Arbor Academy Newsletter
A Word from Sabrina
Welcome back from Spring Break- we hope you all had a fun week.
This month our team will be diving deeper into learning around specific instructional strategies, as well as continuing to work with some new tools for collaborative instructional planning during our late start Wednesdays.
Students are in a good routine, and many are well into work related to their new IEP's. Our program student growth goal area for staff this school year was to improve independence in how students understand and manipulate their individual visual schedules. Although our data is turned in, we will continue to instruct in this area in order for our students to become more and more independent with using their schedules. This skill will provide them with basic skills that will support their ability to navigate their days and expectations for the rest of their lives. If you are interested in some support to set up a visual schedule at home, please let us know.
April is Autism Acceptance Month!
April 2nd was Autism Awareness Day (yesterday)!
We will be engaging in activities across this month to practice increased acceptance to neurodiversity in our building. You will be receiving some information for your children to participate as well.
The Autism Society of America shifted from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month in 2021. This was to shift away from hoping for an increased understanding of autism to a movement of everyone supporting and providing individuals with autism with what they need:
Awareness is focused on shortcomings or deficits. Acceptance is focused on what you're good at and what you can do for yourself. Awareness means you can identify a neurodiversity. Acceptance means you're able to talk to neurodiverse individuals and gain understanding and compassion. "Awareness is knowing that somebody has autism," Banks said. "Acceptance is when you include (a person with autism) in your activities. Help (them) to develop in that community and get that sense of connection to other people."
Here is a tic toc video of someone on the spectrum explaining the difference (Gear up, I don't think she breathes until she is done!)
Acceptance Happens Every Day (Autism Society of America)
A Word from our Primary Classroom
This month the Primary classroom is working on staying with the group and building our group skills! We will have different opportunities to stay with the group when we venture to recess and transition around the building. We are also working hard to carry and manage our own materials during transitions. During group instruction we are learning to respond to the teacher leading instruction and not the teachers around us helping. We are also working on waiting when in a group for our turn, and staying in our seat as we wait.
We are gearing up to practice our group skills when we visit Equestrian Connection the first week in May and work as a group to help take care of the horses! Many school and community activities require us to be successful in group settings-groups are all around!
A Word from our Intermediate Classroom
Hello Intermediate Families!
This month we have been engaging in a lot more leisure activities with our peers! We have loved playing Connect Four with our classmates. We have also enjoyed participating in music group and requesting songs that we want to be played. With the warmer weather, we are looking forward to recess on the playground again! Next month, we will be focusing on learning about things we have in common or the "same" as our peers and things we have that are "different" from each other. We are looking forward to going somewhere new in the community in April as well.
A Word from our Jr. High Classroom
During the month of March, the Junior High room continued to work on their reading, math, social, and communication skills across their school day. We continued our social studies unit aligned to 6-8th grade standards on historical events and learned about the past and the importance of identifying one's feelings when involved in a conflict. In math, the students continue to work on individualized skills such as word problems, identifying numbers, tracing, and matching. We work to apply these skills within our community outings.
For community in March, we visited Target to get supplies for the classroom and cooking group, and went to the park on one of the beautiful sunny days. Next month, we plan on attending one more store and work towards visiting a restaurant where the students can practice ordering food.
We will be starting a social skills group lesson to each of the student's daily schedules. During this time, students will practice game/leisure skills, identifying strengths and weaknesses about themselves, answering yes or no to questions, and developing a positive classroom learning environment.
A Communication Tip
What is communication repair and when can we use it? Sometimes when we are having a conversation with a friend, family member, or someone in our community, we may experience a breakdown in communication. We may hear someone respond by saying “What?” or “I didn’t quite catch that.” We may even observe a change in their facial expression to indicate that they are confused. These are all indicators that the person we are talking to does not understand what we said. That’s okay! Everyone experiences communication breakdowns every now and then.
What’s important is that we know how and when to repair our communication.
How can you help your child repair communication breakdowns?
1. Ensure that your child understands when communication breakdowns have occurred.
- “I can see you want something. Tell me what you want.”
- “I don’t understand what you’re telling me.”
- “It looks like you’re trying to say _____.”
2. Encourage your child to try again and adjust their communication. This could look like:
- Re-phrasing their original message
- Changing their mode of communication (i.e. navigating through their device to communicate their message, exchanging a picture icon, or typing out their message)
3. Provide necessary supports to ensure successful communication repairs
- Gesture toward communication supports (i.e. device, PECS book, choice board, etc)
- Gesture toward specific icons or letters (if typing) on communication system
- Model by saying, “Are you talking about ____?”
Give it a try!
~Sara & Jamie
Visual of the Month: Getting Dressed
Getting Dressed: Use the attached visual to help your child gain independence when getting dressed or changing clothes. When helping, remember...use a few verbal directions as possible!