Employees with ASD: Tips for Educating Employers and Colleagues


VCU
Speakers: Whitney Ham, Alissa Molinelli Transcription provided by: Caption First,
Inc.>>WHITNEY HAM: Hi. My name is Whitney Ham,
and myself and my co-worker, Alissa Molinelli, will be talking
with you about employees with autism spectrum disorders,
tips for educating employers and colleagues. Alissa and I have
both worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorders
for several years now. And what we have found is when introducing
these individuals to the workplace, that oftentimes,
we get questions from both their employers, their supervisors,
and their colleagues on best ways to interact with this
individual and also just questions about autism in general.
So this presentation will give you a bit of a background
on autism spectrum disorder and how it can present in
the workplace, and then, my co-worker will go into more specific
details about certain challenges that you may see in working
with this individual and also strategies for success. So our topics: What is an autism spectrum
disorder? What might it look like? Some challenges, and once
again, some strategies for success. So first off, this is a pretty famous quote
you see a lot. “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve
met one person with autism.” We are really going to hammer
this point home today, but autism is a spectrum, and there
is a broad range of different personalities and unique characteristics,
just as you see with yourself, your friends, your family.
Everyone is a little different, and that’s the same in working
with someone with autism. So autism is a life-long developmental disability.
It is distinguished by difficulty with understanding
social cues and facial expressions, inflexibility and discomfort
with change, and difficulty adapting to new tasks and routines. Here we have a triad of the behavioral symptoms
that you see with autism spectrum disorder so all of these
— it looks like a Venn diagram. All of these behavioral symptoms
coexist, and they work together and present themselves in different
ways. So the first one on top is social interaction, nonverbal
social communication. Sometimes this is referred
to as the “hidden curriculum” in working with individuals with
autism. And the hidden curriculum might be something that
with the typically developing individual, if we’re all sitting
there in the workplace, the break room, we’re all talking
about what we did this weekend and how we’re really dreading
the work day today, and all of a sudden, your supervisor walks
in and everybody gets quiet, puts their cell phones away. Someone
with autism might not understand those social cues, and they
might just continue talking about how much they dislike work or
they dislike what they’re going to do today. Also, difficulty with peer relationships and
social reciprocity so the normal give-and-take that
you have in a conversation with a friend can be difficult
for someone with autism. They might not understand that oh,
this person is really shutting down and not understanding that they’re
sick of hearing me talk about Harry Potter or something like
that. Also, patterns of behavior, repetitive patterns
of behavior in interests, you might find that when you’re
working with your individuals that they go home every night
and eat the exact same thing for dinner, for instance, spaghetti
with butter and parsley, or they may watch the same movie
every night. Some of this might be establishing the routine which
can bring — sometimes brings comfort to individuals with
autism. Also repetitive patterns of interests, they
might know everything there is to know about Godzilla
or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. And also, the last one, communication, so
an individual with autism may or may not have the ability to
speak. They may be more verbal. They may have very simple verbal
communication: yes, no, expressing I need to go to the bathroom
or hunger. They may also use symbolic language. They may have
an augmentative communication device, or they may use symbols
that they press, for instance, to go to the bathroom or to
express something that they need. Also difficulties with pragmatic communication,
this is just the normal grammatical rules that we follow
in everyday life in communicating with other people: things like
where to insert articles. Some individuals with autism might
say something like, Otis Spunkmeyer live in cafeteria and things
like that. So some demographics of autism, it is the
fastest growing developmental disability. Because of this,
with the increasing diagnostic rates, that’s why it is becoming
even more important to educate individuals out in the community
about working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. It is a spectrum, as we mentioned before,
so the five disorders on the spectrum: autism spectrum
disorder, PDD-NOS, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise
Specified, Asperger’s, Rett Syndrome, and also Childhood
Disintegrative Disorder. So we wanted to mention here that the autism
spectrum has actually — the disorder has changed now with
the DSM-V. However, what we have run into out in the
community is that culturally, the old definition of autism is
still in place so people still think of things like Asperger’s
or autism, rather than what is going to happen in the DSM-V
so we felt like it — if you have questions about this and wanted
to know more to please refer to this Web site, but in working
with individuals out in the workplace, oftentimes, you’ll find
that they still adhere to the old rules. So what the DSM-V is saying is Rett Syndrome
is going — Rett Syndrome and childhood — or Rett Syndrome
is going to be taken off and PDD-NOS, Asperger’s, and Childhood
Disintegrative Disorder are all going to go under autism
spectrum disorder. In addition, three symptom categories are going
to become two so it will be a communication social interaction
disorder, rather than having two, and also add usual sensory behavior
to the criteria. So what might an autism spectrum disorder
look like? It is an invisible disability. What we mean by that
is when you see an individual, walking by them, you might not
know that they have autism, and that is a good thing because it
can make inclusion easier. However, it can also make it more
difficult for typically developing individuals, patrons
of the workplace, or co-workers and supervisors. It can make it
harder for them to understand why the individual might be behaving
the way that they are. Why do they think it’s okay to tell
me that I look horrible today, or why are they completely
breaking down because they can’t find where their sea foam green
marker has gone? It might look like, in the workplace, fear
of a novel situation. As you know when you go to work,
things can be different every day that you go in, and you
can’t control for things that are going to happen. You can’t
control that a light is going to break or there might be construction
going on next door. An individual with autism might react
with fear to this new situation that they weren’t expecting
because comfort and routines can mean a lot to this individual. Difficulty communicating, both receptive communication
and expressive communication, the individual might
have a difficult time expressing their wants and needs, how
they are feeling that day. If they are scared about these new changes
in their routine, they may have a hard time telling
that to you, and it might present itself very different than saying,
hey, this construction’s really bothering me today.
I wish I had some headphones to put on. Also receptive communication, taking it in
and comprehending, Alissa is going to get more into how — some
strategies for dealing with expressive and receptive communication
issues. Also overwhelmed due to incoming sensory stimuli,
sensory integration and processing the smell of your co-worker,
maybe their new perfume, what someone’s cooking in the microwave
downstairs, all of these things can be hard for them to integrate
and respond to at one time, and it can become overwhelming
to an individual. And also behavioral challenges, we are going
to — the second half of the presentation really gets into
discussing some of the behavioral challenges that you me see with
an individual, but just keep in mind that this behavior is not
personally against you. It’s communicating something to you. So it’s important when you’re introducing
someone with autism into the workplace or performing co-worker
education that you really focus on some strengths of individuals
with autism spectrum disorders because they are numerous.
Individuals with autism can be excellent at recall for repetitive
and routine tasks. Months can go by between learning something
and then having to do it again in the workplace, and
they can remember every single step. For instance, in one of
our — with one of our clients, they learned how to take apart
a piece of machinery that had at least 50 different items. They
then went on to complete two different internships in their
work site. They came back seven months later and remembered exactly
how to do it again, which I found pretty amazing. They’re
very good at remembering faces and names. A lot of our
clients, if you tell them your phone number one time, we always
say, you say it once; you know it for life. You will be in that
person’s memory for good. Good at attending to the task at hand, what
we find is that some — while we may get on FaceBook, look
at our cell phone, stop and have a 5-minute chit chat with one
of our co-workers, oftentimes, our individuals with autism, once
they are aware of their expectations on the job site, they get
right to it. They like to know what they’re working on. They
like to know what’s expected, how much they need to do of it,
and they aren’t going to necessarily be as distracted by normal,
everyday things like we would be. Attention to detail, some of our individuals
really thrive on data entry, and data entry, not making mistakes.
We had someone that was working on computer entry putting
in addresses and names of many individuals out in the community
that were actually making donations to the hospital.
And not only would she correct things, the punctuation that was
wrong, but she updated about 12,000 records, and her supervisor
from the first few days would go after and make sure that
everything had been put in once, and she said, finally, I just
stopped doing it because I never had to make a correction. Motivated to complete their schedule, they
can — we’ve found with our clients that they really feel a sense
of accomplishment when they have finished a task and get to
either come back and share it with classmates, friends, parents,
or supervisors. Comforted with routines, as I’ve touched on
before, and also honest and refreshing, a lot of times while
you will work on social skills and what is appropriate and
not appropriate to talk about in the workplace, sometimes their
perception is just very refreshing and enjoyable. So here we have normal in quotation marks.
And we really just want to stress the fact that everyone is an
individual, and everybody is different. And I think that we
can all agree that normal, once you get to really know somebody,
there’s always something a little quirky or an interest that
they may have that we find a little strange so in relation to
introducing an individual with autism to the workplace, we
wanted to touch on disclosure of the disability. It is really
important to sit down with this individual and perhaps their support
staff and find out if they are open to disclosing their disability.
And if they’re not, then you need to find ways to
work around that and how they would like to be supported. If they
are open to disclosing their disability, I think it’s
important to sit down with the individual as well and talk about
how they would like to disclose their disability. Would they like
to have, you know, kind of an open discussion with their co-workers
and supervisor, or would they like to sit down one-on-one
with their employer and talk about their disability and what it
might mean for them? Also, hobbies and interests, some of the things
I mentioned earlier might seem somewhat childish, talking
about Transformers or the Yu-Gi-Oh! or Power Ranger cards. However,
other individuals will sit there and read an entire
book on history and World War II over their lunch break, and
that’s what they prefer to talk about. Hobbies and interests
are different. We all know adults that are still interested
in cars and trains and the same for individuals with autism spectrum
disorders. Also, learning styles, some individuals may
be literate, and they would prefer to have all of their supports
written out for them or perhaps on a PDA device which fits
in very well with society today. Or they may prefer picture
schedules of — and other visual schedules, rather than just having
things written down. They maybe like to have you show them
how to do it once maybe outside of the workplace, and then they
can go practice it on their own in the workplace without someone
by their side. This is a good segue into preference for supports. The level, this can go hand-in-hand with whether
or not they’ve chosen to disclose their disability
to their employer, but some individuals, particularly higher-functioning
individuals, may only like to meet with you outside of work to
discuss how work was today or to practice a new task that
they’re learning. Other individuals might want you side-by-side
perhaps doing the — performing the task first or telling them
how to do it then showing them and then doing it once for them
so that they can watch modeling and then having them do it as
well. And also once again, type of supports, whether or not they
want a visual support, whether or not they want it on a PDA and
things like that. So with this slide, my co-worker is now going
to come up and discuss some of the challenges and strategies for
success in working with individuals with autism in the
workplace.>>ALISSA MOLINELLI: I’m now going to be talking
about breaking down the Venn diagram that Whitney
had brought up before and talking about some of the challenges
and strategies that could be successful in the workplace. The first one is communication challenges.
Many times, individuals with autism have problems with
expressive language, things like expressing their needs, wants,
preferences, and problems. Somebody we worked with wasn’t feeling
so great and was having trouble describing that and just
said, oh, my throat is feeling very sad. So we knew to go ahead
and, you know, get some help. He was having a sore throat. Other times, the expression may not even be
verbal and could be a nonverbal cue such as not wanting to
go through their schedule and the individual taking their schedule
and flipping it over onto the desk. Other times, there
are problems with receptive language, taking it in and comprehension,
as well as, of course, the challenge of lack of verbal
communication. So as Whitney had mentioned, some of the individuals
we work with may use devices, augmentative communication devices,
pictures, or gestures as their form of communication. Additionally, some people that we work with
may have echolalia where they are repeating what you
have just said to them so, good morning, hello, how are you,
good morning, hello, how are you. And others may sound like a little
professor or an expert on a topic or maybe rattling off movie
scripts that they have heard before, and that’s oftentimes going
to be memorization of things that they have heard
before knowing that when spoken to, I’m supposed to have something
to say so I’m going to say something that I’ve already heard
before. Some of the strategies that we can use for
communication is to speak with the individual and support staff
first. As we’ve mentioned several times, you know, these are
individuals, and we want to find out what their individual preferences
are. What is the best interaction method? Should I speak
with this person? One of the ladies that I’ve worked with does
not like to be touched, but when you work in a warm environment,
somebody may come up and touch you on the shoulder, and
you don’t want to get the response of, do not touch me, and to be
kind of — bat it off so it’s best to talk to the family and
the individual first and say, how do you want me to speak to you.
What is going to be the most successful? Also, ask the employee to demonstrate their
understanding of what you have asked them to do, whatever the
instruction is. This can be done through, you know, clarification
or asking the person to show you what the understanding
is, and provide time for there to be questions, for there to be
processing and questions. And sometimes, the question might
not just come. There may be silence, and you may have to
prompt the individual and say, do you have a question. Talk slowly
and quietly. Again, we want to be calm. We want to be concise.
So many of the words that I’ve already said today are far too much
than what we need to use when talking to individuals with autism.
We don’t need to be, you know, over the top. Just be direct,
concrete. Billy, I need you to clean the Isolette, and then go
out on the floors. So very clear, very direct instruction. A lot of the times, you know, we’re — we’ll
use idioms or yeah, just go ahead. Clean that piece of equipment.
It’s going to be a piece of cake. Really? Where’s the
cake? So we don’t want to use idioms and expressions and sarcasm
because that’s going to be interpreted in a very direct way,
and so we want to be concrete and clear when we’re giving direction. Also, with communicating, it’s often very
helpful to use visual supports to supplement the world communication
so in addition to the verbal communication to have
a visual support as well. Many of the times when we’re working
with individuals, we will provide them with a visual schedule,
and so this can also tie in with communication strategies so that
you can point and communicate that way. Again, give the employee a time to demonstrate
their understanding, and as Whitney had mentioned
before, a strategy that we use a lot of the time is tell the
individual what’s expected. Show them what’s expected. Do it,
and give them the opportunity to do that as well so that they
can demonstrate understanding. Many of the individuals that we work with,
again, have social challenges, and there can be difficulty reading
social cues, facial expressions, and body language, maybe
unaware of social norms, especially in the workplace, shaking
hands, greetings. Is this the type of atmosphere where we’re going
to hug? Some things that we come across, even just after
a long weekend coming back to work and saying, Whitney, I
missed you. And Whitney just keeps on walking. So maybe giving
instruction to say, when somebody says, I miss you, say,
thank you or I missed you, too. Being unaware of others’ perspectives, boundaries,
personal space, private, versus public, and appropriate,
versus inappropriate topics, what’s okay to talk
about at home, versus what’s okay to talk about in the break room?
A lot of these kind of overlap. One of the individuals that we work with had
a very difficult time understanding social norms, others’ perspectives,
and reading social cues so working in a hospital,
we were in an elevator, and there was a man in a wheelchair
there who had been amputated. And when we’re in the elevator,
she keeps looking over at the man and wants to say something.
And I’m going, hmm- mm. And all of a sudden, we hear, well, I
have my legs. And so that’s, you know, something that we wanted
to address, and if the nonverbal and the others’ perspectives
were there, we probably would have been able to get around
that situation a little bit easier, at least waited until the
individual is off the elevator. What’s okay to talk about at home, versus
what’s okay to talk about in the break room? When you’re at home
and you have a conflict with your mom, then that’s something
that you really want to try to keep at home. A lot of the
times we tell the people that we’re working with to keep your
social problems at home. When you get to work, put your work
hat on, and it’s time to be professional here. So when we’re in
the break room, it’s okay to talk about sports or the weather or
pop culture, you know, what you’re going to do this weekend,
but we want to stay away from saying things like, well, I lost
my computer time so I bit my mom this weekend. Things like that,
what’s appropriate, what’s inappropriate, talking about our personal
needs can also be inappropriate. And, again, we want to be
really direct and say, this is not an appropriate place to speak
about this, and give the individual a time or an outlet where
they could talk about that. Some social strategies that we used, again,
are the concrete directions and expectations. Be clear and
to the point. Social stories, how to handle social situations
and concurrent feelings so many of the people
that we work with, we have written social stories for. A social
story may be how to deal with something unusual or unfamiliar,
uncomfortable situation such as when your ride to work is
late. So this is somewhere that you could go and rely on the
job coach or the family member or support staff to write the
social stories so that as the employer, you shouldn’t feel like
you have to be coming up with this. But to write a story
that would be read by the individual, when I arrive to work, even
if I am late, I clock in, and so you go through the routine
so that the individual reads it and can help them to process
how to work through a social situation. And again, the use of modeling, role play,
and practice is very important. We’re going to say that in
the workplace, this can be a great way to help the individual
to be more successful. So if the individual’s job requires them to
speak with the public sometimes to practice with them. Have
them practice with their supervisor or co-workers, even family
members. Role play and practice different situations and different
circumstances so that the individual can learn how to respond
in those situations. If — it may not be so much as, you know,
if this happens, then this is how you solve the problem, but
teaching the individual that if this happens, then the
way that I solve the problem is by going to get a manager or going
to get a nurse, and so practicing those type of things, as
well as so much as practicing, you know, how to shake hands,
how to greet someone, how to smile when, you know, and say, have
a nice day. Another area is behavior challenges, and this
can be very frustrating for employers and co-workers to
deal with because when an individual is exhibiting a behavior,
this behavior serves a function, and it may feel like a
personal attack or a way for the individual with autism to be disruptive
in the workplace, but it’s not intentional to hurt
you. It’s not an attack on the employer. It’s not to offend
the co-worker. Every behavior that we have serves a function,
even when I sit here and say nothing, I am communicating
something so we have to figure out what is this behavior communicating
to me. Generally, the functions of behavior are attention,
to escape from something, to obtain something tangible,
for sensory input, or attenuation of pain so we need to work
with the individual to say — to look at them, observe what’s happening,
and then try to figure out is the individual trying to
gain attention by exhibiting this behavior. Are they saying
that they can’t do it because they’re trying to escape from the
task because they don’t want to do it, or maybe they do not
completely understand what they need to do? Do they want to gain
something tangible, something to eat, you know, anything like
that? Sensory, sensory input, the way that something feels or attenuation
of pain, again, may be communicating to you that something’s
bothering me. Something hurts, and this is my way of
communicating that to you because, again, we have to remember that
verbal and expressive communication may be limited. So some strategies when people are exhibiting
challenging behaviors at work, I’m going to get a little
bit more into workplace behaviors and challenges as well,
but some quick ones would be the first and next card. Oftentimes,
we have found that transition periods are the most difficult
for individuals with autism so that time when you just clock in
to work or lunch time or have a break, what we notice is that these
are unstructured periods of time, and the individuals that
we work with, particularly individuals with autism, really
like to have structure and routine. It’s the comfort of
knowing what’s going to come next. So a strategy to use would be to have a card,
and on one side it says “first,” and one side says, “next.”
And just to write first, you are going to clock in. Next, you’re
going to wash your hands. So it just is a visual or written
support to say this is what you’re going to do first. This
is what you’re going to do next. And it can help to comfort the
individual and to establish that routine. Another is the Premack principal which we
may call “Grandma’s Rule” so that can say, if you complete all
of your schedule today, then at the end of the day, you can
have 15 minutes to talk to your favorite co-worker about the
sports game that happened last night. The Premack principal
can be used with a tangible reinforcement as well, but if the
individual wants to — if the behavior — we’ve decided that
the behavior is to seek attention, then we want to use the Premack
principle and couple it with whatever function the individual
was trying to achieve. So if it’s for attention, if you
do this, then you will get attention from this person. If it’s for
— to escape from something, if you do this, then maybe you
don’t have to do it the next day or something like that, or, again,
it could be something tangible. So we want to give choices to the individual
as well. These are adults, employees, and when we are employees,
a lot of the time, we have some control over what we’re
doing in a day. We may not have that much, but if there’s a list
of things that need to get done in a day, give the individual
some input so that they can choose what their schedule is
going to be. That’s going to create, you know, a sense of ownership,
and, like, this is my job. You know, I chose this. It can
be very empowering for the individual to feel like they know what’s
coming, and they chose what’s coming next. And behavior strategies, again, we want to
use clarification. Clarification may be something to say that
in this particular environment, we need to clarify that this
is a rule for this environment. This is a rule that at home,
you can, you know, you can talk for 25 minutes about Yu-Gi-Oh!. However,
in this environment, we are going to have to talk
about Yu-Gi-Oh! for one minute and then get back to work so clarifying,
you know, what the expectations are. This is an area of sensory challenges, and
this is really difficult for me to explain, but we found
an article. It’s from a book called “Ten Things Every Child with
Autism Wishes You Knew” by Ellen Notbohm, and I’m going to read
a little piece from this to describe what sensory challenges
might feel like. “My sensory perceptions are disordered. Sensory
integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to
understand, but it is arguably the most critical. This means that
the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of every
day that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me.
The very environment in which I have to live often
seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn and belligerent to you, but
I am really just trying to defend myself. Here is why a simple
trip to the grocery store may be hell for me. My hearing may be hyperacute. Dozens of people
are talking at once. The loudspeaker, booms today’s special.
Music whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and
cough. A coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches.
Babies wail. Carts creek. The fluorescent lighting hums.
My brain can’t filter all the input, and I’m in overload.
My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. Because I am visually
oriented, this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The
fluorescent light is not only too bright, it buzzes and hums.
The room seems to pulsate, and it hurts my eyes. All this affects
my vestibular and (indiscernible) senses, and now, I can’t
even tell where my body is in space.” So imagine what that would feel like going
to the grocery store which really is a simple, routine trip
a lot of the time and feeling all this input that can be so
disruptive to an individual. One of the ladies that I worked
with worked in an area that had been painted yellow. And I talked
to her one day and said, you know, how’s everything going.
She said, oh, it’s fine. I finally got used to the new paint.
I said, what do you mean? She said, well, I came in one day and
the walls were painted blue. It was killing my eyes. Now,
I think they chose blue because that’s generally a calming color,
but for this particular individual, it was really disruptive
and actually hurt her eyes. So, as you heard, processing
incoming sensory stimuli could be very difficult so we want
you to consider what does your workplace feel like. What are the
noises, the smells? What type of people? How many people are around
in your workplace? What machines are making noise?
Are there photocopiers going off? Are all different
people talking? Did somebody come in wearing, you know, cologne
or a lotion today? And what is the lighting? So consider your
workplace and consider what smells and what senses, you
know, the individual may be experiencing there. Processing a novel situation can also be difficult.
Again, we’ve said that the people that we’re working
with like routine so we want to tell them what’s coming. So
if being on the job requires that you put on plastic gloves or
have a uniform that may be itchy or requires you to wear a belt,
we want to prepare the individual that this situation may be
uncomfortable and to practice and prepare for what’s coming, as
well as responding to the sensory environment. Some strategies that we could use to alleviate
some of these sensory challenges include structuring the
physical environment. Again, considering your space, what really
needs to be there? Organize it. Reduce clutter in the area so
that each space serves a function. The same way that me saying
too many words can be distracting or overwhelming is the
same way that a space that has too many things that don’t serve
a function can be overwhelming for an individual. And, again, consider your physical barriers,
lights. Have the individual maybe work with similar staff that
they already know or have an introduction to the person. If
there’s a way, I mean, sometimes the fluorescent lights can be really
awful so if there’s a way to structure the area where
the person’s working with a lamp, even a lamp that they can bring
in from home, to provide comfort, that can be helpful as well. Limit the amount of people in the space or
in the immediate area. It’s great to work around co-workers.
We understand that. We want the individuals to be socially integrated
as well, but the chatter that can come with that can be
a lot, and if there’s too much happening, that might be something
to consider. Again, that’s going to be very individualized because
somebody else might like to work around a lot of people
in their space. Again, we want to be aware of how you approach
the individual. So as I mentioned before, if somebody
doesn’t like to be touched, then you don’t want to go ahead
and touch them when you’re first meeting them so approach
the individual from the front and speak to them clearly instead
of shouting from across the room, hey, I need you to go make
a copy over there, Whitney. Because what she might have only
heard was Whitney so be aware of how you’re approaching the individual.
And, again with this, you know, obtain input from the
caregivers and support staff on what sensory strategies that
may be helpful at home or in other environments. Coping mechanisms can be something very simple,
even just having a Ziploc bag and something, you know,
to move your hand on, but, again, that’s going to be very individualized
so it’s a good time to seek support from the people
who know the individual best, as well as the individual
to find out from them what’s going to be calming. In addition to the behavioral, sensory, and
communication challenges and strategies that we’ve already
talked about today, I wanted to highlight some specific workplace
challenges that may arise. And these are ones that we have
experienced across many different environments. The first one
is accepting correction then flexibility which can be both
sided, meaning that it’s flexibility on the side of the individual,
as well as flexibility on the side of the employer, understanding
criticism, versus constructive criticism, understanding the
professional hierarchy and the culture of the workplace, and
then challenges with personnel. So some strategies that we have used, this
might be a good place to include the job coach and support
staff on designing and implementing any of these strategies,
but these have been helpful in dealing with many of the challenges.
The first one is behavioral rehearsal. And I’m going to kind
of couple behavioral rehearsal and defining abstract concepts.
Accepting correction can be an abstract concept so with behavioral
rehearsal, we break that down into — we define it and break
it down into steps. So what is accepting correction? Accepting
correction means that I stop. I listen to my supervisor.
I say, okay, ask a question, and then go do it. So what we would
do is to take those steps and put them on a card, either
visual or written card, and have co-workers, family members,
the supervisor, job coaches, individuals, different individuals,
to come up and ask the person, hey, how do I accept correction. A lot of the time, it’s very difficult to
help someone when they already feel frustrated and so with behavioral
rehearsal, you’re teaching them how to accept correction
on a time where they’re not being corrected so that when they
actually have to accept that correction, you could say, just
like we practiced. You know, what are the steps? Another one is self-monitoring. This is giving
basically the individual a checklist to say, yep, I did
all of these things, and I did them well, or I did them correctly.
So self-monitoring can start with your morning routine. I woke
up. I brushed my teeth. I washed my face. I combed my hair,
and I picked up my ID badge. So that could be you’re checking off,
you’re monitoring that yes, I did these things. Self-monitoring
does not need to be really a schedule of checklist like that.
It can also be when I went to work, I followed the rules. I only
ate my lunch. And you’re monitoring yourself on your behaviors
as well. Another thing that is extremely important
are visual supports, visual supports in the form of the
behavioral rehearsal tool, visual supports in the form
of schedules, or the self-monitoring list, or the first/next card
that we had talked about before. Schedules can be your entire
day schedule. Schedules can be, you know, from the point
that you clock in to the point that you clock out at work, and
you can also break it down into minischedules on this is what I
do for this particular task so it’s a step-by-step instructions for
each task. Again, practicing and having consistency are
so critical that it’s really important that we educate the
team, the team of people that work side-by-side with the individual
with a disability or just the entire team so that
not only do they understand what autism is but that they understand
this particular individual. Many of the people
that we work with might know somebody with autism and feel like
they know all about autism, but they need to take the time
to get to know this individual and what works for that particular
individual. So it’s great to educate the team on autism-specific,
you know, in general, as well as this particular individual
uses these supports which can really come in handy later
on for troubleshooting and redirecting to the task
at hand. So we really thank you for your time. This
is a page that just listed off some resources that we used
for this presentation so feel free to consult these
resources. And if you have additional questions, please post them
on the Web board. Thank you. [End of Video]

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