START K-12 Intensive Training

Module 2: Looking at ASD Differently

What an amazing group of Educators we have attending K-12 this year! Participants are engaged, asking questions and working hard with their teams. Teams are completing detailed action plans and will be returning to their district roles with multiple strategies to implement immediately!

Key concepts that were shared repeatedly were the need for visual supports across ALL environments as well as the concept that we don't say "no" to kids who have a strong drive to access an activity or object, we tell them "when and where" they can access that activity or object.

Key Take Aways Shared from the Participants

  • Power point and module handouts can be accessed in the START K-12 Materials Google Drive
  • Visuals are a NECESSITY! Only area of brain not affected by autism is visual cortex
  • What drives autism- make it non contingent. If a student has a preferred activity next on their schedule, they can access it. It is not to be used as a reinforcer. The schedule is non-negotiable
  • The solution is in the problem. Be creative!
  • Make transitions from most preferred to less preferred to least preferred and then back to most preferred for kids who are challenged by transitions
  • Teach the break system early on. Kids need to know how to appropriately communicate that they are not ready
  • Find audience for students interest area- find other kids who also love Pokemon!
  • Implementation takes time! Things won't happen overnight. Implement with fidelity and be patient
  • Use interests to motivate kids
  • Don't fight the autism! The autism will always win!
  • Not no, but let student know when and where they can engage in preferred activity
  • Stop dangling carrots, be the bridge!
  • Revisualization- provide students with a clear expectation
  • Kids can make faulty associations... be cautious of that


START Website- valuable resources and information for educators and families

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders-free professional resources for educators who work with individuals with Autism.

AFIRM Modules- FREE online professional learning for each of the 27 evidence-based practices for students with Autism.

MDE Family Matters- help sheets for families and educators from the MDE with information regarding LRE, IDEA, IEP Process and more. Help sheets are available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

SLP Resource- link to social/emotional skill sharing site.

Amazing Things Happen- link to a GREAT video about autism awareness!

Sexuality Across the Lifespan- link to resources for schools and families regarding teaching about puberty and sexuality.

Oakland Schools Consultants