WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a range of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Individuals with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways than their typically-developing peers.

In 2013, Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) were replaced with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

As of 2014, 1 in 68 people live with an ASD - approximately 1-2% of the words population.

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.

HOW DOES THE AIT DETERMINE EDUCATIONAL AUTISM?

Developmental, social, & medical history

Cognitive & academic patterns

Adaptive functioning

Working memory & processing speed

Rote skills vs. comprehension

Social communication skills

Restrictive/repetitive behaviors

Ability to access the general education curriculum

TEAM MEMBERS AND SCHOOL CONTACTS

WHS

Daniel Farley - Director of Special Programs


WMS

Elissa Hovey - School Psychologist


KENNEDY

Michelle Polvadore - School Psychologist


WASHINGTON

Michelle Polvadore - School Psychologist


EISENHOWER

Rhiannon Nichols - Eisenhower SpEd

A

LINCOLN

Jennifer Lewellen - Lincoln SpEd


Allie Dawson- Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

Amy Harvey - Occupational Therapist (OT)

AUTISM TEAM FORMS

*FOR USD 353 STAFF USE ONLY*

If you have a student who you suspect to be on the autism spectrum, please fill out the appropriate form below and the Autism Interdisciplinary Team representative for your school will be in touch with you.

DOCUMENTED/DIAGNOSED ASD


SUSPECTED & UNDIAGNOSED ASD