I'm working on putting together a set of activities to teach the process of doing science experiments to my students with autism. I'm so excited to share it with you when it's ready, but in the meantime, I'm sharing my logs for students to use to record their science experiment observations. This set of four science experiment logs can be used for any experiment and are designed for use in general or special education classrooms. It includes options for beginning writers, more advanced writers, as well as non-writing options using pictures or drawings. Click on either the image above or the link below to preview the logs. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Differentiated-Science-Experiment-Logs-for-Any-Experiment-3685299
I also offer science teaching/tutoring to students with autism in their homes in areas east of Dallas in Texas. Click here for the info!
This story was written as a reminder to help students remember to use a strategy for calming down. Before using the story, you will want to identify a strategy for the student to use (such as counting to ten, going to a quiet area of the classroom, etc.) and have taught it to the student in advance. Some resources for this are on page 3 of the story document.
This story can be used to remind the student to use the strategy and how to ask an adult for help when he or she feels angry. There are places in the story to customize it with your child/student's name and photo, as well as with the particular "calm down" strategy(ies) you've taught to the student. The story should be read regularly by the student (if necessary) at times when he or she is not angry. Stories like this should not be used as “punishments” when a student is experiencing angry or "negative" behavior. They are a proactive, preemptive teaching strategy to help students develop strategies they can use to self-calm.
Download the story (in PowerPoint) for free here.
For more information about using social narratives to teach positive behaviors, please check out this book:
Note: If your child or student is experiencing aggressive or self-injurious behavior, please make sure to contact the appropriate licensed professionals, such as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or psychologist/counselor. This story (or the tips in this blog post) are not intended to replace professional advice of any kind.
Here are some examples of things to teach using a great kit called SnapCircuits:
Here are some additional lesson plans and activities on this topic for students with autism. The first one is an interactive book from Curriculum for Autism. I love interactive books because they allow students to read about a topic and respond to questions in the book.
Electricity Safety Activities: These activities teach some basic electricity safety rules for common situations (such as how to safely unplug something). I like to combine these activities with live modeling and supervised practice of the guidelines contained in the activities.
Electricity and Circuits Science Unit 1
Introduce basic concepts about electricity and circuits with this printable, hands-on activity set. Includes background info for teachers, so you can just print the pages and start the lessons with almost no prep! You can also just show the pages on a tablet, computer or phone screen. Each page has everything on it that you need to say and do with your student. Note: these lessons are designed to be used with a kit like SnapCircuits.
A Naturalistic Way to Do ABA "Block Imitation" With Kids' Circuit Building Kits
If your children or students are working on "block imitation" in an ABA program, here's a free extension activity you can use to help generalize the imitation skills in a fun way.
In a cooperative game, the players work together as a team to win the game. Instead of playing against each other with just one winner, the players work together to achieve a common goal. They win or lose as a team. What's great about these types of games is that children can learn to strategize and problem-solve together, building trust, confidence, and a sense of teamwork. I think that these types of games can be very helpful for facilitating real-world social skills in a positive and non-competitive environment.
Some strategies you can use to teach the social skills students will need for participating in games with their peers include:
Here are some of my favorite cooperative games from preschool-age through adulthood. The games are listed in order from youngest-age to teens/adults.
A Few Examples of Games for Teens and Adults
As a teacher, I have some mixed feelings about this idea. I do agree with the overall opinions presented in this article, and think it's important to consider the perspectives of autistic people when we're creating our lesson and intervention plans.
You can read this blog post from "The Mighty" here, and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
This free guide:
You can download the guide here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teaching-Students-with-Autism-to-Use-a-Computer-Mouse-Guide-wOnline-Activities-3562807
It can be tricky to assess the writing level of a student with autism, since standardized testing often doesn't work well for these students. I also don't find it particularly helpful to get too caught up in test scores and such, since they don't often reflect your child's unique gifts and strengths.
However, it can be helpful to know an estimation of your child or student's writing level to help you plan lessons and activities that will be appropriately challenging to help him or her grow. If you're searching for activities on sites like TPT, it may also help you to narrow your search by grade level.
A great resource to help with this is Reading Rockets. On this page, they have writing samples of students in preschool through third grade. You'll want to look at multiple samples from each grade level to see which ones your child's writing matches best with overall.
You may be wondering how to get a writing sample from your child. One option is to give him or her a picture and a blank paper and ask him or her to write a story about the picture or write what's happening in the picture.
Another idea is to have him or her fill in a story graphic organizer to get an idea of what he or she can come up with for a story.
Here are some graphic organizers you can use for a pre-assessment of your child's writing ability. You will want to have your child fill in the form without help. You can point out the description of each section and clarify these descriptions, but don't give your child examples or ideas. It feels weird not to provide help and prompts to help your child learn, but for now, you want to know what your child can do without help.
Whichever method you choose, you'll just want to make sure not to give your child any prompts or help with writing. If my students ask for help, I usually praise them for asking, but gently reassure them that whatever they can write is fine...it's not really a test. It will just help me know what they already know so I can plan what to teach them next.
Once you have an estimation of the grade-level for your child's current writing skills, you can select lesson plans and activities at this level to work on with your child to increase these skills.
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