The Indiana Resource Center for Autism has some amazing trainings. I was lucky enough to attend one just in time for our Case Conference Committee. As we all know, autism challenges a child's social skills. Schools, with limited time and resources, assign value to social skills training. As any parent will tell you that equals 15 minutes of social skills training every two weeks. Right?
There is a study out there suggesting 30 hours a week isn't enough! If you work extensively with autism, you know that every moment of the day has some opportunity for social skills training. 30 hours shouldn't be that hard to reach- if we're creative. Teachable moments occur all the time.
Another surprising thing I learned was that teacher gender may matter. This related to my own experience in the classroom. When teaching kids to be socially adept and maneuver into a conversation, I would often teach them to interrupt me politely with a hand on my arm. How girly is that! Obviously, I need a new strategy for the guys.
The trainings were led by IRCA staff such as Dr. Cathy Pratt and Scott Bellini. If you get a chance to go, I say jump at it. April 9th, Dr. Bellini is giving another conference on video self-modeling. This is a method we intend to try with our son, showing him how he looks successfully completing a task or behavior. The study on video self-modeling, Increasing Social Engagement in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders using Video Self-Modeling, has been published in School Psychology Review.