Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 2012 Newsletter

Examples of Antecedent Strategies -

Antecedent Strategy: Schedules -

Antecedent Strategy: Transition Warnings -

Antecedent Strategy: Priming -

Free Download: Trace the Train Track -

Free Materials! "The Napping House" Activities -

August Teacher of the Month -

August 2012 Positive Autism News -

Announcement! We only have 3 spots left in our next online training course on reducing meltdowns and difficult behavior. Save $50 by registering by August 31st!

Printable Version of Our Newsletter

We're announcing a new feature! A printer-friendly version of each month's newsletter will be available for a $1.00 donation in Positively Autism's store on Here's the August 2012 newsletter:

Friday, August 24, 2012

August Teacher of the Month: Tracey Déathe

Positively Autism wants to congratulate our first Teacher of the Month, Tracey Déathe! Here is what the parent who nominated this teacher had to say:

"Mrs. Deathe is the best teacher my son has had and is constantly going above and beyond the call of duty for her students.  She participates in so many activities so that her students have access to learn how to function within the community.  She takes her students on outings to the grocery store, restaurants, and for horse back riding within the community.  She also makes sure that every child in her classroom gets to participate in the Special Olympics which is very rare within the district.  Most only take a couple of students.  She makes sure they all get to go who are eligible by age.  I've seen Mrs. Deathe still be at school sometimes until 7 or 8 in the evening just to get what needs to be done for the next day ready.  She has also gone above and beyond to have a special holiday meal for Thanksgiving for all current students as well as those from years past.  I would like to see her rewarded for constantly putting in far above and beyond what other special education teachers within our district put in to make sure each and every student succeeds in meeting their individual goals."

We appreciate great teachers like Tracey Déathe! If you know a teacher who deserves to be recognized, please nominate him or her for Positively Autism's Teacher of the Month:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Free Materials! "The Napping House" Activities

Here are some activities to go with the cute story of "The Napping House." The focus is vocabulary from the story, as well as rooms/parts of a house.

Be sure to check out all of Positively Autism's theme activities for your lessons plans this school year!

Buy the book from and they will donate a percentage of your purchase to support Positively Autism!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Antecedent Strategy: Priming

Priming is a strategy that parents can use at home to help their children prepare for upcoming activities. As an antecedent intervention, priming is a research-supported intervention method for students with autism. The idea behind priming is to preview activities or information with a student before the student participates in that activity. Priming consists of three components: (1) it is conducted prior to an activitiy and should use the same materials, (2) priming should be a low-demand situation, focusing on tasks that are easy for the student, and (3) priming should incorporate frequent opportunities for reinforcement.

Since we know that many students with autism are more comfortable with routines and things that are familiar to them, one goal of priming is to help the student become more familiar and comfortable with activities that will be presented as school, an ABA clinic, a playgroup, or other settings.

Examples of priming including reading a book at home with a child that the child’s teacher will be reading at school that week or looking at pictures and talking about the zoo before a field trip. When choosing what to use priming with at home, look at the areas of school where the child shows the most problem behavior, difficulty paying attention, or academic difficulty. Going back to our above example, if a child has difficulty in circle time, parents could read the books and sing the songs with the child at home to prepare for doing these activities at school.

Here's a guide to priming with helpful examples:


"Priming as a Method of Coordinating Educational Services for Students with Autism" by L. K. Koegel, R. L. Koegel, W. Frea, and I. Green-Hopkins. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Volume 34 (2003).

"Including Children With Autism in General Education Classrooms: A Review of Effective Strategies" by J. K. Harrower and G. Dunlap. Behavior Modification, Volume 25, Issue 5 (2001).

"Teaching Preschool Age Autistic Children to Make Spontaneous Initiations to Peers Using Priming" by K. Zanolli, D. Daggett, and T. Adams. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Volume 26, Issue 4 (1996)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Antecedent Strategy: Transition Warnings

Transition warnings provide a warning of an upcoming transition (change to a new activity, having to stop watching a video to eat dinner, going to the store, going outside to recess, etc.).

A transition warning can be as simple as telling a child, “In 5 minutes, we will be putting away your cars to take a bath.” I unusually give a 5-minute and a 1-minute warning.

Another option to help a child know when the transition is coming is to use a visual timer, as pictured below.

Transition warnings can also be used with schedules by telling the child when the next item on the schedule is coming.

For more information about transition warnings, you can view this video from Autism Spot.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Antecedent Strategy: Schedules

A visual schedule is a visual representation of tasks to be completed. A series of tasks, events, or activities can be presented in one or more of the following ways:

As many individuals with autism learn much better with visual than with auditory input, visual schedules may be considered an effective method for teaching and communicating with students with autism. A picture schedule may be used to communicate a series of events that must be completed (such as a math worksheet, reading a book, then outside play), a daily schedule (such as breakfast, school, homework, outside play, dinner, bath, and bed), a school schedule (math, literature, science, P.E.), a reinforcement contingency (first work, then play), etc.

For more information about using schedules, please visit the past issues of our newsletter and view the video below:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Examples of Antecedent Strategies

In August, Positively Autism is continuing our series on using antecendent interventions to prevent problem behaviors. If you're new to Positively Autism, pleaes read our July newsletter issue to get a background on antecedent strategies.

Here are some examples of antecedent strategies:
  • Using a schedule.
  • Providing information about any changes in schedule.
  • Transition warnings.
  • Providing choices.
  • Enriching the learning environment by providing access to sensory stimuli (such as Play-doh to push with hands during a lesson) that serve the same function as a problem behavior.
  • Incorporating student interests into learning activities.
  • Interspersing acquisition and maintenance tasks.
  • Posting of clear classroom rules/expectations in the classroom.
We’ll provide information and resources for some of these strategies in our next blog posts.