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Episode #132: Autism Case Study Series – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of 4 of my Autism Case Study Series. I am going back over my last 20 years of experience in public education, non-public programs, and teletherapy working with autistic learners. 

Today I am sharing about an 8-year-old nonverbal learner I worked with in a non-public program. This learner came to me with no way to communicate with the world and various behaviors that were barriers to safety and learning. He really struggled with the learning environment, and I had to be creative.

Building rapport and getting to know your learner is so important. My usual iPad videos and sensory toys were not interesting to this learner, so I had to think outside the box. Listening to country music, special light up sensory toys, small objects to carry, and even mirrors ended up being some of the learners biggest interests and reinforcers. 

I saw this learner in two 30-minute sessions across their school day, individually in my office. We started communication with AAC using an app on a device, which we really had to adapt this learner to. We also used visual prompts in an AAC binder with laminated pictures of familiar and favorite things. 

These solo sessions were built around these three goals and activities:

  1. Focus on interests (requesting and orienting on the iPad)
  2. Following one step directions/ functional routines in the larger school environment
  3. Joint attention with turn taking activities, modified leisure skills like Modified Connect Four, where I used video modeling.

As time progressed over several years, we worked on labeling, verbal imitation, and vocational skills. Eventually we segued into ½ individual and ½ group sessions where this learner became a shining star in more modified leisure games like Musical Chairs, Simon Says, and the Grocery Store game.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this Autism Case Studies series!

#autism #speechtherapy

What’s Inside:

  • Thinking outside the box for interests and reinforcers.
  • Helping learners find their voice with AAC.
  • Practicing joint attention with modified leisure skills.
  • The structure of speech therapy in a non-public program.
  • A progression of therapy goals overtime.

Mentioned In This Episode

Connect Four Modified – YouTube
Social skills game for mixed groups – ABA Speech
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