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With autism growing at a rate of 10 – 17 percent each year, it is imperative that educators incorporate the necessary research-based strategies into their lessons and classroom environments, so that students with autism may be given an equal education in both a general education classroom and special education classroom. Scripture commands that we are treat everyone equally as we are all made in God’s image. Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (English Standard Version). Therefor it is important to apply any strategy that can help students with autism in their academic careers.

The environment in which a student is learning can make a great impact on their behavior and ability to focus on lessons and ideas. Antecedent-based interventions must often be used to create an environment for the student that is more conducive to the desired behaviors (Pierce, 2017). By eliminating distractions that may cause a child to lose focus or to act out in an inappropriate way, teachers can help curb undesirable behaviors and foster more desirable behavior.

A second research-based strategy that has been clinically proven to be effective is Discrete Trial Training (Pierce, 2017). Discrete Trial Training involves the teacher providing repeated instruction to the student. In addition to repetition it is important for the teacher to also explain the contingencies and to provide positive reinforcers (Pierce, 2017). Dr. Maegen Pierce presented Evidence of the research-based strategies in a seminar on addressing strategies regarding autism in education (Pierce, 2017).

A third research-based strategy that may need to be implemented for children who exhibit aggressive or violent behaviors is the Functional Behavior Assessment (O’neill, Albin, Storey, Horner, & Sprague, 2015). The Functional Behavior Assessment is intended to help educators gather data that can be used to evaluate a student’s behavior, and best determine a process to eliminate the student’s unwanted behaviors. The six steps to executing the functional behavior assessment are: describing the problem behaviors, identifying the antecedents, identifying the setting and situation that behavior occurs in, identifying the consequences of the unwanted behaviors, summarizing the behavior, and observing the direct behaviors. A functional behavior assessment is generally meant to be implemented in cases when student’s behavior has gone beyond a minor disruption and is classified as aggressive and violent (O’neill, et al., 2015). When a teacher is easily able to identify the students problematic behavior they can go back and look at the assessment notes to see if there is pattern. Quite often observing the pattern allows the teachers to know what needs to be eliminated from the classroom or lesson that will help adjust the student’s behavior (O’neill, et al. 2015).

Reference

Liberty University Custom: O’Neill, R. E., Albin, R.W., Storey, K., Homer, R. H., &

Sprague, J. R. (2015). Functional assessment and program development for problem behavior: A practical handbook (3rd ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage.

Pierce, M. (2015) Evidence-based teaching strategies for individuals with autism

spectrum disorder. Retrieved from https://www.cigna.com/static/www-cigna-com/docs/individuals-families/bhs-autism-2017-april-handout.pdf

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