How to Learn in general
How you receive information (sensory pathway)
- Visual (spatial) – You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural (auditory-musical) – You prefer using sound and music.
- Verbal (linguistic) – You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Physical (kinesthetic) – You prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.
How you process information
- Logical (mathematical) – You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
- Social (interpersonal) – You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
- Solitary (intrapersonal) – You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
With an Autism Spectrum Disorder, the way your brain processes information is delayed in development.
WHICH TYPE OF TREATMENT/INTERVENTION/THERAPY SHOULD YOU USE TO LEARN A NEW SKILL?
Although there are many different types of treatments, interventions or therapies for the Autism Spectrum (essentially methods or ways to teach you how to learn), they all pretty much use a Systems-based approach to the learning process with the differences being how they motivate you to learn and how the information you are supposed to learn is presented to your sensory pathways.
So if you can’t afford these therapies:
but you still want to learn skills, you can still do it with a system called the Helix of Continuous Improvement.
A SYSTEMS-BASED WAY TO LEARN SKILLS
The Helix of Continuous Improvement: Evaluate – Plan – Do – Check – Amend
STEP 1: EVALUATE
-> Assess how you best receive information through which sensory pathway (visual, aural, verbal, physical)
-> Assess how you best process information in your brain (logically with processes and systems, or observationally and experientially with other people)
-> Assess the competency of where your skills are at this present time through testing (developmental milestones, achievement tests, etc.)
-> Define Goals/Objectives of what new skills you want to learn or what skills you will need to modify (goals can be listed in Individual Education Plan or IEP)
STEP 2: PLAN
-> Plan the Processes
- Choose the Information that you want to learn
- Create Task-analyzed chains (a step 1, step 2, step 3, etc list) for each skill
(example, Skill: Washing hair Tasks: 1. shampoo first, 2. rinse, 3. conditioner second, 4. rinse)
- To provide motivation to complete each step well, plan to offer a reward such as verbal praise after the successful completion of each step
-> Plan the Inputs
Choose Information Tools to present the information to you that use the Sensory Pathway that works best for you:
verbal tools – words, speaking, writing, read out loud, re-write out the instructions/checklist/story
physical tools – body, hands, touch, act out what to do, touch objects as you are going through the process, build or create a project that represents the process, play games
multi-sensory tools – iPad/iPhone apps, games
STEP 3: DO
-> Provide the Inputs
Use the tools to provide the information
-> Operate the Processes
Go through each of the steps in the process of the skill (step 1, step 2, step 3, etc)
STEP 4: CHECK
-> Evaluate the outputs
Did you follow the sensory path that you best receive information from?
Did you use the right tools for that sensory path?
-> Examine the performance of the process
Were you able to complete each step in the process successfully?
STEP 5: AMEND
-> Modify the input
Look at the tools you are using and if the do not work consider modifying or using a different tools
-> Modify the process
Is the process correct – are you missing steps in the process?
Is the process too simple – have you broken down the process into enough steps?
Is the process too complicated – do you have to many steps in the process?
STEP 6: REPEAT THE HELIX OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Evaluate – Plan – Do – Check – Amend
On average it takes 6 times to repeat through the helix of continuous improvement before you master a skill.