Blog Archives

Peer Interactions of Preschool Children With and Without Hearing Loss

Conclusions: Preschool children with SPHL were excluded from interactions by their playmates. Having age-appropriate language skills did not ensure successful peer interactions. Inclusive preschool programs may consider offering classroom-wide social skills training to enhance interaction opportunities.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

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Teaching Paraprofessionals of Students With Autism to Implement Pivotal Response Treatment in Inclusive School Settings Using a Brief Video Feedback Training Package

Given that students with autism spend the majority of their days in school settings, largely supported by paraprofessionals, it is important that these paraprofessionals receive adequate training. The author investigated a training package consisting of modeling and video-based feedback as a means of enabling paraprofessionals to implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) in the inclusive school setting. A multiple baseline design across four paraprofessional -focal student pairs was employed. The findings suggest that the training package was effective and efficient in improving paraprofessional PRT implementation and levels of involvement as well as social communication target behaviors of the students with autism. Generalization across activities and students, maintenance, and social validity were also assessed.

from Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Assistive technology as an emerging policy and practice: Processes, challenges and future directions

This paper aims to describe the policies and procedures of the use of assistive technology (AT) to support education and social inclusion of children with disabilities in Cyprus, through the investigation of four case studies. The paper initially presents the setting of the use of technology in inclusive and special education, as very recently developed and shaped in the last five years in the Cyprus educational system. Then, each one of the four case studies of pupils, from different educational settings (primary-inclusive education, primary education-special unit, secondary-inclusive education and special school) is discussed. The case studies are presented aligned in the following axes: demographical characteristics, educational setting, type of difficulties and characteristics of disability, procedures of referral and assessment for AT, development and implementation of AT for communication, present and future threats, ethical considerations and challenges. Findings highlighted six areas related to AT in Cyprus, that need further research and development: teacher training and support for system use; consistency of and between people involved (especially educators and therapists); ongoing assessment and follow-up procedures; multidisciplinarity of support teams in and out of school; home use of systems and devices (related to funding); technical support, development and maintenance.

from Technology and Disability

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Educating children on the autism spectrum: preconditions for inclusion and notions of ‘best autism practice’ in the early years

This article draws together findings from expert evidence and empirical studies to identify the preconditions for developing inclusive learning environments for young children on the autism spectrum. It concludes that in order to develop ‘best practice’, practitioners need to adapt interventions to the unique needs of the individual child, work in partnership with parents and other professionals, create enabling environments and be informed by a developmental approach to learning. Practitioners need to have knowledge of the autism spectrum and how it impacts on the child. Careful assessment of the individual child is also crucial. Finally, it is important to ensure that these young children receive direct teaching in communication and language, social understanding and skills, as well as learning with and through peers.

from the British Journal of Special Education

“All Children Can and Should Have the Opportunity to Learn”: General Education Teachers’ Perspectives on Including Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who Require AAC

A qualitative online focus group methodology was used to investigate the experiences of five elementary school teachers (grades K-5) who had included in their general education classrooms children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who required augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Information was obtained from the participants in the following areas: (a) the benefits of educational inclusion, (b) the negative impacts of educational inclusion, (c) the challenges of educational inclusion, (d) the supports for educational inclusion, and (e) recommendations for other teachers and individuals involved in the inclusion process. Participants primarily chose to focus on inclusion as a beneficial practice for all involved, but did describe a few barriers and challenges of inclusion. The results are discussed as they relate to these themes and with reference to published literature. Recommendations for future directions are also presented.

from AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

“All Children Can and Should Have the Opportunity to Learn”: General Education Teachers’ Perspectives on Including Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who Require AAC

A qualitative online focus group methodology was used to investigate the experiences of five elementary school teachers (grades K-5) who had included in their general education classrooms children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who required augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Information was obtained from the participants in the following areas: (a) the benefits of educational inclusion, (b) the negative impacts of educational inclusion, (c) the challenges of educational inclusion, (d) the supports for educational inclusion, and (e) recommendations for other teachers and individuals involved in the inclusion process. Participants primarily chose to focus on inclusion as a beneficial practice for all involved, but did describe a few barriers and challenges of inclusion. The results are discussed as they relate to these themes and with reference to published literature. Recommendations for future directions are also presented.

from AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication