I work with students who have an educational diagnosis on the autism spectrum. It manifests itself in the school setting as social understanding, social thinking, and interpreting social information difficulties. Students often have difficulties taking other people’s perspective and often miss/misinterpret important verbal and nonverbal social cues. Another difficulty many students on the spectrum face is being able to regulate their sensory needs. The majority of my students have average to above average intelligence and, therefore, the lessons which I focus my teaching on are social lessons and self-regulation strategies. There are no national or state standards in the area for social emotional learning and therefore, I use the social emotional standards created by District 287.
Many of the lessons based on these standards focus on social skills we notice students repeatedly missing; talking only on their areas of interest, not asking follow up questions, misunderstanding nonverbal cues like winking, etc. The lessons that are the most beneficial for individual students are lessons that focus around social mistakes they have made within the classroom. The self-regulation strategies I teach help the students regulate their bodies so they are able to stay in class and feel calm and focused. Many of these social moments slip by without me being able to create a lesson around it or come up with a plan for a student. Sometimes a student will leave the general education classroom as an escape without us knowing and being able to follow up with the student. I believe much of this is due to the lack of processes I have created for communication between the general education teachers and myself. Therefore, I created a Google form to hopefully help create more open lines of communication.
The teacher will be given options for filling out the form: To communicate that the student left class or if an unexpected behavior was observed.
The form is two fold, one page allows teachers and support staff to communicate if the student has left class either to get work done or as a possible reason of escape. The second page allows teachers to report unexpected behaviors they feel need to be reported and followed up on. These behaviors can be ones the teacher feels there needs to be an immediate follow-up on, or a recurrent behavior that is beginning to frustrate classmates or staff.
I hope to begin this new form of communication at the beginning of the next school year. The goal of the form is to be able to collect more data on each student and use the information to help them create plans to more successful in class, as well as giving teachers feedback and information on what the student’s plan is and key phrases the teacher can say to help the student implement his/her plan.
As I reflect on my personal growth, it is clear that through this process I have learned a lot more about Google forms and different add-ons that are available. I have added two add-ons to this document; Form notifications so I am notified when someone fills out the form, and autocrat to help send a follow-up response to teachers.