Title

A New Challenge for an Ever-Expanding Group: Trauma and Person Having Autism Spectrum Disorder

First Presenter's Institution

Slippery Rock University

Second Presenter's Institution

Slippery Rock University

Third Presenter's Institution

Slippery Rock University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Slippery Rock University

Fifth Presenter's Institution

n/a

Location

Harborside East & West

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

The effectively teach students having Autism, safety and security is fundamental to establishing a environment conducive for skill building. Communication and social delays pose unique obstacles for educators who attempt to process demands and communicate expectations. These barriers can lead to frustration which can translate into problem behavior. Therefore, educators need understand the unique communicative and social characteristics of these learners to effectively prevent significant problem behavior and consequent restrictive or averse procedures to maintain safety.

Understanding the strengths, needs and learner profiles of students having Autism is critical for student success. These organic differences should be regarded as nonnegotiable variables that an educator should accommodate for as opposed to expecting students to assimilate to over time or exposure to interventions. While compensatory skills can developed, educators are urged to keep perspective on these organic differences and foster skills to understand these differences as opposed to a having a philosophy of eliminating them.

Brief Program Description

We know there are many students having ASD in schools. These students struggle with communication, socializing and often present odd behavioral patterns. What is the culmination of these challenges? It’s levels of trauma that for some, are approaching significant levels. This presentation explores what trauma is for students with ASD, its triggers and how educators can prevent and reduce trauma.

Summary

The authors will present information on how trauma affects learners with autism spectrum disorders using data collected from structured surveys, interviews and discussions with focus groups including educators and students having ASD. Data was collected from the western region of Pennsylvania, a region with considerably higher diagnosis rates for autism spectrum disorders in comparison to national averages (Shea, 2014). Specific questions explored include: What types of situations do students and educators regard as traumatizing? How can the educational environment reduce the chance for trauma? What are the interventions that are seen as the most helpful to process traumatic events?

Through the information collected to answer these research questions, the presenters will provide attendees information on the definition of trauma as described by students and educators sampled. Specific attention will be given to exploring the sensory and social variables that affect student’s perception of trauma. Information will be provided to help educators prevent trauma within there own instructional environments. Attendees will be presented with practical skills and interventions to process trauma, including supporting safety and crisis management. Finally, attendees will be presented with steps to design a trauma sensitive learning environment as well as promote advocacy for learners having ASD to reduce the chance for future exposure to traumatic experiences.

Evidence

Authors utilize recommended qualitative assessment procedures like surveys, structured interviews and focus group discussion in the pursuit of collecting data that is representative of the trends and themes occurring in daily lives of these learners and their educators.

Authors will expand upon the existing body of work on trauma informed care (TIC) (see Hodas, 2006) as well as utilize established assessment tools from the Integrated Self- Advocacy curriculum (see Paladiz, 2009) to address research questions.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Eric J. Bieniek, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. He is also a licensed behavior specialist in the state of Pennsylvania (LBS), nationally certified psychologist (NCP) and board certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Bieniek has a range of educational, clinical and supervisory experiences supporting the needs of learners having autism spectrum disorders and similar neurological, behavioral and emotional disorders across the lifespan in public, private educational settings as well as residential, community and vocational programs. Dr. Bieniek has also served as a curriculum developer for higher education and program developer for vocational and community programs for transition age learners. Finally, Dr. Bieniek serves as an independent evaluator and expert witness supporting families and families faced with due process disputes.

Dr. Matthew Erickson is a faculty member in the Special Education Department at Slippery Rock University. He received his undergraduate degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University. He earned his Master's degree in Education with Principal Certification from California University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a doctorate in Education from Youngstown State University. Dr. Erickson was a special education teacher and also served as a principal in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas. Dr. Erickson does work throughout Pennsylvania in public schools in the areas of positive behavior supports, special education law and procedures, and instructional strategies. He has recently published articles in the International Journal of Special Education, and the Journal of College Teaching & Learning.

Dr. Rineer-Hershey is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Special Education at Slippery Rock University as well as the Coordinator for the Community Programs for Americans with Disabilities (CPAD) program. She graduated from Millersville University in 2003 with a dual certificate in special and elementary education. She earned her M.Ed. in Special Education as well as her teaching certification in English as a Second Language from Eastern Mennonite University in 2006. Dr. Rineer-Hershey then went on to complete her Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership & Instructional Management from Robert Morris University in 2010. She teaches graduate and undergraduate special education courses as well as advises all the students enrolled in the Special Education Transition Program. Dr. Rineer-Hershey has taught for Slippery Rock University since August 2014. Prior to that time, she worked for California University of Pennsylvania for 2 years as an Assistant Professor in the Early, Middle and Special Education Department. Additionally, she was a special education teacher in the public schools for 5 years and also worked in the Technical Training and Assistance Network for the Pennsylvania Department of Education for 2 years. Her research interests include the areas of transition services, inclusive practices, co-teaching as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her research experience is greater in the area of Qualitative and Mixed Method research designs.

Dr. Robert Isherwood is an Associate Professor for the Department of Special Education at Slippery Rock University as well as the Graduate Programs Coordinator for the Department. He earned an Undergraduate Degree in Special Education with a Minor in Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University in 1990. He earned his M.Ed. in Special Education and School Leadership with a Principal Certification from The University of Pittsburgh in 1996. He then earned a Doctorate Degree in Administration and Policy Study from The University of Pittsburgh along with a PA Letter of Eligibility for Superintendents in 2004. Dr. Isherwood was an emotional support teacher in special education for 10 years in public schools and served as a principal in two school districts in Pennsylvania. He also served on the Butler Area School Board for a four year term. He received the United Way's Red Apple Award in Education in 2007 for outstanding teaching and community service in Butler County, where he lives. Dr. Isherwood is also a consultant on Special Education Initiatives in the areas of inclusion, special education law, differentiated teaching practices and data driven instructional practices for public schools in Pennsylvania. He has co-authored a book titled "Co-Teaching in Your School Using the Co-design Model” in 2013 as well as written several articles appearing in peer reviewed journals on co-teaching and inclusive school practices. He is also an editor for the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research. Recently, Dr. Isherwood served as the Director of Pupil Services during the 2013-14 School year at Sto Rox School District. He is currently consulting for the Montour School District as the Director of Special Education for the 2014-15 school year. His research interests include neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood; organization behavior/learning; diffusion of innovations; socio-technical systems theory; and neuroscience education. Dr. Isherwood prefers to communicate via email.

Keyword Descriptors

Autism, Social, Communication, Restrictive procedures, Physical management, trauma experiences

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 5:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 4:00 PM Mar 7th, 5:30 PM

A New Challenge for an Ever-Expanding Group: Trauma and Person Having Autism Spectrum Disorder

Harborside East & West

We know there are many students having ASD in schools. These students struggle with communication, socializing and often present odd behavioral patterns. What is the culmination of these challenges? It’s levels of trauma that for some, are approaching significant levels. This presentation explores what trauma is for students with ASD, its triggers and how educators can prevent and reduce trauma.