Welcome to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Network Website
Our team is comprised of many professionals with a variety of specializations. Designated as a Centre of Excellence within the province, our mandate is to assist schools in the implementation of best practices for the inclusion of students with an ASD and serve as a resource to the other English school boards in Québec. Our team provides assistance to students and families and works to support educational personnel in developing their capacity to meet a wide range of needs in the classroom. We do this through direct intervention, coaching, professional development, and the sharing of materials.
As you explore the site, you will meet the professionals who make up our team and learn of some of our initiatives. You will also find links to other sources of information about autism spectrum disorders that may be of interest.
Director of Student Services
Lester B. Pearson Centre of Excellence
For Autism Spectrum Disorders
The Centre of Excellence goals, activities, and new initiatives are carried out by the Lester B. Pearson Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Team. The team consists of ten professionals who support school teams working with students with an ASD.
The ASD team and Centre of Excellence is coordinated by Dr. Andrew Bennett, psychologist and Jovette Francoeur, consultant for special needs. The team includes six consultants for autism: Patricia Assouad, Sabrina Gabriele, Cheryl McDonald, Jade Lawsane, Sasha Desmarais-Zalob and Katie Cohene. Part-time consultation from Helene Packman, speech/language pathologist, and Joelle Hadaya, occupational therapist, is also included. The multi-disciplinary team strives to build capacity in best practices and develop resources in Quebec English boards, to help better meet the needs of students with an ASD included in community schools.
This continues to be an easy-to-access source of information (as well as providing links to other sites about autism) for other boards. This site is updated regularly. It is accessed by clicking on Autism Spectrum Disorders Network on the Lester B. Pearson website: www.lbpsb.qc.ca
We have an in-house newsletter for our Autism Spectrum Disorders Network. It is published three times a year and over 900 copies are distributed to all of our schools and offices as well as to all of our teachers and support staff who work with students identified with an ASD. It is available for viewing on our website, as well as distributed at SNNAP, SNAC, LERN, PD workshops and Ministry meetings. To view a copy of our newsletter, please click on the Newsletter tab at the top of the page.
Professional Development Opportunities
The Centre’s ASD Team has worked collaboratively with outside organizations to present conferences for both LBPSB personnel as well as external professionals. The team has presented annually at the Eastern Townships School Board and ALDI Symposiums. A number of workshops have also been held by our team members in collaboration with our community organizations such as local Readaptation and Hospital Centres.
The Centre’s ASD Team has presented a menu of workshops for other boards. Topics include Best Practices in Inclusion for Students with an ASD, Using Visual Supports, Communication Challenges, Improving Social Skills for Students with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism and Literacy Learning, Setting up a TEACCH Style Learning Environment, ABCs of Autism, Behaviour Management and Make & Take Workshops. Some of these workshops were delivered through live classroom for outside school boards.
Some of the featured workshops available for presentation this year are:
Autism: Steps to Success
This workshop explores Autism Spectrum Disorders at an intermediate level and offers a more detailed look at best practices in the classroom, including visual strategies, building social skills, and using positive behaviour supports.
Understanding the Social World of Autism
An interactive workshop that explores the social-cognitive theories which help to explain the difficulties that students with an ASD have with socialization. The "Hidden Curriculum" is also reviewed as well as strategies to teach it to higher functioning students with autism. Other best practices for teaching social skills are also explored.
Using Visual Supports to Assist Students on the Autism Spectrum
A common recommendation for students with an ASD is the use of visual supports. This workshop explores why visual supports are a key strategy to help prevent behavioural difficulties and to improve communication with students on the Autism Spectrum.Suggestions are provided to learn how to effectively use these supports throughout the student’s day.
Positive Behaviour Supports
Students with autism often present difficult behaviours in the classroom.This workshop outlines positive behaviour supports which can be used on a daily basis by the teacher and/or the integration aide.These behaviour supports include using positive reinforcement to increase task motivation, providing daily opportunities for choice-making, as well as using "quiet-time" effectively.
Our ASD team can develop a local in-service day specifically to meet the needs of school personnel, where numbers warrant, within any English School Board in the province of Québec. Specific requests can be made through the team co-coordinator Jovette Francoeur.
Consultation, On-site Visits for School Teams from Other Boards
In 2012-2013, on-site visits to Lester B. Pearson included teams from Western Québec School Board. On-site visits and consultations by the ASD team were made to the Eastern Shores School Board in New Carlisle, Gaspé.
Requests for support, consultation, or visits should be addressed through the Student Services Department or the Special Needs Consultant attached to your child’s school, who may contact the co-coordinator of the ASD Team, Jovette Francoeur.
We continue to build a professional library of books, periodicals, software programs, and teaching materials. These are showcased at presentations, workshops and Ministry meetings done on and off site. The library collection can be viewed on this website by clicking on the library tab at the top of this page.
Based on our experience of which materials and practices work best for specific student needs or school teams, we can recommend resources to other boards for purchase. We encourage you to check out some of the wonderful resources by clicking on the materials tab or look at the many stores linked on our resources page of this website.
The Centre of Excellence Autism Spectrum Disorders Team
Lester B. Pearson School Board
1925 Brookdale, Dorval, QC, H9P 2Y7
The LBPSB Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Team operates as a Centre of Excellence under MELS with a mandate to serve as a resource and provide support to the English School Boards in the province, all of whom are committed to facilitating the inclusion of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. To optimally fulfill this mandate, the ASD team functions in a multidisciplinary capacity with the following personnel: Psychologist, Special Needs Consultant, Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Autism Consultants.
Through the Centre of Excellence, the ASD team offers multiple supports to schools that include consultation, direct intervention, and training. More specifically, the team works to provide ongoing training in specific ASD intervention strategies by providing suggestions around individual cases, organizing and delivering professional development, and maintaining a professional library and website in the area of autism. Consultation can occur through a variety of means, including school visits, telephone contacts, and electronic correspondence. Community outreach is also an important aspect of the team’s focus, and members are involved with agencies outside of the education network as well as with families of children with autism. The ASD team has worked particularly hard to establish partnerships with local hospitals and universities with respect to more clinical and research aspects of autism.
Jovette Francoeur, Co-coordinator Consultant for Special Needs
514-422-3000 local 4377 firstname.lastname@example.org **All requests and contacts from outside
school boards should be made through
MELS has delegated six Centres of Excellence that operate with a mandate to serve as a resource and provide support to the English School Boards in the province of Québec, all of whom are committed to facilitating the inclusion of students with an exceptionality. These include:
Center of Excellence for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Lester B. Pearson School Board
Andrew Bennett and Jovette Francoeur, coordinators
Center of Excellence for Mental Health
Lester B. Pearson School Board
Elana Bloom, coordinator
Center of Excellence for Behaviour Management
Riverside School Board
Eva de Gosztonyi, coordinator
Center of Excellence for Speech and Language Development
English Montreal School Board
Carol Jazzar, coordinator
Center of Excellence for the Physically, Intellectually and Multi-Challenged Eastern Township School Board
Diana Poot and Manon Lessard, coordinators
Inclusive Learning Resource Network (I-LRN)
Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board
Lynn Senecal, coordinator
Autism Spectrum Disorders Network Resources
***The Lester B. Pearson ASD Parent and Professional Seminar Series continues this year. The second session will be held on April 16th, 2013 with special guest speaker Ginette Bernier. ***
Geneva Centre 112 Merton Street, Toronto, Ontario M4S 2Z8
Tel: (416) 322-7877 http://www.autism.net/
Provides education, conferences and training on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The centre provides professional development opportunities at the Geneva Centre for Autism in Toronto, as well as across Canada and worldwide.
Giant Steps Parent Training Course
Giant Steps Montreal provides professional development oppurtunities during the school year. For more information contact Thomas Henderson at 514-935-1911 ext. 236 or email email@example.com.
The Abe Gold Learning and Research Centre 5331 Ferrier, Montreal, Québec H4P 1M1
Canada’s Resource Magazine for Parents of Exceptional Children
(ISSN: 1715-4901) Published quarterly by Miriam Foundation, 8160 Royden Road, Town of Mount Royal, Quebec, H4P 2T2 www.exceptionalfamily.ca
Autism Spectrum Quarterly (ISSN: 1551-448X) Published quarterly by Starfish Specialty Press, LLC, Post Office Box 799, Higganum, CT 06441-0799 www.ASQuarterly.com
Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine
Published bimonthly by Future Horizon’s Inc. Arlington TX www.autismdigest.com
Books & Resources
A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder
Document published by the National Institute of Mental Health Click here to open the document
Please note that the National Institute of Mental Health is an American organization. Although the general information and practices pertaining to ASD in the above document are adopted in Canada, the statistics, organizations, website links, and community services mentioned in the guide are American-based.
Les Attaches Karina Limited
5525 Cote de Liesse, St. Laurent, Qc H4P 1A1
Fax: 514-744-1113 http://www.sandmate.com
Have our Plastic Inc. 4-6990 Creditview Road, Mississauga, Ont. L5N 8R9
Lauguage & Communication:
Special Education Technology
SET-BC Learning Centre provides a wealth of classroom resources and training modules on assistive technology. Visit the Main Library to view the complete collection, or look for resources that are organized by technology topics: alternate access; augmentative communication; vision; and general implementation. Download ready-made templates for Boardmaker, Clicker, etc. http://www.setbc.org/
Speaking of Speech
Speaking of Speech is an interactive forum for speech/language pathologists and teachers to improve communication skills in our schools by: exchanging ideas, techniques, and lessons that work, finding out about materials before you buy, seeking and giving advice on therapy and caseload management issues, and exploring a myriad of helpful resource links. Check out the Material Exchange Link for free printable materials. http://www.speakingofspeech.com
The Gray Center The Gray Center provides a wealth of information on autism spectrum disorders and supports for social impairments. Socials Stories, samples and explanations can be found here as well as an online store and other detailed information on ASD. www.thegraycenter.org
We have an in-house newsletter for our Autism Spectrum Disorders Network. It is published three times a year and over 900 copies are distributed to all of our schools and offices, as well as to all of our teachers and support staff who work with students identified with an ASD. Our newsletter features information about best practices, teacher tips, behavioural strategies as well as articles written by our own occupational and speech & language therapist. The newsletter also features local conferences and reviews of new books for individuals working with students with an ASD. It is available for viewing here, as well as distributed at SNNAP, SNAC, LERN, PD workshops and Ministry meetings. To view a copy of our newsletter, please click on the individual links at the bottom of the page.
Here is the feature article from the January 2013 edition of our newsletter:
Hierarchy of Prompts
This article explores the use of prompting as a strategy to support a student’s readiness for learning and to facilitate individual student success. Prompting is a powerful tool that can be used to increase achievement, independence and motivation. Prompts assist students to initiate and complete tasks or activities accurately and then move on to the next item. Each type of prompt can range from minimal to very directive. The level and intensity of prompting required is unique to each student and may vary depending on the skill being addressed and the learning environment. Our primary objective is to reduce or remove prompts as soon as possible so that students learn to achieve the same successindependently.
There are many different types of prompts. Visual prompts are observable tools which provide information to the learner and can include schedules, cue cards, reinforcement charts and mini schedules.Verbal prompts are direct or indirect instructions about what the student is to do. An indirect verbal prompt provides a cue that something is expected of the student, but very little information is given, such as look at what the class is doing. A direct verbal prompt is specific and tells the student what is expected, e.g., time to line up. A verbal model can be partial or full. For example, when teaching a student to ask to go to the bathroom, you can model bathroom, need bathroom , or I need the bathroom. A physical prompt can be partial such as a touch or tap on the elbow or can include total assistance such as handover-hand modelling. When using a physical prompt to teach a skill, it is important to remember not to also provide verbal instruction to the student as verbal prompts can become embedded in activities and can inhibit their ability to achieve independence.
Each type of prompting provides a different level of support which can range from least to most intrusive.This is known as a hierarchy of prompts. The overall goal of understanding and using a hierarchy of prompts is to teach students to initiate and complete tasks or activities and then move on to the next item without relying on adults to provide assistance.There are two ways of using the hierarchy of prompts, least-to-most or most-to-least. The type of hierarchy we decide to use is dependent on the individual student and the task being taught to the child.
The least-to-most hierarchy of prompting encourages educators to teach a new skill by beginning with the least intrusive type of prompt and moving down the hierarchy to more direct prompting if required to support successful achievement of the skill. Each trial begins by providing the student an opportunity to respond with the least amount of assistance possible. This approach ensures that a student does not become dependent on a more intrusive prompt and also allows the instructor to gauge the type of support the student requires to achieve success. When using a least-to-most style of prompting, all errors should be interrupted as soon as they occur with the next level of prompt. For instance, if the teacher realizes the student is beginning to respond incorrectly to a prompt, he/she should interrupt the error with the next level of support in the sequence without waiting the specified time interval.Errorless learning is an important component in teaching a new skill to students because errors, once repeated, can be difficult to eliminate.
An alternative strategy using a hierarchy of most-to-least intrusive prompts is often used for teaching students to use work systems or activity schedules. For example, when teaching a student to use a work system, we may initially use hand-over-hand (from behind) to guide them on how to use the system correctly. However, over time we can begin to use less intrusive prompts such as a simple touch, a gesture, a verbal prompt or a visual cue to encourage them to begin using the work system
Please click below to view current and past ASD newsletters:
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that impacts significantly on an individual's ability to learn and manage the routine demands of school. In order for educators to understand how these students experience the world and how best to teach them, it can be helpful to consider the model of a triad of impairments. It applies to the entire spectrum of disability, from Autism to Asperger Syndrome, and affects all individuals diagnosed with an ASD in terms of their learning and their perceptions.
Triad of Impairments:
Difficulties in language and communication, social interaction, and inflexibility of thinking & behaviour are readily observed in students with an intellectual delay or significant behavioural differences. However it is easy to forget how dramatically they impact on more able individuals who have been diagnosed with an ASD. Students with precocious vocabulary and great knowledge of facts may have virtually no understanding of figurative language, sarcasm, or humor. Students who are talkative and seemingly outgoing may also operate with a kind of social blindness, which significantly limits their understanding of emotions or the perspective of others. Students who seem bright and academically capable may also become distressed by changes in routine or surprises, or fixate on one topic or way of doing things. This can result in non-compliant behaviour if accommodation strategies, such as breaks or visual schedules, are not put into place.
In addition to this triad of developmental differences, there are two other factors which often affect these students: sensory issues and anxiety. Some students may have sensory processing difficulties of a magnitude which require therapeutic activities, recommended by an occupational therapist. Many others, even those who are academically capable, may be overwhelmed by the school environment because of heightened sensitivities to aspects such as noise, lighting, crowding and movement, visual stimulation, and/or smell. These sensory issues can cause distraction, distress, or even fear.
A propensity for anxiety also affects many students with an ASD, who may face new tasks or social demands with anxious resistance or avoidance behaviours. They are easily bewildered by social expectations and emotional contexts, and thus benefit from predictability, routines, and most importantly, visual rather than language-based cues to social and academic expectations.
Understanding these developmental differences and potential difficulties can help support better teaching practices for students with an ASD.
Top Ten Effective Classroom Strategies:
Use visual and non-verbal cues.
Provide structure with routine and schedules.
Support transitions and whenever possible, provide warnings about changes or unusual events.
Build in student choices and offer extrinsic incentives to complete tasks.
Give opportunities for breaks or access to alternative, quiet work space.
Help with activity level and alertness problems by building in walks or physical activities.
Facilitate communication opportunities with peers, as well as adults.
Teach to strengths, such as visual modality or memory for factual knowledge, and incorporate special interests.
Give options for expression, such as illustrations or charts.
Teach about autism: encourage self-awareness and use sensitization activities with peers.
For more information about Autism Spectrum Disorders, please check out the Resources tab on this site.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Network
Autism Spectrum Disorders Network Materials
Many of the following materials were created using the program Boardmaker. Boardmaker™ is a registered trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC. In order to view the following files, you must have the Boardmaker disk in your computer. To purchase your own copy visit www.mayer-johnson.com or call 1-858-550-0084.
Visual Starter Kit
The Visual Kit includes all you need to implement the use of a visual schedule with a child in school. The kit includes instructions on how to use a visual schedule and cues, the importance of using visuals with an article by Margaret Brown, "30 Reasons to Use and Keep Using a Visual Schedule" and all the pictures needed for a regular elementary school day including the schedule strip.
Visual schedules are an extremely important tool to help structure a student's day. Using a visual schedule promotes independence, gives clear expectations, and supports a student's difficulty with sequential memory and organization of time. The schedule should be clear and at the student's level using either pictures and/or words. A schedule illustrating the entire day may be useful to some students while others might respond better to a half-day schedule. Below you will find many templates available for download. Once saved, the schedules can be modified and tailored to an individual student's needs.
Visual supports can be used to help students understand class rules, give non-verbal reminders for behaviour, help with organization and make abstract concepts more concrete. Below you will find a variety of visual supports that,once saved, can be modified and tailored to a class or student's needs.
Social Scripts are a great tool to help teach social skills and life skills to students with an ASD. Using the form of narratives, these can be used to teach students how to wait in line, how to raise their hand in class or appropriate behaviour for many different social situations. Social Scripts should be presented to a student on a regular basis, not at the time of the social error. Here are a few that can be adapted to your individual child's needs:
Communication books are used to help students pass on information about their day to parents. Using a communication book that corresponds with the students’ visual schedule is a great way to increase independence. This way the students do not need to rely on others to read or spell the words that describe their day. Below you will find a few sample communication books that can be used to help create a better dialog between the students’ home and school. Keep in mind that a communication book should not be used as a behaviour log. It should help the students pass on information about the day-to-day happenings in school and at home.
Student Information: TheStudent Profile Form is an extremely valuable tool for the receiving school.We would encourage the elementary school team to complete this form. Keeping detailed information about your students is imperative to ensure successful transitions from grade to grade and school to school. When a teacher or support staff is absent, using the What You Need to Know About... form can be a quick and easy way to pass on information about a student's day to day nuances.
The transition from elementary school to high school is both an exciting and anxiety-provoking experience for many students.These feelings of fear and stress are often more intense for students who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.Careful planning and preparation can help to facilitate this transition for both the student and the receiving school. The ASD Team introduced a Transition Protocol and Timeline. This protocol was extremely successful in gradually preparing grade 6 students who have an ASD for high school.This timeline can also be used when a student is transitioning from school to school and class to class.