AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER IN THE SCHOOL
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are served by a team approach where the services of special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, adaptive physical education teachers, paraprofessionals, and an autism coordinator come together to assist the regular educational staff in meeting the learning needs of our students.
Parents are considered a crucial part of the team, both for planning the services to be provided and in continuing the implementation of strategies in the home.
Interventions are provided in the following areas of development that commonly pose difficulties for our students with ASD: communication, social and adaptive skills, academics, and behavior. Additionally, we address sensory issues and life skills from early childhood through high school. The Autism Interdisciplinary Team (AIT) sees each student as a unique individual, and interventions are therefore individualized to meet the specific needs of each student.
Many training sessions and workshops are offered throughout the year and are available to parents, educators, and paraprofessionals. Please contact an AIT team member for more information.
THE ROLE OF THE AUTISM INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAM
The USD 353 Autism Interdisciplinary Team consists of professionals across different areas of education who are specifically trained in the detection, identification, and management of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The diversity of our team allows each area of child development to be thoroughly analyzed so that specifically-tailored interventions can be put into place for each student.
Currently, our AIT consists of USD 353's Director of Special Operations, a Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, School Psychologists, and Special Education Teachers.
SCREENING: Members of the AIT are trained to conduct autism screeners and/or evaluations with students who demonstrate ASD traits. AIT members respond to ASD referrals as part of the General Education Intervention (GEI) process. The AIT collaborates with school personnel, parents/guardians, and outside agencies to determine necessary and personalized interventions for referred students.
OBSERVATIONS: Members of the AIT are available to conduct observations on students with confirmed or suspected ASD, then report to staff with interventions and ideas to reduce disruptive behaviors and make academic activities more relevant and successful.
CONSULTATION: AIT members consult with district staff to provide information and interventions for behaviors consistent with ASD. This may include collecting staff input, suggesting interventions, collecting data, educating staff on ASD characteristics and management, and communicating AIT findings to relevant personnel.
TRAINING: AIT members are available to train individuals, small groups, and large groups on autism characteristics, the latest autism research, best practices, interventions, evaluations, and Individualized Education Plans (IEP's), among other skills.