Amanda Boutot Discusses Autism

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    • 00:04

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT: So autism is a neurological disorderthat affects a person's socialization, communication,and creates some stereotyped behaviors.The autism spectrum is sort of a newish term.It's only been around for the last decade or two.And it really depends on who you talk toand which diagnostic criteria you're talking about.

    • 00:28

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But, in general, we're talking about a spectrum of disordersfrom very low-functioning, lower-functioning, nonverbal,requiring a lot of supports for daily living, all the wayto very high-functioning individuals with whatwe might call high-functioning autism or Aspergersyndrome, who have average-- or usually above-average-- IQs,and fully functioning with just some social deficits.

    • 00:51

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So our view of autism has changed quite a bit over time,actually.It was first discovered, if you will, in the early 1940s.And both the low-functioning and the high-functioning Aspergerwere discovered at the same time.And they weren't widely understood, of course,because you didn't have a real good understandingof any disability at that time.

    • 01:11

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And for the first few decades, I would say,many decades, of our understanding of autism,it was believed to be largely environmentally caused.So, in particular, in the beginning,they thought refrigerator mothers caused autism.So a cold, unfeeling mom that didn't love the child a lothad created a situation where the childhad turned into themselves and were shutting outthe outside world.

    • 01:37

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Of course, we know that's not true anymore.But the interesting thing with autism in particular,it's such an elusive disorder, wherethere's so much we don't know about it.And the people with autism are such a heterogeneous group--no two are usually the same-- that it'seasy for theories of cause to come in and shapethe way we treat autism.

    • 02:01

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And what I usually have seen over historyis that the theory of the cause will often drive the treatment.So when it was refrigerator mothers, for example,the treatment was very much removing kids from the home,teaching Mom to be more loving, those kinds of things.Of course, that didn't work, because that wasn't the cause.And so we've had a lot of changes.We've moved to a lot more biomedical treatment over time,and those kinds of things.

    • 02:25

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But I think what has been consistentlythe same is a misunderstanding of a verycomplex, mysterious disorder.One of the most important or critical things for teachersas consumers of science would be to make surethat they're focusing on true science,and not what's known as pseudoscience.

    • 02:45

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So pseudoscience is defined as somethingthat presents itself as legitimate,but that doesn't have any scientific backing.So true science is going to have controlled designs and repeatedstudies that show the same thing.And we see a lot of pseudoscience,especially in autism.It's just fraught with the fad and claims, grandiose claimsof cure or recovery that, so far, sciencehas not substantiated.

    • 03:16

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And people, I think, are very susceptible to that, especiallyparents, which I understand.They've got a child with a disorder that'svery inexplicable in many ways.And so they're looking for anythingthat might help fix that.Teachers fall into that trap as well.And I think that's a shame, because we'resupposed to be the experts.We're supposed to be the professionals.

    • 03:37

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: We really do need to be watchful and mindfulof those grandiose claims.If it sounds too good to be true,it probably is too good to be true.If it's only on the internet, or only in popular social media,then it's probably not true.So focusing more on the science, and tryingto avoid the pseudoscience, the pitfalls of the pseudoscience.

    • 03:59

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: The characteristics of autism are,as I said a moment ago, quite varied across individuals.But generally, what we're looking atare individuals who, on the lower end of the spectrum,are going to have some significant languagedelays-- both receptive language as well as expressive language.People who are on the high end of the spectrum,as far as language, are going to have difficultieswith more the pragmatics.

    • 04:22

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So understanding idioms and humor, and that kind of thing.There's also social difficulties.Certainly the higher end of the spectrum, the pragmaticsand those kinds of things, go with the social skills,the lack of social understanding and awareness.On the lower end, an aloofness.We have a lack of pretend play, particularlyin younger children and lower-functioning children.

    • 04:46

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And then we have what's known as the stereotypical behaviors.And so, again, more the lower end,we're talking about some motor stereotypes,a lot of times, large motor or fine motor.At the higher end of the spectrum,it looks a little bit more like rigidity.So insistence on sameness and routine, not really likingchange very much.

    • 05:07

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: We see that certainly a lot at the lower end also.And recognizing the symptoms.It's a behaviorally diagnosed disorder,so that you're diagnosed on the basis of youmeet certain criteria with these specific things,examples of which I just provided.And it's a classification disorder.

    • 05:31

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And people can be from very severe to not very severe.I think the best way to recognizeautism is to be looking at it in comparison to whatmight be typically developing, or appropriatefor a typically-developing child.So there's a range.Every little kid flaps when they get excited, right?But by the time they're six or seven,they've gotten over that.

    • 05:53

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So lots of little kids line up their toys.But if they are consistently and only lining up their toysand becoming very distressed when you unline them,then it's a little bit more severe.So it's just a little bit more severityof certain characteristics.In today's classrooms, teachers arevery likely to encounter a studenton some level of the spectrum.

    • 06:17

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: The most recent numbers from the CDCare 1 in 68 children have an autism spectrum disorder.And that translates to a lot of kids in the public schools.Whether or not they're going to be in a general educationinclusion classroom or they're goingto be in a more self-contained classroomis, obviously, dependent on the individual child and the schoolinvolved.But it's incredibly likely that anyone preparingto be a teacher right now will see a child with autismwithin the first few years, for sure.

    • 06:44

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Teaching children with autism and autism spectrum disorderscan have certain challenges, for sure.The chief among them would be because these children areso different, the way I like to say to my studentsis, if you've met one kid with autism,you've met one kid with autism.They're all very, very different.And because it's so enigmatic, wedon't have a lot of real clear-cut directionfor our teachers, in terms of there'sno magic pill to take that's going to work for every kid.

    • 07:15

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: I think that's the biggest challenge,is being able to recognize this individual studentand what his or her needs are specifically,and then finding that practice, that evidence-based practice,that's known to work for that particular issuein that particular situation.That can be very challenging, especially for new teachersor those newer to the field of autism.

    • 07:35

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But the benefits and the rewards are awesome.The kids are so cool.I've never met a kid that I didn't think,this is the greatest kid ever.They can be so, so much fun to work with.Part of the reason, I think, is because for manyof these students, they have so far to go.And they are so able to learn.

    • 07:57

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And I certainly don't mean that to say some other childrenare not.All children are, obviously, able to learn.But these students, when you find the right combinationof strategies and things that you've pulled togetherfor this student, and it clicks, it's so rewarding as teacherto watch them just really, really improve.It's just fantastic.And the parents are usually thankful.And it just makes your day so much better.

    • 08:20

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Right now, the National Professional Development Centerfrom the University of North Carolina in Charlottehas come out with their second listof evidence-based practices for students with autism.And there are 27 strategies listedon that list, which is great.That's up from 24.We're getting a lot better researchand a lot better understanding.

    • 08:42

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Again, the problem is that because no two students arethe same, you can't really apply the same strategyto every single student.And so, just in terms of real basics,there's a few things that are most, I would say,promising for most students.Usually the things that I recommend first.The first, always at the top of the list,is something called applied behavior analysis, whichis a very broad term that I can explain better in a moment.

    • 09:10

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But, essentially, it's many different waysof instructing the student.There are many different strategies,or what we call technologies, thatfall under the umbrella of ABA.And then also it's programming kinds of ways.So lots of databased instruction.Making sure that we're helping the studentto generalize the skills.

    • 09:30

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: That the skills we're teaching arethings the student really needs to learn, and so forth.That's probably the most important one,I think, to have in place.And then there's some other things.Visual supports are really very helpful.A lot of our students on the spectrumare much better at processing information visuallythan they are auditorily.So if you present it to them in a visual,they're more likely to be able to follow it and understandit and process it, and that kind of thing.

    • 09:54

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So a combination of, really, a lot of good visualsupports for those students who need them.And, also, the ABA is really what'sgoing to make a difference for most students.So for a little more detail on applied behavior analysis,the best way that I've heard it describedis a colleague of mine, Doctor Jason Travers,gave it to me this way.

    • 10:15

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: He said everybody understands medicine.And we understand the science of medicine.So you have pediatrics, and you have oncology,and you have geriatrics, and that sort of thing.And that's the science and the study of medicine,and the understanding of an illness, and so forth.We also have medicine in the form of Sudafedand antibiotics and Vicodin, and whateveryou take to treat whatever sort of illness you have.

    • 10:38

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And ABA is largely the same way.We have the science of ABA, whichis based on the principles of behavior.So that reinforcement increases behavior,punishment decreases behavior.And also in the programming side of it,wanting to have a focus on meaningful, appropriatebehaviors, data collection and analysis,to make sure that what we're doing is effective.

    • 11:01

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But then on the treatment side, there are all these differentwhat we call technologies or strategies.So discreet trial instruction, shaping, chaining, modeling,incidental teaching, all of these kinds of thingsthat you can pick and choose, to treatbased on what kind of excess or deficit behavioryou're dealing with.

    • 11:22

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: In terms of what is ABA, a lot of peopledo think that it's just somethingused for children with autism.And that's actually not true.It's used broadly across a lot of different fields.And it's actually quite complicated concept.But in general, it's very much a science and a treatment.

    • 11:43

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: The individual education plan is the documentthat is used in one of two ways, dependingon the level of the student's functioning.One way for more lower-functioning childrenon the spectrum, for example, wouldbe a separate curriculum for those students.So if they are unable to participate fullyin the general education curriculum,we'll write instructional goals and objectives of skillsthat we want to teach them through the year.

    • 12:09

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And that will become their personalizedindividualized curriculum.For our higher-functioning studentswho may be on the general curriculumthat everyone else is on, their IEPis going contain modifications.So, maybe, additional testing time,or a change in materials in some way,as well as possibly some other objectivesto supplement the general education curriculum.

    • 12:32

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So for our students with Aspergers,we might have a social skills objective or twothat we use to help supplement what they're already learningin their seventh grade English class.Children with autism spectrum disorderscan most certainly be integrated into a general educationclassroom successfully.The trick is getting all the piecesof that puzzle put together just right.

    • 12:55

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Certainly, you have to have the buy-in of the general educationteacher, and the support from your administrative staff--your principal, and your vice principal,and special education administrators.The key issues are finding those strategiesthat were going to help that child be the most successful.What we want is for the child to not just be there physically,but to be there, really included,in what's going on in the classroom.

    • 13:23

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: I went into a sixth grade class one timewhere kids were said to be fully included.And they were actually in the backof the room behind a partition coloring pumpkins,while the rest of the kids were working on writing.That's not inclusion.That's just sharing the same airspace.And so what we really want is to beable to find a way to help that child besuccessful working on their IEP objectivesor the Gen Ed curriculum with the greatest successwith the other students.

    • 13:50

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Some of the challenges in helping a student with autismbe successful in a general education classroomjust include helping that child to fit in.So that they aren't seen as an outsiderby the rest of the students.For many of our lower-functioning students,one of the main reasons that they're even in the Gen Edclassroom might actually be for socialization--so that they can observe other students,make friends, and be accepted into the greatersociety with the goal of that continuing through adulthood.

    • 14:18

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But if we brought them into the classroomand the other students see them as an outsider,that's very counterproductive to that goal.For our higher-functioning students,we want them to not only be able to fit in, but also,then, to be successful, so that they'reable to do the same work, to be seen as a contributingmember of that classroom, and to beable to do well on the Gen Ed curriculumwith as few supports as possible.

    • 14:41

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So those are the challenges that make it a little harder.But it just requires a lot of real individualized,personalized attention to what those individual students needto make it work.Some of the benefits of general education for studentswith autism-- there are many.For the students without disabilities,the benefits have been shown to bejust greater acceptance, greater understanding of peoplewith any kind of difference, not just autism in particular.

    • 15:10

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And with that comes the real benefitfor the student with autism-- that he or she hasthe opportunity, then, to make friends,and to be seen as a contributing member of the class,and fitting in, and that sort of thing.Certainly for students who are on the higherend of the spectrum that are on the general educationcurriculum, we want them to be with their general ed peersas much as possible, because that'swhere the content area experts often are.

    • 15:35

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: The Gen Ed teachers.And we want them to be able to experience the same instructionas everyone else.In life, jobs and social opportunities and leisureopportunities don't present themselvesin a self-contained sort of way.They present themselves very included with the restof society.So as much as our students can participatein inclusive education, they'll be more successful, hopefully,as adults in inclusive society.

    • 16:01

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: General education and special education teacherscan really facilitate the successful inclusionof a student with autism in several ways.The very first way is to make surethat that student's needs are being met.So that if this is a student who is a visual learner, makingsure we have the visuals-- unobtrusive, as much aspossible, but that we have the visuals to support that childso they can make predictions and know the expectations going in.

    • 16:26

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: For students that have a need for sameness and routine,we want to make sure that we have the agendasthat a lot of middle schools and high schools use.Those are great tools for our students,because they provide them with, again, that predictability,knowing what's coming, but also preparingfor changes and things that are a little different.So making sure that we're putting the supports in placefor that child's needs to be met is first and foremost.

    • 16:50

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Once that's there, teachers can do a lot of different things.Younger grades, they can even justhave literature in the room.Children's books.There are so many children's books about childrenwith autism and Asperger syndrome at all grade levels.So just having that literature there for awareness.We've known classroom teachers who've brought peoplein to talk about and prepare the class for a student,maybe, with a bit of a difference, whether it's autismor something else, with parent permission.

    • 17:19

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Just making sure that that child is included.So when you're teaching and you'regiving an example with a student's name,you can give that child's name as an example,just reminding everybody, yes, he's here,he's part of the class.Having them help out.Giving them some of the jobs in the classroom--elementary kids especially usuallyhave jobs, and that kind of thing.

    • 17:39

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And just making sure that everybodysees the teacher seeing that studentas a member of the class, and not that special ed teacher'skid or that paraprofessional's kid.That's sort of the downside, is whenthey do come with adult support, very oftenthe students think that, well, that's his teacher,and this is my teacher.

    • 17:59

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And what we really want to see is the studentsthinking that she's everybody's teacher or he's everybody'steacher.There are so many common misconceptions about autismin general and students with autism.For the lower-functioning kiddos, a lot of times, just alack of understanding of just how very smart they are.

    • 18:20

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: They're low-functioning in the sensethat they need a lot of support right now because they haven'tlearned to do certain things for themselves.But the goal is that they learn thatand we have the tools to teach them.We just figure out which tool works best for that student.There's a misunderstanding that students with autismdon't want to make friends, or don'twant to socialize or be a part of a group.

    • 18:42

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And while certainly there are somethat do appear to prefer to be alone,I have met several students who really very much wouldlike to be a part of a group and be part of friends.I worked with a 14-year-old with Aspergerswho his very first thing to me was, I just want a friend.I'd love to have a girlfriend, but I reallyjust want a friend.How do I do that?

    • 19:02

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Tell me how to make a friend.So I think there's a misunderstandingthat because they're sort of standoffish from time to time,that that means that they prefer that.And that's not necessarily true.Or that they can't make friends.And that's also not true.Just a little bit harder, sometimes, for them.The best thing that teachers can do to address misconceptionsabout students with autism is if theyhear an adult make a comment that's not accurate,to point it out, that that's actually not accurate.

    • 19:31

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: I also think that a problem that some adults have,I think more so than kids, because Idon't know that children really think in this way,but adults will think that because they'veknown a child that's had autism, that everybody with autismis like that particular child that they know.And that's unfortunate.

    • 19:52

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And they shouldn't think that way.So probably the best thing that people could dois to just read and learn and stay up-to-date.If you are a teacher and you have a studentwith autism in your class, make yourselfknowledgeable about autism.Don't make assumptions about your own knowledge.And don't make assumptions about the studenton the basis of what you've heardor what you've experienced in the past.

    • 20:15

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: But make yourself educated about the disorderin its present tense.Because, like I said, it's changing all the time.Information is changing constantly.And so you need to stay up-to-date.What I'm saying today may not be true tomorrow.Universal design for learning is really all about access.So making sure that the general education classroomis accessible for students with disabilities as well as thosewithout disabilities.

    • 20:40

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Universally accessible for everybody.In terms of students with autism,I already think that, particularly the youngergrades, they're doing a pretty good job with visual supportsfor students, making behavioral expectationsand educational instructional expectations knownin advance to students, with agendas on the board,and those kinds of things.

    • 21:02

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: It gets a little less universal, if you will,as we go into secondary schools.But the use of agendas for our students,particularly in secondary levels, can be really helpful.And every student will have those.And again, having objectives on the board for the students,homework to copy down, any kind of visual like that.And setting expectations, preparing students for change.

    • 21:25

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Those are usually the bigger thingsthat are universal that can help.Not just our students with autism, but alsothe other students as well.It is incredibly important that the teacher and the familybe on the same page in terms of instruction,and goals, and prioritizing goals,and determining what kind of strategies to be used.

    • 21:48

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Students with autism, I've found just anecdotallythat a lot of their parents are very, verywell educated on autism.They've done their homework.They're reading everything.They're looking at everything online.They've got their hands on every book, and so forth.So they often have a lot of information,sometimes more than the teacher-- whichcan be unnerving, I think, to a teacher,to feel like this parent knows so much more.

    • 22:08

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: The parent is the expert on their child,and that should be respected by the teachers, for sure.Few things a teacher can do from their perspective.Number one is to make sure that they are, themselves, educated.So go ahead and read all the same thingsand look at all the same things.But I think it's also incredibly importantthat teachers remain the professional.

    • 22:29

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: In other words, remain the educational expert.Which means, from my perspective,you really need to, as a teacher-- both a special edand a general ed teacher-- you needto be what I call a consumer of science.Which means that you're not just listening to the JennyMcCarthys of the world in the popular mediaand the social media, and what they're saying about autismand what works.But you're really looking at the evidence,and what the research and the real science is tellingus works and doesn't work.

    • 22:54

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Because very often, that's not the level of depththat, maybe, a family has gone to.Very rarely is a family going and picking upa professional journal and reading some scientific study.But they're reading the response to it on the internet,or they're reading the response to it in their local paper.And so the teacher needs to understand the sciencepart of it, so that they can bettercommunicate to the parents if they ask.

    • 23:15

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Or to be able to provide that information.So the teacher needs to be knowledgeableand needs to be that consumer of science.Teachers also need to make sure that theykeep the lines of communication open.At all different levels and all different disabilities,a lot of parents have faced, in the course of their child'sdiagnosis, difficulty of some kind.

    • 23:36

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And parents of children with autismoften report a great deal of adversity.They have difficulty getting their childa diagnosis, getting someone said to tell themwhat's going on and what it is.And then even when they get it, they're told,well, we don't really know what caused it.We're really not sure how to treat it.It can be all very confusing and very daunting to the family.So many times by the time they get to the educational system,they've beaten their heads up against multiple doors justtrying to get there.

    • 24:03

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And so if a parent is, maybe, not as forthcoming, maybe notas excited about you as the teacher as youwould like, for the teacher to remember that it's probably notabout you.It's very much more likely about somethingthat's happened in the past.But they can break down those barriersby being honest, being open, being knowledgeable, makingthemselves more knowledgeable.

    • 24:31

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: I worked with a young man who was being includedinto a second grade classroom when he was seven years old.And then his second grade teacher--he'd never been included before.He had a low-functioning autism, nonverbal.And his mom, to this day-- and he'san eighth-grader-- she still talks about this second gradeteacher, because she called mom on the phone and said,I really would like for you to write to meand tell me everything about him.

    • 24:59

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Tell me what his likes are.Tell me what his dislikes are.Tell me what he needs.Tell me everything you would likefor me to know about your son, and whatyour hopes and dreams are for him.And it was awesome.So she wrote this whole nice long list of things about himthat she wanted the teacher to know.And she still talks about that teacher to this day,because that teacher took the step forward to say,I want to know.

    • 25:23

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: Tell me what I need to know about him sothat I can help him the most.As a special education teacher, particularly whenyou're working in a more self-contained setting, sowith our lower-functioning students,you're much more likely to be working with paraprofessionalsin your classroom.And paraprofessionals are individuals who, oftentimes,are not classically trained as teachers.

    • 25:47

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: They're not certified as teachers.Sometimes they are, but very often they're not.And they're there to support the teacher.A lot of people sometimes call them a teacher's aide,but not really the same.Our paraprofessionals in our self-contained classroomsare very much acting in tandem with the teacher as a teacher.They provide a lot of instruction.They provide data collection.They provide the behavior management.

    • 26:07

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: They support our students in inclusion.They help to modify the Gen Ed curriculumand to provide the instruction in that setting.So they're really doing a lot of the same work as the teacher.And for a lot less money.So for a teacher, it can make it very difficult,because here's an individual that may nothave as much training, may not have as much understanding,and the teacher's expected to conveythat knowledge and that expertiseto the paraprofessional.

    • 26:34

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And that can be a tough one to do.I have met several teachers, first-year teachers, veryknowledgeable, master's degrees, know what they're doing.Paraprofessional's been working for 25 yearswith this same group of kids.Who is the expert in the room?Is it the certified teacher that's making twice as much?Or is it the veteran paraprofessionalwho loves these kids more than anythingand has dedicated her life to doing this?

    • 26:59

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: I think just having a mutual respectfor each other's experiences, each other's educationaltraining.Not being a know-it-all.It's very hard, maybe, not to be a know-it-all fresh outof your degree.But trying to take their advice or suggestions if theyhave them.A lot of times, these paraprofessionalsare spending more time with these kids,really, than the teachers are, because the teacher's runningaround supporting 12 children, while that paraprofessional'sresponsible for that one kid throughout the whole day.

    • 27:26

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So really respecting that individual's knowledgeand experience, and providing training where they need it,is very important.Don't assume that just because you've told them what to do,that they understand what to do.And another thing that I recommend to all of my studentswho are becoming teachers is that if you'rein a self-contained setting, that you reallyempower the other grownups in the room,whether it's other teachers or paraprofessionals or whoever,really empower them to be in charge of somethingfor the day.

    • 27:53

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: So I really recommend that they have a daily schedulefor the grownups-- not the kids, but the grownups--posted up somewhere for everybody to see.So it lists which grownup is working with which kid on whichobjectives, and where, and when, so that nobodyhas to run around saying, where do youwant me to take him next?What did you want her to do when she was finished with this?Everybody feels empowered and autonomous to knowwhat they're doing and what they'resupposed to be doing in.

    • 28:17

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And then it's much more likely that the students aregoing to get their needs met, because everybody'sdoing their job.Early intervention and early identificationare incredibly critical to our field right now.There's so much research that supportsthat the earlier that students receive effective instruction,the better the prognosis for them as they go through school.

    • 28:37

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: It's somewhat controversial, what that better interventionis, but we know that it's better than nothing, for sure.So the earlier we can identify children as having autism,the earlier we can intervene, and the more likelythey're going to be successful.The challenge lies in trying to findthose characteristics of autism early.

    • 28:59

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: And we're getting better as a field at recognizingthose things-- a lack of pretend play,a lack of joint attention, eye contacts, response to name.Those kinds of things are all thingsthat we've known for a while.And researchers are, I would say, franticallylooking for biomarkers to identify earlier and earlierso that we can get to them just as quickly as wecan with the intervention.

    • 29:24

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: In truth, in terms of big lessons in my career,I think the biggest one and the most important onewas just that all of them are different.All of the children are different.All of their families are different.And the children are different day to day.They're not just different one from the other.They're different day to day.And that's part of what I love about working in this field.

    • 29:45

      E. AMANDA BOUTOT [continued]: It's always different.It's always challenging.You can have a PhD and have been doing this for 20 years,and they will still surprise you and stump you.And you have to keep on your toesand thinking and learning all the time.

Amanda Boutot Discusses Autism

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Professor Amanda Boutot from Texas State University opens up to SAGE Publications about her experience and research in Special and Inclusive Education, including working with students with autism spectrum disorders, how to create an inclusive classroom environment, the role of paraprofessionals in the classroom, and more.

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Amanda Boutot Discusses Autism

Professor Amanda Boutot from Texas State University opens up to SAGE Publications about her experience and research in Special and Inclusive Education, including working with students with autism spectrum disorders, how to create an inclusive classroom environment, the role of paraprofessionals in the classroom, and more.

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