Addressing Educational Barriers for Students with Autism

Six years ago, during an IEP meeting, a school administrator declared that one of our clients was being placed on a certificate of completion track. We knew that with the appropriate interventions, this client could maintain diploma track. We advocated and worked collaboratively with the school to teach this client the behaviors they would need in order to remain in the general education classroom. With much perseverance, this client graduated last spring with a high school diploma! The student described in the above scenario is one of many TIIBA triumph stories of our work with students with Autism. Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts tailor programming to work on various school related behaviors, for students in grades kindergarten through college. Educational programming goals aim to either assist clients with staying in or transitioning to general or special education settings. These school related behaviors may include things such as: walking in line in the hallway, participating appropriately during “brain breaks,” raising their hand to ask questions, organizing a binder/locker, taking notes in class, using a planner, joining peers at lunch and recess, engaging in conversation with peers, and even learning what their IEP accommodations are and when and how to request them. Additionally, TIIBA has a mock classroom within our center that allows for students to practice and learn behaviors within an environment that looks and operates like a traditional classroom. There can be many barriers that prevent a child from being educated within the traditional school environment. During our assessment process, we identify these barriers and address them in treatment. A significant barrier is problem behaviors. When problem behaviors are intensive in how often they occur and create an unsafe environment for peers, TIIBA will aid schools by conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment and developing a Behavior Intervention Plan. We have the additional option of decreasing problem behaviors within our center, before transitioning and generalizing appropriate behavior to school. Barriers may include social and communication deficits. If a child lacks the ability to converse with peers, has unintelligible speech, or difficulty understanding sarcasm or jokes, this can create learning barriers. Sensory defensiveness is another barrier. Our team worked with a student who was shocked by the locker one winter and stopped using it– causing them to be unprepared for class daily. Additionally, barriers can involve difficulty transitioning between classes and not receiving the appropriate amount of reinforcement. TIIBA works hand-in-hand with parents, extended family members, teachers, and other school personnel to identify barriers that prevent a student from being educated in the least restrictive educational setting. Our clinical team attends IEP meetings and educates parents on education laws to help parents advocate for the needs of their children. We believe in empowering our parents and students to meet and exceed educational expectations. Targeting educational success for our clients is one of the many ways that we empower lives. To find out more about our services, visit our website at or contact us at 317-388-8131.

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