Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's that time of year... Here's to planning for next year's class!

Clearly by now you get that I'm a bit obsessive and a total over planner (in my professional life only, most of my family & friends are probably having a pretty good laugh at that statement!) and planning for incoming students is pretty much that times about 1,000...

Here's the thing: Working with students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is hard (absolutely amazing, but hard). There is SO much to discover about each student, including finding out their mode of communication, preferences, patterns of maladaptive behavior as well as environmental triggers, and of course, identifying existing and missing skills and effective teaching strategies! Given that your student is likely to have communication challenges, it also takes quite a bit of work to get all that information. It could either take you a year of trial and error or you could do some leg work before the student is in your classroom and get ahead of the game!

I probably also don't need to remind you how challenging it can be for our students to adapt to changes to their routines and adapting to new environments... Again, preparation really is the key here. If the student knows about the change (and I mean repeated exposure to detailed information, timelines, pictures/videos, etc.) and has been exposed to the new environment, classmates, and teachers (try to set up some really positive experiences with these environments and individuals) then you have really covered all your bases.

I go into a lot more detail on some of the strategies for obtaining necessary information and preparing students as well as staff for success in one of my new TPT products (New Student Profile). Click the following link for a free preview of the product: Transition Guidelines Freebie

One final tip:
Speaking with previous teachers, therapists, behaviorists, etc. is a great way to get some initial information about a student. However, nothing is a replacement for seeing and working with that student yourself. Every teacher has their own approach, and (lets face it) their own biases and opinions. When possible, ask for graphs or evidence to support what others are saying. For example, if a teacher/therapist reports serious behavioral challenges with your student, ask for not only details and examples, but numbers and facts (e.g., Can I see the behavior graphs?, Are there injury logs & reports?, What did the functional assessment show?, Can I review the behavior plan?, How long has this plan been in place, any modifications?, etc.) Look: you don't want this to turn into an interrogation, and you want to maintain a positive relationship with this service provider, so try to keep any judgement or opinions about the information you are given. Remember, the student will be in your program soon enough where you can do your own assessments and make any changes you feel the student will benefit from (not just one's that don't reflect your own style), so don't stress over the past, just use it to benefit your future instruction with this student.

Good luck and happy planning everyone :)

Below are some transition related resources up on my My TPT Page:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's so funny? Here's my blog on teaching humor and joke telling to literal learners.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Horse who?"
"A horse who is looking for someone to feed him."

Sound familiar? I have a student with a lot of language skills who seeks out attention through basically everything he does. He recently discovered joke telling (which I was attempting to teach a different student) and LOVES that he can make the communication partner laugh. He also laughs hysterically with them even if he can't explain/doesn't understand why/how the joke is funny (which as a teacher I want to fix, but as a person I think is absolutely adorable). Anyway, after a few days of reading scripted jokes which he had some trouble memorizing, my student started making up his own jokes (amazing)! The joke above is a regular one in his rotation. So we have some work to do but the good news is he is HIGHLY motivated!

There are many challenges in teaching learners with cognitive, communication, and social delays about humor and how to deliver a joke. Let's break it down:

Joke Delivery:
1. Taking conversational turns - this is a BIG one. It is also especially hard when your student is using any type of textual cue for a joke script.  Your student asks and answers the questions in the joke (no participation opportunity for the communicative partner) example: Student says "Why do bicycles fall over? I don't know. Because they are two-tired" while communication partner stands and waits for an opportunity to talk (or more likely while a teacher or instructional aide desperately try to stop him from speaking and to give the other person a turn!)

       Initial thoughts: Check for prerequisite skills. Does your student know how to have any type of   
       reciprocal conversation? Or is it the general back and forth that is challenging? If this is the case,
       you should start to target taking conversational turns in general (which could take on a similar
       approach to what is described below). Note - This doesn't mean that your student should not still
       work on joke telling at this point, but recognize what the challenge is and make sure that your
       initial focus is on conversational turn taking and that joke telling may be just one of many ways
       you target the skill.
       One idea for tackling this challenge:

    •  If using text cues for teaching the joke phrases while also teaching joke delivery skills, use index cards (or some other small cards) so each part of the joke conversation can be placed on one card. *It may also help to add in turn taking cards or turn taking labels onto the joke cards as well as to teach the student to pass the cards back and forth when it says a certain person's name. This can be very effective since the student is learning not just to pause, but is getting repeated practice of waiting until the communication partner makes a guess or says he doesn't know before delivering the answer. Otherwise your student may have trouble determining how long to wait before saying something. (A more complex delivery skill would be to teach your student to ask again or say something like "Do you know?", "Do you have a guess?", "Do you give up?" etc. if the other person is taking too long. We are NOT there yet, give your student some time to get the basics down first!)
      • Example: Card #1: John's turn, Card #2: "Why do bicycles fall over?", Card #3: Mr. Smith's turn (John should hand the set of cards to Mr. Smith), Card #4: Make a guess or say "I don't know.", Card #5: John's turn (Mr. Smith passes the cards back to John, pairing a vocal response from the communication partner with the opportunity to give the answer), Card #6: "Because they are two tired."
        • Just an aside: Adding in the turn taking cards may really benefit your student. It may also bring up some fun new challenges, like teaching your student NOT to read them. You really want to curb this immediately if he/she begins to do so. As you know with repeated practice these types of errors can quickly become an embedded part of their response forever and what was cute/funny in your classroom will not be as socially acceptable in other settings. You may even want to use pictures or put the John's/whoever's turn cards in a different font, color, or put them in parenthesis while the other cards are all in quotation marks just to show the student that they are NOT read aloud.
2. Responding to unscripted responses from the communication partner. In the example above I noted that on Card #6 there is no varied response based on the response from his partner on Card #4. Here's the thing.. If the person guesses incorrectly or says "I don't know," your student should deliver the answer either way. The tricky part? What if they are correct?! If you are teaching joke telling in a systematic way, then build this into your skill acquisition program:
  • Step #1 could be to teach the student how to deliver the joke when the communication partner says "I don't know."
  • Step #2 could be to teach the student how to deliver the joke when the communication partner makes an incorrect guess.
  • Step #3 could be a combination of steps 1 & 2, teaching the student to respond to varied responses in the same manner.
  • Step #4 could be to teach the student how to deliver the joke when the communication partner makes a correct guess.
  • Step #5 could be a combination of steps 1, 2 & 4: Teaching the student to discriminate between and respond appropriately to varied responses.
  • Step #6 could be to teach the student how to deliver the joke when the communication partner makes a guess which is close but not exactly correct.
  • Step #7 could be a combination of steps 1, 2, 4 & 6: Teaching the student to discriminate between and respond appropriately to varied responses.
  • Note: You may not need to break this skill down so far for some learners, even further for others, etc. You also may decide that only certain steps are necessary or appropriate for your learner. Is it the end of the world for the student to still deliver the punchline even if the communication partner already guessed it correctly? Not at all. Decide what works and is appropriate for your learner and deliver your instruction based upon those needs. 
 3. Vocal pacing and intonation. *This is much more complex and general skill deficit in the area of expressive language. Use of pacing boards, speaking fluency drills, etc. could be helpful for pacing while visual cues (such as making some words physically bigger or smaller) could help with teaching the student which words receive emphasis or enlarged punctuation and specific instruction on how your word should sound in coordination with that punctuation mark may be appropriate. These are just some very basic and general thoughts on a broad area of instruction so I would suggest breaking down these skill deficits (perhaps speak with your speech and language pathologist for ideas) and teaching them explicitly. Note: Again, this activity of joke telling could be an appropriate practice opportunity for your student to work on those skills, but it should be just one of many.

Joke Comprehension:
This can be very tricky. While it isn't totally essential that your student understand the joke for the interaction to take place, if you want the interaction to be more meaningful and for your student to make more connections, it really should be a focus as well. I've struggled here. Throwing more language at my students after their joke delivery (when they're mid-way poised to turn and walk away since the joke is finished for them!) of "Oh get it, 2 tires and too tired haha!" really isn't cutting it. Well I, like many teachers, spend quite a bit of time browsing around on Teachers Pay Teachers and recently found a very cute joke-telling product by Speech2U. (For anyone who is interested, the product is Flip Flap Knock Knock Jokes: Humor and Social skills) It's a visual knock-knock joke set up which can help with the pacing and turn taking component skills I discussed above, but what I LOVE is the visual explanation card she created. You could sit down and go through various jokes with your student reviewing what "The joke said" vs what it "Sounds like" to determine why/how it is funny. I am excited to try this out with my students and see how it goes! I'm planning to do this in a group setting, put it up on the SmartBoard provide visuals for the whole joke (or have my boys display their fantastic artistic skills) and break it down that way.

Has anyone else had success teaching joke telling and comprehension? If so PLEASE share!!

Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend everyone!

P.S. Just a little side note/tangent: When first working on new communication and social skills, at least ONE of the partners needs to be proficient in the skill. I always cringe when two of my students who struggle with the same social skills try to navigate a conversation together. I am NOT suggesting that the students should not be interacting, but that the conversations should be more structured and clear. Have them talk with a third party who can help to translate and lead the conversation. Why is this such a hot topic for me? I have a lot of concerns about embedding errors and the long term impact of poor practice opportunities on the student's communicative and social skills...  With the expansive and lasting impact that poor communication and social skills has on your student's whole life, give them the best chance of making significant gains by providing quality instruction and successful practice opportunities whenever possible.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Providing Support While Building Independence!

I am so fortunate to have so much support and so many resources for my classroom of students with autism! I love my aides and truly could not be providing the same quality of instruction to my students without their help... However some days I worry about the level of support we are embedding especially for my boys who are in High School now. How can we expect these students to go home and occupy their time appropriately and have a level of autonomy if we do not give them an opportunity to learn the skills to do so in a structured setting? Better (or more worrisome??) question: how can we expect these students to leave a highly structured instructional setting in 6 short years ready for work and an independent lifestyle if we are not preparing them for it???

Relax everyone, transitioning to adulthood is an extremely overwhelming topic for educators and families alike, let's remember to take it one step at a time! All I'm talking about now is having students learn to spend a bit of time without as much supervision and having them still engage in productive and meaningful activities.

Over the past few months I have been working on different types of independent work skills and schedules with my students based upon their readiness levels and prerequisite skills. Some students are learning to read and follow written directions to perform independent skills, others are learning how to use a digital timer to perform open-ended activities in a more structured manner (who else has a few kids who could either play with the same toy for an hour OR who get off task during an open-ended activity and resort to inappropriate behaviors for various reasons?), and some students have recently learned to read and follow checklists of up to 10 activities without staff assistance! A few of the students who acquired this more complex skill are now also working on structuring their own time by creating the checklist. Side note: I have some students who actually do not need the checklist and still appropriately allocate their time to different activities during a leisure period, which I have to say is pretty incredible :)

One example of a Task Analysis I have been using to teach this skill of creating and following an independent schedule is: 
Program Name: Creates and Follows Independent Activity Schedule                                               90% Independence over 2 consecutive days
Set Up: Present Student with activity choice board. Present him with a blank checklist of 5-10 tasks (or have him retrieve a lined paper and create his own).
SD: “Make your checklist” ***Once Student’s checklist is made he should independently begin following the checklist without any additional directions.***
Response: Student will perform the chain below to complete each task on his checklist and cross them off as they are finished.
Reinforcement: Student will receive 1 token at the end of the checklist.                          
Error: Non-verbally redirect Student back to the current step in the sequence.
Current Target:
5 - 10 Task Checklist
5 - 10 Task Checklist
5 - 10 Task Checklist
5 - 10 Task Checklist
5 - 10 Task Checklist
Task Analysis:
1. Selects task and writes on checklist

2. Adds # of minutes 
(if necessary)

3. Crosses task off activity choice board

Create whole checklist before beginning to perform activities (repeat 1-3 for each task before moving on to 4 for the first task)
4. Points to/identifies first/next task

5. Retrieves task materials

6. Retrieves timer 
(if necessary)

7. Sets and starts timer for designated duration
(if necessary)

8. Performs task for duration (open-ended activity) or until completed (closed-ended activity) Performs task = stays in instructional area, manipulates materials in appropriate manner as the skill was learned for duration with no more than 10 consecutive seconds off task behavior.

9. Stops timer when it sounds within 3 seconds
(if appropriate)

10. Cleans up and returns materials

11. Checks off task

Daily Average %:

  Note: Actual procedures and steps should be modified and individualized for each student's skills and needs.
See the sample Activity Choice List included in this blog which students can use to select their independent activities for their checklists. As always, each students' list should be a bit different since the students do not have the same preferences, mastered skills, etc.

 Just a reminder, the students who are working on these skills and utilizing these checklists have the prerequisite skills to do so! They are all readers with a number of independent skills, however accommodations can be made for non-readers or students with lower reading abilities. Use a picture choice list instead of a written choice list, use a digital representation of the time instead of a time written out or a picture of the timer itself, set to the correct duration.

Best day through this process? The first day I ran this program with a student who is a real rule follower (a boy after my own heart!) selected 10 tasks in order from the top of the list. On the next opportunity I stopped him from writing and gestured for him to look up and down the list first and that was it! He found out that going in order meant missing out on video games, UNO, and lots of other fun activities. So when you are creating your activity choice lists be sure to mix up the activities so students are really making thoughtful decisions about how they want to spend their time.
Tip # 2: I have the students cross off their selections from the checklist so that they do not pick the same activity twice in the same checklist. However, for some students I have them wait until ALL the activities have been selected (throughout multiple checklist opportunities during the course of the day) so they include more of a variety of tasks.

Regardless of what step they're at or how many tasks they can perform on their own, just remember that each step is one towards independence and given the level of structure and supervision most students in specialized settings are used to, each step is a huge deal so remember to celebrate it :)


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Isn't it all social??

It's an interesting world we live in as special educators. We spend so much time looking at skills in different ways, breaking them down into the smallest units possible, finding new approaches, applications and tie ins, etc.and in doing so we often find new and surprising insights into the challenges our students face. I've been doing a lot of curriculum work recently and in doing so I just came to this realization that rock's my autism-teacher world:
There really are not any skills or activities that don't at least involve some type of social skill, interaction or consequence!
Seriously. Think about it! There are many private and personal activities which you would really never consider to be "social." But if you really look at them carefully, you'll see that there really is always something social...

Let's take a look at bathroom skills for example:

  • Using the restroom is very private and often an activity which does not involve any direct social interaction. However, there are many social rules for how to approach bathroom use (e.g., Which stall or urinal to use if one is already occupied, where to stand if waiting for a stall/urinal, when it is and is not okay to talk or make eye contact, when it is and is not appropriate to remove your clothing, how thoroughly you should wash and dry your hands, what to do when you're waiting for the hand dryer, and so many more!)
  • Ok so most of that related to public restrooms. But the same goes for using the restroom in your own home! When can you leave the door open? When is it okay to unbutton/unzipper your pants before reaching the bathroom? What if your Mom is around, or your Dad, or your neighbor? If it's 7:30 and your schedule says to shower at 7:30 but someone else has to use the toilet, who should go first?
  • And the biggest challenge? Understanding why there is a difference between using a public restroom and your own private restroom at home!
There are social rules, norms and consequences for essentially everything we do. No wonder why our students with autism spectrum disorders struggle so much in so many areas! I'm not suggesting that this is the only reason or that there are not other factors at play. However, I do think it's important to consider the social skills relevant to every activity a student is exposed to or expected to perform and to be sure to explicitly teach them in context as you would any other skill! I also think it's important to identify whether there is a social barrier, rather than a motivation barrier or skill deficit at play when a student struggles to perform a particular skill.

Perfect example of a skill which would be primarily considered self help, hygiene, even health related but not social: Brushing your teeth. Yet having poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay over the course of time and most immediately, bad breath. There are social consequences for BOTH of these outcomes. However, if you have trouble identifying social cues, you may miss (or misinterpret) someone covering their mouth/nose, turning their head away slightly, standing further away when you're speaking, or even avoiding speaking to you all together. If a student is not maintaining good oral hygiene, some reasons could include: not recognizing or valuing this social contract of having good hygiene (especially in public when interacting with others), lack of motivation, sensory discomfort, skill deficits, etc. In order to determine how to respond and "fix" this issue as an educator, you need to first identify the cause. If it is, in fact, a social deficit, then it needs to be addressed specifically. Having a social skills lesson on the importance of hygiene when making friends, getting a job, etc. is great. So is providing reinforcement or feedback regarding hygiene during actual social interactions.

As I'm sure you have noticed, I could talk about this for the rest of the night... But I won't! I'll just leave it at this:

It's ALL social. So let's teach it that way!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Need something to believe in? How about science...

Clearly we are all seeing these articles surfacing regarding Jenny McCarthy and questioning whether or not her son truly had autism or some other neurological disorder instead. While there is a great deal of fault in her past actions, believing in a doctor's diagnosis, hoping for a way to "fix" her child and happily accepting a "cure" once her son's symptoms disappeared are certainly not the actions to fault her for. So I am not joining those faulting her for believing that her son once had autism and now has reduced or eliminated his symptoms (Don't worry, I will later go into what I do fault her for).

I once had the privilege of attending a course where a panel of parents and family members of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities spoke with us about their every day challenges and realities. I have worked in the field for over 8 years. I have built many wonderful relationships with the parents of my students and have always felt that I could connect with families, doing my best to understand what they were going through. But this panel showed me how little I truly did understand. While every family member opened my eyes in one way or another, one father's words really stuck with me. He said you need to get to a place where you understand and accept that things don't always have to be "OK"... We always think we have to fight and search and work towards fixing things, but there are some things we can't fix and we have to become OK with things not being OK. He was by no means giving up on his child. His point was that the constant searching, fighting, and waiting for things to "get better" was putting such a strain on the family and on their relationships with their son that at some point they had to stop focusing on trying to fix everything and start focusing on their family learning to be OK with things not being OK.

He was right. So was Jenny McCarthy... Every parent wants to fight for their child. Even your typically developing child who may be facing more run of the mill challenges, parents will do everything they can to help their children and solve all their problems for them. So for a child with a disability, one which will likely affect them throughout their lives, that desire to protect, to fix, to cure is surely unwavering. What is scary and unfortunate is how far this desire will take you. What are you willing to do? What are you willing to look past? And what are you willing to believe? These topics, not surprisingly, also came up at the panel. Parents spoke out on trying or wanting to try various unfounded treatments. When there are spokespeople out there claiming a cure but science tells you it is a long journey with projected improvements but no cure, what/who are you likely to believe?

Here's the thing: Scientific and medical research are fairly important (clearly an understatement). While their claims and treatment outcomes may not be as fast acting or as flashy as many "alternative treatments" out there claim to be, the results of scientific and medical research help to keep us safe, to weigh the costs and benefits of various treatments, and to prove or disprove the actual efficacy of any given treatment.

Here's the other thing: There are many very scary "alternative treatments" out there in the autism world. Their being called "alternative" doesn't mean that they are good alternatives, it means simply that they are the alternative to or opposite of research based treatments. So really, they are without evidence. They DON'T work or the results are infrequent, inconsistent, or otherwise unreliable... or they are simply too dangerous to try. Some of these treatments are not harmful: A gluten-casein free diet is not likely to cause any damage (though nutritional balance should still be maintained when foods any are eliminated). Other alternative methods include Chelation therapy, using hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and other unproven medical procedures could have very dangerous outcomes (even death) for your children. What isn't true about alternative treatments? That they never work for anyone. There are so many factors that could lead to results from alternative treatments.
  1. The treatment actually worked.
  2. The treatment in combination with other (research based) treatments produced the results.
  3. The other (research based) treatments produced the results and this alternative treatment had no impact.
  4. Something else entirely caused the change.

The problem? It is much easier to access and understand many of these unfounded claims. Listening to a celebrity on the news or a talk show speaking without using jargon or confusing numbers and explaining what they saw in their child is easier than a researcher showing graphs and giving numbers without anecdotes parents can easily relate to. Ever notice how much of a difference a doctor's bedside manner makes? Well that's pretty much the premise here too. Often researchers, even behavior analysts who work with you and your child on a regular basis are hard to relate to since they may only focus on science, numbers, data, and do not account for other information you may provide about your child. This should not be the case, but regardless, a well known public figure sharing personal and heartfelt stories you can relate to really goes a long way. This is where I fault Jenny McCarthy (along with many others). Making public claims about the efficacy of unproven treatments, providing anecdotes instead of evidence and discrediting science to an audience who is out there looking for answers, looking for ways to make everything OK is incredibly unethical and dangerous. Of course I acknowledge that in many cases people are not intending the harm they cause, but for the same reason it would be unethical for me (as a special education teacher with a background in Applied Behavior Analysis) to begin making public claims about better ways to fix congestive heart failure even if I saw it "work" for someone else (always remember the difference between correlation and causation, just because two things happened does not mean that one caused the other...)

One last thing: Basically all of this is very understandable. There is so much more research needed in the field. For all the research that has been done, there is still so little known. The biggest question? What causes autism? The answers to this question will undoubtedly lead to greater advancements in autism treatment. In the meantime, providing accessible, clear cut/understandable, and relatable information to families is truly essential. There are already some great resources out there including state by state organizations (e.g., Autism New Jersey), the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, the Organization for Autism Research, etc. which are both "parent and professional friendly." This article from the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, for example, provides helpful information regarding evidence based vs discredited treatments and can help parents wade through all the conflicting information and sources out there.

Let's try to have a good outcome from all of this. Lesson learned? Trust science, not stories. If something without an evidence base works for your child? Fantastic. Be thankful and provide as much information about it as possible to a teacher, therapist, researcher, etc. and hope that it may lead to a breakthrough, but don't claim there has been one before the proof is there...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Teaching in the Least Restrictive Environment... What does that mean for services??

There is a very careful balance to be struck in education, as in all aspects of life...
When we talk about providing special education services, we know the law, and we know that means these services should be provided in the Least Restrictive Environment. But what is that really?

Well, it means that if a student is able to function (make meaningful educational progress) in a general education classroom with some supports and modifications from the teacher, then that is where they belong. If the student requires an aide, then for them that is the learning environment with the least amount of restrictions where they will succeed. For some students the least restrictive environment may be a self contained classroom or even a specialized school. These decisions, like many others, are to be made based on the needs of the individual student. As educators we are saying that it is very important that students who receive special services have access to the general education curriculum and general education students whenever possible and appropriate. But with each step toward the general education end of the educational curriculum, how many supports and services are lost?

Does the least restrictive environment necessitate that a child has access to fewer services? Maybe... Don't provide more than is necessary or you're holding the person back, but provide enough for him to make a reasonable amount of progress. Again these decisions need to be made for each student, in a manner which is appropriate and for him/her but also feasible for the classroom and the types of accommodations they are able to provide. Surely we cannot expect that 1:1 instruction can be feasible at all times for a student in a general education classroom with 1 teacher and 20-30 other students, but if that is what that student requires, perhaps it is not their LRE. It all goes back to the individual, finding out what services are essential for a student, aligning those with the possible supports available in each setting, and determining from there what their placement should look like.

This all sounds very straight forward. Services needed = appropriate placement. Your child is struggling with reading and it is impacting his learning in all of his classes, perhaps a smaller class for language arts with specialized instruction or access to a resource room teacher would suffice. But for just a moment, let's think about a student whose needs are less cut and dry.

Let's look at a child with autism. Perhaps academically your child can hold his own, whether it be in a general education classroom or an inclusive setting where some degree of specialized services are provided. Is that classroom also able to provide for the the social, communication/language, and behavioral needs of your child? Should it be? What is the least restrictive setting for someone who can do the work but cannot express himself? Well we need a whole new scale to balance this one... because academic progress is simply not enough for this child.

There really is no perfect answer here. Of course it seems easy enough, that educators at every level should be able to provide social skills instruction or at least guidance, should be able to evoke language and should be able to provide reinforcement based behavioral supports for any student. And yet it isn't that easy. Without the proper supports, knowledge base and training, providing adequate supports to a child with autism in any setting is a challenge. Does this mean that because your child has autism he should only be instructed in a specialized setting regardless of his academic, social, language, and behavioral needs and abilities? Of course not. This simply means that schools will need to start bringing in the supports for their educators, setting up social skills training groups, providing access to highly trained specialists who can work individually with students as well as teachers. There is a wealth of knowledge, and a large research base which tells us exactly how to teach a child with autism, and there are many people with the training required to help these students succeed. The least restrictive environment for a student with autism may just be a general education classroom where the teacher has access to a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who can provide support, training, answer questions, etc. Maybe it's not. Perhaps the behavioral challenges or communication deficits are so great that they require more intensive services. It is all about the individual. And it is all about needs versus feasibility. There is no reason to say that a child with autism cannot find an educational balance just like any other student.

We just need a different scale.