International researcher Prof. Phil Stain shares some significant lessons he has learnt from over 45 years of research and operation of an inclusive program for young children with autism and their families (LEAP Preschool).
Lesson One: Being a part of an inclusive preschool and receiving specific instruction in skills needed to engage peers with ASD in social interactions seems to innoculate three to five year olds from developing negative stereotypes about people with disabilities.
Lesson Two: It has been said that if you do not accurately define a problem you will never solve it. I have come to the conclusion that the primary learning issue for children with ASD is not one of acquiring new skills but is one of applying skills at the right time and in the right place. In LEAP this means that we write objectives (goals) accordingly and continue to teach until the child can perform the new skill (e.g. color identification) in multiple, generalization contexts (e.g. selects the red pajamas she has chosen to wear; handed a peer a green bear that was requested).
Lesson Three: Hours of intervention, in and of itself, is a crude and relatively meaningless indicator of quality service or program intensity. I believe the real formula to quality is far more complex. It looks something like this:
Notice that there are multiplication signs in this formula, and like all multiplication equations when any one factor equals zero the sum equals zero!
Lesson Four: To do evidence-based practice in the early intervention field for children with ASD is to use multiple evidence-based practices! The fact is, however, that many name-brand models have a slavish adherence to one instructional approach. The problem is that no one instructional model works universally for all children for all developmental domains. In LEAP we ask this question: We want to teach Eric to use more words to express his wants (mand), what teaching tactic has the best evidence that it impacts verbal language in kids like Eric? If you ask such a questions across multiple premarin online pharmacy developmental domains you will produce a plan comprised of multiple strategies.
Phil Strain, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Denver
School of Education and Human Development
Phil began his career in the early intervention field not by choice. As a war resister during the Vietnam era, he spent a brief but enlightening 6 months in a federal correctional facility. When his “conviction” for refusing induction was overturned, he was assigned two years of alternative service as an early childhood special education teacher in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He graduated in psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and in no way was he prepared to teach. He quickly learned – on day one actually – that the purpose of his class was to preserve de facto racial segregation under the guise of special education. Stunningly ill-equipped, embarrassed, and humbled by his responsibilities he enrolled in his first education classes at Peabody College in nearby Nashville. The skills he acquired in these initial classes saved his psyche, inspired him to enroll the following year full-time, and made teaching a natural high! Over the next four years he completed his doctorate in Early Childhood Special Education, became committed to a life-time of scientific inquiry and found a particular passion for intervention research specific to young children with autism, young children with early onset problem behaviour and children’s social/emotional development.
Some highlights of his 45 year career included:
Further information on the LEAP Preschool: An Inclusive Model of Early Autism Intervention can be found here http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/explore/webinars/6.27.2012_tacsei_presentation.htm
Prof Phil Strain is a keynote speaker at the 2016 ECIA National Conference being held in Melbourne in September. For more information and to register see here https://aceo.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/ecia/ecia16