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Case Study, Katie Andrisano, 5-3-15

My child is a 16 year old male with classic autism. He comes from a middle class white
family. Children with this disorder can come from any background as the cause of this
socially regressive disease is not known and is prevalent in every culture. Though there is a
genetic element, children whose siblings and parents and grandparents do not possess the
disease can have it. It can be diagnosed as early as 1-3 years. The earlier the therapy for this
disorder starts the more chance the child will have of functioning.
Due to the help of his family and therapists my child is able to form thoughts and
sentences and follow cues for appropriate conversation like a nod when it is his turn to speak.
Although he tends to repeat himself often and has trouble forming some words and sentences
he is higher functioning. He does not like to work with others. My goal as a teacher is to
incite a situation where he can learn to work well with his classmates and partners. His
intelligence is in the range of a 70 IQ with low written and verbal skills (which is where a
recent study concluded 55% of those with ASDs fall) which makes him intellectually
disabled but he can adapt to environments.
He can be aggressive but not in a violent manner. He will often try to hug myself and the
school aide or poke us hard on the back or sides when he needs something or wants attention.
His interests are extremely limited and it is hard to get him to work and read. Often we read out
loud and his parents work with him at home. His favorite thing is wrestling and he also loves
watching baseball sometimes. For me this is an advantage because I will make activities like
sports or games to garner his interest.
With this type of student one should definitely maintain an authoritative if not somewhat
authoritarian attitude because they can be aggressive and misbehave in unexpected ways like
sudden outbursts or refusals. Students with autism can become violent and may yell profane
things or insight misbehaviors on the part of the other students. To have a clam soothing yet
focused room is important, somewhere where the students feel comfortable and safe. It is also
important to focus on written and verbal communication goals and positively reinforce and
modify behavior especially using non-verbal cues such as gestures. Punishment like time out or
removal of a favorite item will be necessary and rewards for good behavior will help keep the
student motivated (i.e. points, stickers, and computer time). Constant interaction, refocusing,
circulation and scaffolding likely with the help of a classroom aid will be needed. Projects should
be worked on during class and deadlines will likely need to be extended what matters is the
progress and following though to the end.
One research study I found suggested that using video modeling as a way to teach
communication skills to children with autism was effective; even when they were instructed
to discuss topics that had not been covered by the examples. My idea would be to use this to
create a reading review game for the students (assuming this would be a small Special Ed.
Classroom of 6-8 kids). I would use game shows as a way to model the reading review game
for their mid or final projects or tests. I would then partner them up and ask them questions.
After discussing it with their partners they would write their answers down then hold them up
to show me after a fixed interval of time. Each group would receive points for the correct

answer and by the end of the review if they had accumulated so many points all together they
would get a reward (this would be small like a snack for working together as a class). Then,
the individual team with the most points would get t-shirts. Im still working this all out but it
would be a fun way for them to compete, communicate, feel motivated to learn the material
and rely on each other. I noticed when volunteering at Special Olympics NJ that sports and
competition (and a little bit of trash talk) made the players willing to learn. Some had
practiced every day for weeks.
My student particularly would get to work on his discussion, writing and communication
skills while having fun. We would deduct points for bad or inappropriate behaviors and the
kids would have to come to school prepared or we would not play. I might get a few other
teachers to help me demonstrate before we play if necessary. I would like to revise it in the
future to include some type of kinesthetic element. Children with attention and behavioral
issues often respond better to short bursts of activity. I would assess and score each group
based on their teamwork, prep, self-control, and knowledge.
This would require help from his family as well. One of the biggest factors I think can be
overlooked in special education is the relationship and communication you have with the
family because all the behaviors they are taught in class may not matter if nobody reinforces
it at home. For this reason I send out quarterly reports on my child and his progress. I also
send the material, homework requirements and any work I think is worthy of praise or what
he may need to work on home with these reports. I am available for meetings and phone calls
as requested. Ultimately, I hope to see my child develop socially make friends and take part
in group activities.