Francis McClure Elementary’s Danielle Chorick on ONEder and Celebrating Small Successes
By Anna Wolfe
Even the most creative and hardworking special educators find that assessing students with autism can be a challenge. However, this challenge is being met—one day at a time—by Danielle Chorick, an Autistic Support Teacher at Francis McClure Elementary in White Oak, PA. Danielle’s classroom is like a lot of special education classrooms across the country in that her students don’t fit into a tidy mold. She has to find a way to support (and keep track of) students ranging from non-verbal, with very little language and communication, to those who are “more on the social-needs end of the spectrum.” To do this, Danielle has been utilizing ONEder to create goal-oriented lessons that help her assess how her students are tracking against their IEP (Individualized Education Program) goals.
Danielle, like many other classroom teachers, finds that gathering and assessing data is her “number one struggle.” ONEder helps her tackle this daily difficulty; “one of the biggest things I’ve been using ONEder for… is assessing data.” To collect data, Danielle creates her own, tailored lessons in ONEder, and ties each student’s IEP goals to the lesson’s outcomes. “I made [a] lesson where I recorded myself saying something. I have a lot of non-readers, so the voice function… is great!” In her lesson, Danielle recorded herself saying, “What letter makes the ah sound? What letter makes the buh sound?” and provided 1 to 3 answer choices, customized for each student’s reading capabilities. “I have all seven of my kids engaged, all at once, and working on the same thing. Just today, I had a little guy [in my classroom]. I said, ‘What day of the week is it today?’ And without any prompting, he looked up at a choice board listing the seven days of the week, and he touched Thursday. I’ve never been able to understand whether he knows what I’m asking him or not, and today he said, ‘Thursday,’ even though he has no verbal communication.”
For Danielle, one of the most important aspects of her role as an Autistic Support Teacher is to celebrate small successes: “I’ve had one girl for 4 years, and we’ve been working on the same basic constructs. When she knows what “s” is—even though it’s only 1 out of 26 letters of the alphabet—we throw a party! It’s the little things. And my one little guy saying ‘Thursday’ after touching ‘Thursday,’ it’s like… “Holy heck!”
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Have you had any inspiring student successes using ONEder? We’d love to hear about them!