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Kate Medcalf

Assignment 1.

Autism Spectrum disorders (ASD) is an overarching term for a group of complex

disorders of brain development (Autism Speaks, 2016). The term spectrum refers to
the extent to which each individual is effect by the disorder (Hundert & Van Delft
2009). ASD is a permanent conditions that is categorised by developmental
conditions affecting social interactions, communication and behaviour (n/a ,p.19,
2015). Challenges in the use of nonverbal behaviours and delay in spoken language is
a common characteristic with individuals with ASD (Shumway & Wetherby, p.1139).
Furthermore, repetitive and restrictive behaviour in regards to a particular interest is
common among those living with Autism (Gunn & Delafield-Butt,n.d). People with
ASD may display remarkable abilities or knowledge in a particular area of interest
(MacKenzie, p.20, 2008). As educators we need to ensure we see the person, not the

The notion of inclusion demands teachers to be flexible in addressing the diverse

range of learning styles in the classroom (Gunn & Delafield-Butt, p.408, n.d).
Spencer, Vicky & Simpson (2009), advise that when working in an inclusive
environment students with ASD may benefit from collaborative learning (p.n/a).
Catering for student with ASD can be administered by understanding the needs of
each individual child and their own abilities. In doing so, educators will be able to
distinguish the meaning of different behaviours as students may use behaviour as a
way of communicating (Hewitt, p.10, 2004). As the characteristics of ASD highlight
impairment in language development, it is imperative that these students are
supported and engaged during literacy activities (Shumway, & Wetherby, 2009). It is
during these literacy lessons that students with ASD will be able to improve their
language skills and overall vocabulary development whilst exploring and
strengthening different ways of communicating.
Quill (as cited in Kidder & Mcdonnell 2015) emphasizes that individuals with ASD
are visual leaners (Quill, p. 697, 1997). This is where the use of visual planners and
prompts can assist students throughout the school and classroom. These planners

encourage students to use these learning cues in their daily routines, as they place an
emphasis on the idea that each student is included and considered in the learning
environment. Visual planners also provide the learner with specific information,
which they can use to model effective, and appropriate classroom behaviours, which
is hoped to lead onto to minimize behavioural issues, and enable smoother transitions
between tasks (Ennis-Cole, 2014).
Students with ASD require additional clarification, clear and comprehensive
instructions to explain each task (Ennis-Cole,p.41, 2014). Incorporating visual cues
and ensuring that any instructions or directive language is obvious to the learner, is an
imperative yet simple amendment to the classroom that teachers must adhere to. This
is an essential aspect of the aim we strive to fulfill as educators. That is, we must be
continually innovative, and fresh thinking, creating environments for students that
ultimately promote their independence and confidence. Catering to diverse needs
among students must be done so in the most supported, non-threatening and safe
approach (Ennis-Cole, 2014).
Children living with ASD can have issues with reading comprehension, although they
may have the ability to read the text, some students tend to not have an understanding
of the meaning of the text (Nguyen,Leytham, Schaefer Whitby & Gelfer, 2015).
Therefore, teachers need to support literacy comprehension by using a range of visual
and verbal cues, pictures and videos (Spencer, Vicky & Simpson, Cynthia, p.n/a,

Whilst some individuals with ASD may prefer to play and work independently, small
group work can be beneficial for all parties involved. Group work enables students
living with ASD to practice social interactions, communication and transitions
between tasks. Hewitt (2004), stresses the importance of modeling and demonstrating
positive behaviors that are expected in group environments. The notion of group work
and collaborative learning can be a successful time, if students are shown the
appropriate way to do so. It is best thought that small groups would be most beneficial
to reassure physical sharing of working materials, space etc (Hewitt,p. 103,2004).

Articulation Station by the Little Bee is a comprehensive articulation program that
allows students to scaffold their own literacy learning (Hanks, Hanks, & Suman,
The application was designed by qualified Speech-language Pathologist and is
recommended for children and adults with speech sound delays (Hanks, Hanks, &
Suman, 2011).
The application allows the learner to work through word, sentence and story levels,
in 22 sounds in the English language Derrick (2016). Articulation Station is an
engaging program as it scaffolds the learning of each individual Derrick (2016).
Scaffolding is evident in the application, as educators are able to select the levels
required. By choosing the student to work on a moderately challenging level, this
will prevent any negative behavior, which can arise and is a characteristic that
presents itself in some children living with ASD. This adaptation is aimed at keeping
learners engaged in the activity. Hewitt (2004) outlines, that by scaffolding the
learning of students living with ASD, learners become more confident in their ability,
to complete the task. Hewitt (2004) highlights that using the scaffolding method is a
positive approach to administer for diverse learners, in doing so we as educators are
also practicing effective teaching skills supported by current pedagogy.

The use of clear and simple imagery throughout the application works in accordance
with students living with ASD, by providing visual cues for the learner. The use of
uncluttered visuals will allow for students to not become overwhelmed with the task
(Ennis-Cole, p.41, 2014). Pierangelo & Giuliani (2012), highlight the importance of
using both visual and verbal cues when teaching students living with Autism, as this
will enhance and support their learning.
Furthermore, students are able to listen to the correct pronunciation of the words and
phrases, as well as recording themselves, which allows the learner to hear their own
articulation. By incorporating both the visual cues and auditory input the learner is
able to comprehend what is required in the task; they will develop their vocabulary,
and hear the correct pronunciation (Spencer, Vicky & Simpson, Cynthia, p.n/a, 2009).
Articulation Station is an application that allows students to access the program
through Ipads and computers, which incorporates technology into the classroom.
Ennis-Cole (2014), suggest that technology allows for learners with ASD to
overcome challenges and is a useful tool for supporting daily functions(p.2).

Articulation Station also allows for the educator to be aware of how students are
going with the program. By creating a student profile, it gives the teacher access to
student data, recordings of each individual, what was performed on the application.
This feature is most favourable as it enables parents and outside professionals, such as
Speech Pathologists to be aware of the students development.

This application is an incredible literacy tool that has minimal faults. As the design is
American, the slight contrast in words could be an issue. However the value in the
program far outweighs this problem, as students are able to add their own images.
Consequently creating deeper comprehension experiences.
Articulation Station can be utilized in a variety of ways in the classroom and
beyond. It can be incorporated as a whole class program in the early years, to ensure
correct pronunciation and promote literacy development for all children. Individuals
living with ASD would benefit immensely from the application, as part of a daily
literacy lesson, or an activity to assist the student in having some quiet time if needed.

It is our role as educators to facilitate our students learning environments. Todays

classroom is about being innovative in regards to our teaching. Articulation Station
is an application that will create rich learning experiences for all children, and
specifically those learners with ASD. This application will help maximize and
strengthen students opportunities to gain knowledge in many literacy areas.

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