April is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. Are you looking for ways for your organization to support Autism Awareness this month? Check out these resources for ideas:
Mark your calendars now for our community conversation on April 13th and 14th with Nikki Michalak, statewide Director of the Autism Professional Learning and Universal Supports at Illinois State University. Her work is focused on increasing awareness and the use of evidence-based interventions and resources designed to improve outcomes for individuals with autism.
Stay connected to join our virtual space on 4/13 and 4/14, and explore ways to promote the acceptance, inclusion, advocacy, and celebration of autism.
Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator
The first day of the discussion on Accelerating Autism Awareness in Adult Education can be found here.
Day two will be continued tomorrow at this thread. Nikki Michalak, Principal Investigator of the Autism Professional Learning and Universal Supports Project at Illinois State University has developed an interactive resource for adult educators to better understand and support learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Check out this virtual learning space at the following site: LINCS Autism Awareness and Acceptance. Once you've had a look around, come back here to share your new understanding, ideas, and suggestions for supporting your learners with ASD.
Nikki, your tools for college and tools for employment are great introductions to the needs of learners transitioning from adult education to post-secondary and employment opportunities. Would you walk us through these tools and how we can use them when working with learners through these transitions?
There are many tools available for learners who are transitioning into post-secondary education. Take a moment to look over these tools and see what might be of help to you: (all these tools are available in the LINCS Autism Awareness and Acceptance)
This document is designed to help instructors understand and identify common characteristics of autism in the classroom. Additionally, it provides tips on how to adapt instruction or provide in-class accommodations to provide an equitable learning environment for students with autism.
This document is designed to help instructors understand and identify common characteristics of autism in the classroom. Additionally, it provides tips on how to adapt instruction or provide in class accommodations to provide an equitable learning environment for students with autism.
This document provides a list of considerations and some helpful suggestions for students who face the decision to disclose their ASD to others. While designed for students with ASD, this resource is also valuable for professionals who are promoting self-advocacy or who need to understand the changes faced by individuals transitioning to postsecondary education
This document is designed to guide students with ASD in identifying key points on a syllabus. The document can also be used as a self-assessment for instructors and administrators reviewing syllabi to ensure they are organized, understandable, and promote accessibility.
This self-assessment covers key points in the topics of academics, independent living, socialization, safety, sexuality, stress, and personal insight. This tool can be used to support the transition to a college setting and identifies strengths are areas to work towards.
What do you find helpful from these resources?
There are many tools available for learners who are transitioning into post-secondary education. Take a moment to look over these tools and see what might be of help to you: (all these tools are available in the LINCS Autism Awareness and Acceptance).
The following document is a brief introduction to common characteristics shared by many individuals with ASD and the benefits they bring to the work place. However, as autism is a spectrum, it is important to know that each individual is different and identifying strengths and weaknesses of an individual is important if you want to develop skills of your employees with ASD.
The following document is a brief introduction to providing beneficial supports to employees with ASD and includes a number of recommendations that can be easily implemented at the workplace.
This document provides tips for individals on how to prepare for an interview and how to conduct themselves during an interview, with special emphasis on areas that may be particularly relevant to an individual with Autism.
This document suplements the tips provided above. This self-assessment walks through important steps in the job search and interview process and can even be used to conduct mock interviews.
The decision to disclose a diagnosis of ASD is a personal and sometimes sensitive process. This document provides a list of considerations and some helpful suggestions for students who face the decision to disclose their ASD to others and considers academic, employment, and social contexts.
How might these tools help you?
The virtual space you shared also includes a library and video archive of "Autistic Voices". There are some well known authors and speakers here that help shed light on the experience of learning and working on the spectrum. I wonder if you have seen adult educators use any of these titles as part of their reading instruction? Representation in books, films and television is critical to everyone's understanding of others' challenges, struggles and success. Having a library of resources to share with students that includes people on the autism spectrum is a great way to share that representation with all learners.
Yes, many of the books included in the library are written by self-advocates; allowing us to learn and understand through the autistic lens. You have probably also noticed the rising prevalence of characters with ASD on television shows -- might this be a sign of society's efforts to embrace and personify a disorder that has become more and more prevalent? In our coursework and in professional learning that is provided to adult educators we often facilitate book studies involving professional discourse around the specific topics within the book. Another option is to host virtual watch parties of documentaries and engage in follow-up dialogue. Engaging in book studies and documentary screenings is a great way to enhance one's understanding of autism spectrum disorder and how to support individuals with ASD through the use of book studies. These opportunities have allowed folks time to read and immediately implement strategies they were learning while also reflecting with colleagues along the way. Participants shared amazing stories in relation to their readings about their experiences in and out of the classroom with students with autism.
Check out the following:
Introception: The Eighth Sensory System (Author: Kelly Maher)
This book provides information to professionals on the eighth sensory system, Interoception. The Interoceptive System allows individuals to understand signals from their body, such as hunger, thirst, pain, fear, etc. Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder are challenged with labeling how they are feeling internally. This book provides research as well as practical strategies to support individuals who struggle with self-regulation.
- Introception Book Study Outline
This book, written by a well-regarded expert in the field, is filled with inspiring stories taken from years of experience working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The author encourages readers to look at individuals with ASD differently, not as persons with an unfortunate disability but as people who are uniquely human.
Interested in taking a 2-hour course with Dr. Barry Prizant on Uniquely Human? All proceeds will be donated to a weekend parent retreat fund. Click here to learn more.
- Uniquely Human Book Study Outline
Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. “Small but profound . . . [Higashida’s] startling, moving insights offer a rare look inside the autistic mind.”—Parade
Meet Guillermo, Jasmine, Caroline, Jonathan and Aniella – five students on the spectrum take us on campus and into their lives to see how they’re doing college. Every fall, more and more students on the spectrum who are capable of academic work at the college level go off to college.
Getting in is often easy enough, but navigating college on the spectrum can be challenging in many ways. Students are figuring it out by doing it. From deciding which school will be the best fit, to interactions with professors and peers, facing roommate situations, handling money, homesickness, finding work, overcoming setbacks, staying on track to graduate– these students come up against aspects of college life students typically encounter. Autism Goes to College is a first of its kind film, packed with honest insights for student, parents and educators offering an eye-opening look at what a growing number of neurodiverse students are bringing to campus.
Bottom Line: So many are great resources. Read the books. Watch the documentaries. They will change how you think.
Nikki, thank you for taking time to provide us with so many tools and resources for supporting adult learners on the spectrum. I know I'll need to take time to digest all of this information and reflect on how to continue moving along the spectrum from awareness to advocacy.
I encourage others to do the same and come back to this thread with your comments and questions.
Again, thank you Nikki for sharing your knowledge with us!