Case Study DE (Life Skills)

DE is a fourteen year old boy with a diagnosis of autism. He attends a Special School on a full time basis. DE prefers routine and predictability and prefers using visual teaching and learning methods.

Background:

DE is a fourteen year old boy with a diagnosis of autism. He attends a Special School on a full time basis. DE prefers routine and predictability and prefers using visual teaching and learning methods. He is enjoys playing with boats, trains and Minecraft. DE likes to build small, detailed structures and enjoys talking about what he has built.

DE requires support with his independent living skills, e.g. showering, dressing skills, packing his school bag and making his lunch. As part of his sensory diet at home, he engages in heavy movement breaks, e.g. sorting washing and cleaning windows. DE requires support with appropriate behaviour in social situations, e.g. he dislikes ‘small talk’, needing help with appropriate conversation starters, playing games and turn taking.

Areas of Concern:

On consultation with DE’s parents and teachers, the following were identified as explanations for episodes of challenging behaviour:

  • Faces and emotions- DE cannot label emotions and dislikes pictures of faces.
  • DE experiences difficulty coping with losing at games, particularly games based on luck, due to a lack of control.
  • Turn taking can be difficult for him especially with peers.
  • Changes to the schedule.

Strategies:

The following strategies were used:

  • Independent living skills and self-help:
    • Use of a checklist to enable DE to pack his school bag independently.
    • Use of a visual dressing schedule enabling DE to sequence his dressing routine. See Getting Dressed
    • Use of task analysis to enable DE to make a ham sandwich. He also had a checklist for his lunch box to enable him to pack his own lunch.
    • Meal choice – DE is provided with a menu, which is a written list of options for his lunch/dinner. DE ticks off what he would like to eat giving him more choice across the day.
    • Implementation of structured tasks in the home environment that serve as a heavy movement breaks also (Link to Sensory Resource)DE sorts the washing into darks, lights and whites and is supported to do so with colour cards (Link to Laundry Skills).
    • DE also washes the lower windows using a pictorial and written task analysis.
    • He is currently learning how to fold towels using a pictorial task analysis.
  • Social skills:
    • DE dislikes small talk possibly because he has difficulty thinking of topics to talk about and how to respond. He has been supported through the use of conversation strips and topic cards that serve as a prompt of things he can talk about.
    • Think it or say it- at times DE may say things that are inappropriate for the social situation. He is supported to consider if he should think it or say it using the 3 think it or say it visual support. This is practised daily at home and school.
  • Leisure skills:
    • Using his “Special Interest”, DE researches and collects information boats. He collects this information in a scrap book. This supports DE in developing his interests.
    • Winning and losing: use of social story to guide DE’s response to winning and losing a game. When this was introduced initially, Middletown Centre for Autism staff ‘lost’ the game and modelled the preferred response. It is also important to remember to use these materials just before DE plays the game.