role in overseeing the evaluation process of children with ASD. At least in Ohio, they generally do not provide direct services but act more as consultants. Favia calls herself a detective, problem solver and a brain stormer. All through the evaluation process she works to gather information from the child, the parents, teachers, SLP’s, OT’s and other health professionals involved in the assessment.
Favia stressed that the evaluation is a very specific process to assess a child’s unique social, language, academic, motor and classroom needs. It is imperative that we do not lump children into one classroom, we want to individualize their intervention and the assessment should reflect this approach.
After the assessment is completed, she suggests a two tier approach, focusing on both the instructional environment and the student. She asks:
What can I do to help the teacher teach this child?
What can I do to help the child learn?
She works to find the best strategies and tools for both the teacher and the child through trial and error. For example if a child has difficulty with attention, she will recommend that the teacher give the child more verbal cueing and prompting, walk around the room and use proximity, tap the child on the shoulder or provide other nonverbal cues and help them get back to the task at hand.
For children with attention difficulties she will recommend that they avoid being seated near the pencil sharpener or at the door of the classroom where there is a lot of foot traffic.
Once the environmental modifications, teaching strategies and interventions are in place, school psychologists often are not called back in until those strategies disintegrate; they are nor are no longer working.
Favia encouraged parents by letting them know that many children with High Functioning ASD who receive intense early intervention often learn skills and strategies they can generalize to a typical classroom setting. These students may transfer into Middle School and High School with minimal support, requiring only accommodations, and often do very well there.
Want to learn more?
Want to learn more? Schedule an appointment with A+ Solution’s highly skilled therapists:
Give us a call at 216-896-0111