Academic Skills Students with Autism: Teacher Becky Byers
Position: Special Education and Autism Teacher
School/District: William Winchester Elementary School, Carroll County, MD
Product: TeachTown Basics
We needed to improve academic skills for students with autism, focusing on the knowledge areas of cognitive development, adaptive behavior, social/emotional growth, language skills, and mathematics. We decided on software called TeachTown Basics.
After we administered the program, successfully, we established a secondary goal to improve students’ ability to work independently and increase time on-tasks for remediation.
Administrators have been impressed with our students’ ability to work independently for 20 to 30 minutes. Teachers have observed new knowledge skills our students have obtained and are gaining each day. Parents like that the software licensing allows them to work at home with their children to support skills introduce in class. Students enjoy the animated characters.
TeachTown was easy to implement and manage. We loaded the program on a Friday and started the students the next Monday. One parent-training event allowed parents to start using the program at home. The online assessment reports track data and help us to monitor student progress, and more effectively guide our development of IEPs.
How we use it:
Each day, children enter our Library Media Center and go right to their computer workstations. They work on TeachTown for two 20-minute sessions during the school day. Based on their performance, teacher-directed lessons are planned for either small, or large group, or individual instruction to assist with generalization and expansion of the required skill set. I like the verbal prompts and sequencing skills, and use during daily instruction.
We can view student data reports at any time, and also send monthly e-mail progress reports. This allows us to individualize instruction for many students. We use the reports for parent conferences, writing IEPs, providing off-computer activities, and for reinforcement.
We have made great progress on both of our initial goals. Our school district is currently expanding the use of Teachtown with other students throughout the county. We are also purchasing Teachtown Social Skills Curriculum, a companion program to teach social behavior skills. The Social Skills program includes a lot of research and is based on principles that work for children with autism and development delay.