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- [Shelley] So I will just take a minute and welcome back our presenters.

This is round two for Doctor Carmen Hall and Doctor Kimberly Maich, we really appreciate you joining us again for a follow-up presentation on social skills, and peer-mediated social skills in particular.

For those of you who were not with us last time for Part One, just to let you know that Doctor Carmen Hall is the Coordinator and Professor in the Autism and Behavioral Sciences Graduate Certificate Program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, and the majority of her work over the years has focused on social skills research, including peer-mediated social skills in childcare, schools, and camp settings, technology integration in education, and early intervention.

And she has a great deal of experience applying strategies around social skills and supporting skill development in individuals from really, really young children, right up through older adults.

And so we appreciate her expertise and her insight today.

And Doctor Kimberly Maich is a professor at Memorial University in St.

John's Newfoundland in the Faculty of Education.

And the primary focus of all of her work, her teaching, her research, her writing, which she is very proficient and prolific, you'll find lots of both of our presenters' articles online if you happen to do a literature search, but most of Doctor Maich's research focuses on autism spectrum disorders in the inclusive classroom and inclusive environments.

So we're thrilled to have both of them back with us today.

And I will turn the floor over to them so I don't take up any more of their time.

- [Carmen] Perfect, Shelly, thank you.

We're thrilled to be back today for Part Two, and this one specifically focuses on how to do peer-mediated social skills.

We gave you lots of hints last time that this is coming, and this is what we're really passionate about.

This is year 16 of me doing peer-mediated social skills.

So it's crazy how 16 years ago, we were knocking at schools doors, asking them to work with us to teach social skills in inclusive settings, and we didn't get much traction.

We went to camp settings, we got lots of traction there, we trained almost 5,000 people across the last three years in Ontario, camp staff, went to early-year centers, Kimberly and I got lots of good feedback and reception there, and then now our schools have really come on board, and we're getting lots of great implementation, right from the early years all the way up, and using peer-mediated social skills.

So without further ado, we're going to jump into it and really this is the hands-on component of the different components you need to do in order to run this, okay?

So today we are gonna look at quickly the basics, so the background, and why peer-mediated, and then we're gonna show you the five modules of TRACKS which is the mnemonic we've created in order to teach peer-mediated.

So we covered this last time, but for people who weren't there, an adult mediated-approach, what it really looks at is that you would take the children who were struggling with social skills, you would teach them the skills, and then you would put them back in the environment with their peers in hopes that they would start to generalize those skills, okay, so that's the primary philosophy behind it, and our field started that way.

We will talk about times that this is still very appropriate in breaking certain skills down, or around certain skills we talked about last time, about hygiene or sexualized behaviors, or things like that, that our children might need a little bit more help with.

This might be a more appropriate model, and depending on what school you're teaching, you might need some extra practice with it, which is appropriate.

However, from years of experience of doing that, and then moving to a peer-mediated approach, the change was pretty phenomenal for me, and it's pretty hard to go back after seeing what this has done.

So in this approach, what you do is you train the peers on how to interact with your children that might have social communication or social skill difficulties.

So that's what we're gonna teach you today, is how to train your peers in TRACKS.

And then the goal is that then you can work on any social skill in the natural environment, 'cause those peers are trained, and any situation that you're in, you can prompt those peers, and that's gonna be a big part of our presentation on how to implement that skill.

So the benefits are that whatever social skill comes up in that setting, you can work on it.

I think that was the hardest thing for me, trying to do social skill lessons in groups, was that I could work on how to gain someone's attention or how to say someone's name, or how to respond in a conversation politely, but that social skill might have come up one time a day.

Whereas when you look at it, there was so many social interactions, hundreds that are happening across the school day, or a camp day, or a childcare day.

However, I couldn't always capture or teach all of those.

So it might be things like lining up social space in the line and responding in a game, my turn, your turn, whatever was coming up that day could be focused on.

So that's what really hit me.

The other thing is, you often have 15 to 30 other peers in the classroom.

So therefore it was going to be, you had a lot more teachers, it's a little more upfront, but after the peers are trained, your job is much easier, and the last piece is that it's age-appropriate.

I can't remember how many times, I'll never forget training grade-seven students, pulling them into the resource room, teaching them beautiful social skills, "Hi, my name is so and so," then going into the hallway to say to a pear and the peer just looked at them and rolled their eyes because who in grade seven, or eight, or nine, says, "Hi, my name is Carmen.

Nice to meet you." They don't say that, right?

And so really that was the moment it hit home for me that I'm not cool anymore.

I thought I was young and hip and had all the good social skills, but I realized that I'm not.

And I'm not gonna be able to simulate the social skills of a student in grade two or a student in grade eight, or even now a student in grade 12.

You'll see some videos of me from 15 years ago, so maybe I was a little cooler back then.

So here's a quick video of what peer-mediated looks like and the steps in the prompting sequence that we're gonna then cover at the end of the presentation of the game.

(mellow music) - Let's take a look at what this approach looks like in a natural setting.

Step One, guide the target student and peers to one another.

- Do you wanna play four square, do you wanna play four square?

Well, then you need to go over...

(ball dribbling) - [Man] Step Two, call peers on how to interact with the target student.

- Can you help him with the game for me, please?

- [Man] An important element is the proximity of the adult.

Notice that the adult remains at a distance and only approaches when a prompt is needed.

- Hi there, can I show you how to play?

You gotta pass it to another player, like that.

- Good job.

(all applauding and cheering) - [Man] Step Four, prompt peers to reinforce the target student.

Step Five, - Thanks, Rachel.

- [Man] Reinforce the peer's success.

- [Carmen] Okay, so we started with that prompting sequence 'cause we wanted you to know that it can be as easy as a small training with peers, and then doing that type of prompting with the peers once they have some knowledge of what it is they're gonna do for any social situation like that, was just how to play four square, how to bounce the ball, and interact on turn-taking with their peers.

So the other thing I wanna highlight at this point before we go too much further is that this is really the make-it-or-break-it part of peer-mediated interventions.

So after doing it for so many years, and we have at least talked about a study last time as well, you can teach the peers, you can do all of that, but it's really the final piece of what makes it successful, and those peers' generalization of those skills, is the prompting through peers, and the adult's behavior.

So we're gonna talk about that quite a few times today as we go along.

So just some background information.

Basically, there's two main components of peer-mediated, so it really is teaching the typical developing children on how to interact with a child with ASD.

And then those children then help teach our children with ASD, or social communication issues, whatever it might be, with those skills.

Although a lot of the research focuses on autism in our practice, we have a city camp here that all their campsites run what we call Camps on TRACKS.

And they have found some of the biggest success are those kids who are just on the fringe or a bit shier, and doesn't necessarily have a significant disability.

So it really works for both, and the research supports both.

The difference with adult-mediated is that the adult is the mediator, and this is the hardest part, is getting the adults to change sometimes.

So you're saying, "Okay, Kelly, you do this.

Okay, it's your turn.

Okay, I need you to line up here." You're being the mediator, whereas in this approach, you want the peers to be doing that, of saying, "Hey, Tomas, come on over here.

Why don't you line up here?" And then the other difference is when the adult is the mediator, and they're the one doing the reinforcement, they're gonna be like, "That was awesome talking.

Thanks, good turn-taking." And as I'm saying these things, you're probably very familiar with this, and this is something you often say.

However, we wanna get the peers doing that, and we're really in the background.

So what is TRACKS?

Like I said, it's an acronym or a mnemonic that we've created, and this is kind of where it's come from.

So the Buddy Skills Training Program is available online free.

If you google it, I think it's through ERIC, it's a free download, and it was created back in 1997.

And basically it was the first manualized approach of peer-mediated.

So people have been trying peer-mediated and prompting, and training, but there was no real consistent method of how we trained and what we prompted them in.

So the Buddy Skills Training Program has a methodology called stay, play and talk, and we'll talk about that as well, 'cause Kimberly and I have done a lot of research.

And basically what they taught the peers, was you stay with your friend, you play with your friend, and you talk with your friend.

And this is for preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Usually we do it from ages about three to six, and it's because it's easy for them to remember, you stay, you play and you talk.

So with all the research, there's lots of research, it's considered an evidence-based practice, peer-mediated social skills, there was no one consistent method of how you do it.

Some people were teaching peer initiation, some people were doing prompting and reinforcement, some people were just doing physical proximity.

And then the training of peers, some people did multiple long sessions, sometimes just had a playgroup and said, "Okay, so guys, this is what we're doing," and some people did physical proximity.

So what we did about 15 years ago was we looked at all the literature and we said, "Okay, what is the most common things they're training the peers." And the most common thing were persistence, which, don't write this down, 'cause we're gonna go through it, persistence, correction, prompting, reinforcement, and modeling, those are the skills we need to teach the peers.

So when we get to TRACKS, TRACKS is just a kid's friendly mnemonic of those five skills.

So those are the things that we're often taught as educators that we need to teach, and so we just made it in a kid friendly way that kids can teach it.

So when we have younger kids, we do say play talk, when we have grade one, grade two and upwards, we do TRACKS, in high school and in adults, we often just teach the behavioral skills I just mentioned.

So just remember, something that's really big that we've gone back and reflected on is that it's that piece about social inclusion versus the physical proximity and physical inclusion.

The research has shown that if there's no peer or student training, children with autism actually have no gains in social interactions, shared attention, or some of their social scores on adaptive assessments.

So really that peer training and peer awareness part is huge.

Actually, the research has shown some negative effects of inclusion of children with disabilities without training and support from their peers, and it's shown to increase substance abuse, decreased confidence, increased loneliness, led to more fewer friendships and lower peer status ratings.

So again, remember that the perceptions of peers sometimes can be overtaken if they don't know what the correct information is.

And I think that we often know that and we see that, and some of you might be doing this informally and that's amazing.

This is just a more structured way to do it.

So remember, the full social participation is both the goal and the outcome, and that's how we create full participation in our school, or in other inclusive settings.

Okay, this is just a review from Webinar One, that what we need to do, that packages that don't focus on specific social skills are sometimes too indirect, and they're too subtle for kids with social communication issues, and that's why we have to target specific social skills, so we're not just targeting friendships, we're targeting specific things that we want them to do.

Remember we talked about that the most successful social skill interventions had 30 or plus more hours of intense practice.

This is why I'm a proponent of this is because if you have six hours a day, times five days a week, you're getting 30 hours a week of social-skill practice versus a one-hour session that you run up at lunchtime, over 10 weeks.

So by having peers training, you have 30 hours a week, the social skill potential is much greater.

And we know that pullout settings produce lower generalization, so thus it's really important to do, like this inclusive approach is really good.

We sometimes do pull aside where we play a game with some of our target kids and their peers just to help additional practice.

And then again, remember matching with a skill or performance deficit, so we might teach the skill to the whole class, if that child doesn't have the skill, and then it really helps with performance 'cause you have the peers encouraging them to use it in that environment.

And then the fidelity following the treatment approach, which we're gonna go through today.

Okay, what makes the biggest difference?

Peer-mediated follows the Universal Design for Learning so that you can do it for all learners without singling anyone out.

Very rarely do we tell peers who we're training them for, or to help.

Like I said, it's very rarely that it's we're just helping one person and we're saying, "Tommy, it's for Tommy, he needs help." Sometimes we might, depending on the situation, and we'll talk about that, you're removing the adult as the barrier.

The research has demonstrated the closer that the adults are, it can separate the children with a disability from their peers, they become dependent on the adult, they have less peer interactions, and it lessens their personal control.

Research has demonstrated as well, that it really does take such little peer training that can influence the social communication that they have with the child with disability and inclusion.

You really wanna focus on peer-to-peer relationships.

I recently read a study where they reviewed what educational assistants and teachers thought the goal was of a child in the classroom, and they really missed the whole component about the peer to peer.

And after they debriefed and asked them about it, they focused about oh my gosh, you're right, there was still so many adults-to-peer interactions.

And then the last piece that we've already talked about is the prompting through peers.

The adult's really on the periphery, you're gonna see that, and we're gonna highlight that, they're on the background, they're like a telescope, they're going into prompt, and then they're coming back, they're keeping that interaction going from peer to peer.

So this is what we're gonna go through today, we're gonna go through the four modules that are for campers or students.

And then Module Five is for the adults, of what do we do to help promote once we've trained those kids?

So here's the five modules on how to carry it out.

I'm going to do Module One, and then I'm gonna pass it over to Kimberly, who will do the next couple modules.

- [Shelley] Carmen, it's Shelly, just before you do that, my apologies for interrupting, but you mentioned a great app a little bit ago.

Can you remind us what that was?

- [Carmen] Sorry, an app?

- [Shelley] Yeah, there's a question about the app that you mentioned back a couple slides ago.

I didn't catch it either.

- [Carmen] Kimberly help me out here, I don't think I mentioned an app.

- [Kimberly] Oh, I saw that question a while ago, although I didn't answer it because I couldn't figure it out either.

- [Carmen] Yeah, so I don't think there's an app.

- [Kimberly] We will find out.

(laughs) - [Carmen] There's a website we've created with all of this in a program, oh, the program that's free.

- Free program, there you go.

- [Carmen] Okay, so it's on the slides, and you'll be getting the slides, it's called Buddy Skills, thank you, Julie.

- [Kimberly] Oh! - [Carmen] The Buddy Skills Training Program.

Thank you.

- Thanks so much.

- [Carmen] Yeah, and it's in the references, all the slides are referenced, but if you google the Buddy Skills Training Program, you can download it.

It's an older program, it's in black and white, and then we'll share our website we've created and we've updated the stay-play-talk manual, with interactive lessons and all the resources, and pictures, and everything to download.

(Carmen muffled by Kimberly speaking) Sorry, Kimberly?

- They're also in color.

- [Carmen] Yes, they're in color now.

(laughs) Buddy skills looks like a photocopy version but we got lots of good stuff from it, right, just 'cause it's old doesn't mean that, yeah, it's from the ERIC website.

So if you google it ERIC, usually E-R-I-C will come up, and then there's a PDF download.

Again in the references, either in the notes pages of PowerPoint or at the end we have a reference slide, and all of that's cited there.

Okay, so, the first thing that you need to make sure we do is introduce TRACKS.

So whatever type of group that you are presenting to, you have to say, "What is TRACKS?" And so at camps we say, "We're at TRACKS camp.

We're all good friends, we all help one another, and that's the philosophy." At schools, similar things like that, that we say we're are a TRACKS classroom.

And often at the same time, the next thing we talk about is getting a reinforcement system in place, you're often introducing the reinforcement system at the same time.

The research really supports that peers will interact with a child with a disability in the classroom, based on how much the teacher is modeling that behavior and that inclusivity, and that invitation into those social interactions.

So really the goal of this is to introduce it in some kind of way, on how you're gonna frame it for the classroom.

And we'll talk about different for all of these because this is a short webinar of different resources you can access in order to get scripts, and things like that, for each section.

So what we often talk about is in camp, they always do it on their Monday mornings, 'cause camps are usually Monday to Friday, and they do Monday morning, "This is our camp, this is our camp rules, and we're a TRACKS camp." And what that means is we include everyone, everyone's always invited, we help each other out.

Lots of times people use children's literature and we especially use this in the younger years.

There's tons of great books out there about disability, and Kimberly will mention a few in her section, watching a video about inclusion and acceptance.

There's a ton on YouTube, people's experiences of being excluded or being included.

Sometimes we play a game, especially at camps, we may play a team-building game, some of the games we play, we do flip-through a lot where we all get on the tarp and you have to flip the tarp over without nobody stepping off to talk about how we're all in this together.

The other game that I often play is called Barnyard Babble.

I don't know if anyone has ever heard of it, but basically, you give a little picture of an animal to everyone.

You have about four or five animals depending on the group, and you give one animal where there's only one person gets it.

So please be careful when you do this because you have to pick somebody that you know can handle being alone.

You tell them that the rules of the game is that they have to find all the animals like them, so all the monkeys together, all the cows together, all the ducks together, and they can't use words, they just have to do the action of the animal and the sound of the animal.

And they all find each other, and then there's one animal that's left out, so a frog, say, that I only gave one.

And so we talk about what it feels like to be excluded.

And it's so funny, I do that both in adult presentations and kid presentations, and in most cases, I know this is crazy, but it hasn't happened every time but most cases, when they do it with kids, the frog or whatever animal it is, that is not with a group, the other group say, "Come with us, you can be an elephant." Whereas often with adults, adults love staying alone, not always do people invite them in.

So it also goes to show that I think we all know this, and I've heard this, that lots of times at a young age, they are very inclusive, they haven't really noticed differences yet.

And host a public speaker.

So lots of times, especially at camp, we bring in Special Olympics, we have some local children's treatment centers who have some puppet, things about disability.

So that's how we bring it up about we're all gonna include everyone and again, it doesn't have to be about disability, many times, especially in the earlier, we don't even bring it up, we talk about how are we saying and how are we different, and how together we need to work on those differences, how those differences can help us out, and how we can achieve greater things.

I think there's lots of examples of how you can discuss that.

But really, the goal is similarities and differences, and that's what we're gonna embrace and we're gonna include everyone.

Okay, so that's always the first step.

So I'm gonna pass it over to Kimberly, who's gonna talk about getting your reward system set up.

- [Kimberly] Thank you, Carmen.

I know lots of us in this group have a behavioral background, or have somewhat of a behavioral background, some of you might not, so I'm gonna just do a tiny little primer because there tends to be some confusion between the language of applied behavior analysis, or the behavior field in general, and sometimes the language we use in schools.

So when we're looking at what happens after behavior and what happens before behavior, we're looking at helping to change those particular behaviors.

So the behavioral field doesn't only try and decrease problem behavior, but the behavior field also works on how do we increase and build skills.

So if there's a behavior that we wanna see, we wanna increase it, if there's behavior that we don't have yet, we wanna teach it, and then if there's a behavior that really maybe wanna not see as much, then we wanna decrease it.

So there are all these different ways, it's not just about trying to take a behavior we don't like it and end, decrease it, or extinguish it, or not see it again.

And one of the ways we do that is through reward, which is about the same as what the behavior field says, which is reinforcer.

And one of the differences that comes between the two fields is when it comes to that word punishment, because nobody likes to hear the word punishment, it sounds nasty, it brings up all these nasty things in our heads, whereas in the behavioral world, punishment means you're decreasing a behavior.

So reinforcement, you're increasing it, punishment, you're decreasing it.

So there has to be some confusion around these terms because often in the school system, we use the word consequence, where behaviors reduce punishments and just kind of gets all messed up along the way.

So I just wanted to mention that.

So when I'm saying that we'll reward, we basically mean reinforcer.

So for a reinforcer to work, the person has value it.

There aren't a whole lot of reinforcers that work for everybody, so sometimes group reinforcers or group rewards can be a big challenge, because you have, of course, this whole group of diverse individuals, and you know how you always get those holdouts when you're trying some particular system, or you're trying your reward system, you always get those few kids who are like, "No, I'm not, no, I'm not taking part in this." So it isn't necessarily that they're trying to be obnoxious and not take part, or that, I mean, I don't know the child that might be happening, but it's also that it's really hard to please everybody when we're looking at a particular reward.

So there are some things that we have to look at when we're trying to change behavior, and that's how we do rewards well.

Carmen, can I change the slider, or do you need to change it?

It changed, that's great.

So all the behavior theory tells us thing like this, if we're trying to give a reward, and trying to increase that behavior, we have to right away.

So consequence is whatever happens within two to three seconds after that target behavior that same we're trying to increase, or decrease, or trying to teach.

So we're looking at very, very, very quickly for rewards for reinforcers to work.

I know that's surprising, and remember a reward or a reinforcer, is a kind of consequence in behavioral, so it's a thing that happens after behavior, okay?

So when do we reward?

We wanna get these students practicing their Camps on TRACKS skills, other peer-mediated skills, we wanna look at giving that immediately.

I do see a comment coming up from our chat box.

I'm sorry, I can't keep an eye on everything, but we will talk about the TRACKS acronym as I go along, no worries.

- [Carmen] And Kimberly, I'm answering them as you're talking and madly typing, so sorry for not switching your slides.

(chuckles) - [Kimberly] (laughs) Thanks for letting me know, Carmen.

I don't see your answers, so make sure you're replying to everybody and not just the panelists.

- Yeah, I am.

- Okay, awesome.

So in terms of ways that we can do this, there are many ways that we can do rewards well.

And I want to mention a few other things that rewards when we're teaching a new skill, we have to give them a lot.

So frequently, so when we're teaching a new skill, rewards must happen all the time.

But sometimes people think that behaviorists, all they do is give rewards, but really when we make a plan for doing reinforcement, we always make a plan for decreasing reinforcement too.

So when starting a new skill, rewards are important all the time, when you kind of have that skill, it's nice to have it once in a while.

And later on, we actually do plan for our students, our children and adults, to contact reinforcement in the natural environment.

So there's always a plan for that, it's not just about here have this reward for now, and we're gonna keep doing that forever.

So I wanted to mention that too.

That's important as well.

It's always really important to, if you're giving like a TRACKS sticker, for example, or you're giving some sort of token, we'll talk about this in a minute, that you're not only giving that little piece of whatever it is, if you're using a tangible reinforcer, something you could touch, you always wanna give, be genuine about it, be enthusiastic about it, and give praise to what the behavior is that you're reinforcing, 'cause sometimes our students don't know.

"What are you getting excited about?

I didn't do anything." And then of course, you can individualize as you need.

As I mentioned before, it can be a challenge to find a reward that works for everybody.

Then you don't wanna remove them while you're doing this program.

As I said, later on, you might kind of decrease how often you use them when your students are really, really good at it.

And when you're using reward system, we're talking about Camps on TRACKS here.

So camps environment where students can cycle in and out and come one week, and not come the next week, you wanna make sure you have some sort of celebration every week, and of all the campers, where possible.

If we're talking about a school system, we're gonna do that perhaps a little bit differently, depending on, of course, if you're in school or not, like right now, or if you're in inclusive classroom setting, or whatever else it is.

So celebrations are important, too.

Now let's talk about some ways that we can do this.

So these are some real-life examples from different Camps on TRACKS settings.

So in the bottom there you see the marble jar.

The marble jar is a kind of a token reinforcement system.

For those of you who aren't familiar with that term, a token reinforcement system, in the school sense, might often be called, I hear a sticker chart, a sticker system, anything like that, or anything where you get a small something, and you can trade it in later for a bigger something, that's part of the token economy system.

So you can use a ballot, you could use a marble, whatever it is, when I say it leads to something bigger, I don't mean it leads to a big marble, I mean, it might lead to some sort of class celebration, some sort of trip, some sort of special activity table, whatever is manageable and suitable in your particular environment.

But that is what a token reward system is.

One of the biggest downfalls with token-reward systems is people making their own, what we call bootleg reinforcers.

So try and use something for a token economy system, if you're doing a marble jar, or whatever else it is, that students can't get their hands on really easily and make their own little tokens to use.

So we can carry around a clipboard and we can record what's going on that way.

Sometimes we walk around with strips of Camps on TRACKS stickers, for example, or stay-play-and-talk stickers, and we give them out.

We might create something creative, like sometimes we see downtown or outside of our bank, at least outside of my bank, where they had a giant thermometer for their fundraising, and they filled it out as they went.

You can also have a dot-to-dot somewhere and each time you get a certain number of TRACKS, mini rewards, you join another of those dot to dots, and you finally create whatever it is you're creating at the end.

Lots of like the camps that Carmen has worked with in the last few years, I moved away out of province three years ago, so I'm not there to see what's happening anymore, but a lot of them had very specific themes of tracks, like they did car TRACKS, or they did animal tracks, and different things, and used that TRACKS mnemonic to make some more creative pieces along the way.

So, yeah, you can do what works for your system, but there are lots of ideas around that you can choose from, or to use as a starting place to get your brainstorming going.

Always keep in mind that we know that everybody doesn't have a $50,000 budget to do rewards for peer-mediated instruction.

So we're well aware of that.

That can be a roadblock.

So we're not saying do a lot of expensive things, but try and do different things, and keep it varied if your students get bored of a particular reward, for example, your campers get bored of a particular reward, try and make things portable.

So if you're going from place to place, if you're going to the outdoor classroom, instead of the indoor classroom when you're allowed to go to a classroom, that you are able to take them with you and to be able to give reinforcers in all those different environments, because all those different environments are important.

If you have heard the term teaching loosely, that means if we teach loosely with different people and all over the place, we might not have to try and generalize afterwards because we already taught things in all different environments.

So we wanna be generous with our rewards with the reinforcer, but we also wanna be genuine, so we wanna make sure that we are linking that behavior with that reinforcer.

And it's important that we reinforce everybody that's working in the system.

So if we're doing a little peer-mediated try out there and we're asking a peer to, or prompting peer, to ask or to help that target child who might have ASD or another social communication disorder, then we wanna thank and reinforce that peer as well, and not necessarily just that target child who's in the situation, okay, so it's everybody around in our context, too.

The next module that we teach is Diversity Awareness.

Now, all these modules, as Carmen mentioned, are parts of different types of peer-mediated programs.

So when we talk about stay-play-and-talk as a focus or a foundation, then stay-play-and-talk also has diversity awareness built in.

And what you choose for something like diversity awareness depends on what your children already know, how they already feel, what the particular context is like, what kinds of resources they enjoy.

So you have lots of choice there, as Carmen mentioned, there lots of different ways to talk about diversity awareness.

So often our main focus on diversity awareness is the idea that we're all the same, and we're all different.

And we're not talking about tolerating diversity, we're talking about celebrating diversity.

Some of you may have taken introductory psychology in your undergrad degrees, and you might have watched these films called "Blue eyes/Brown eyes".

So that's a really, really good example of how we don't do diversity awareness, but it's also a really good example of how when our students see their teachers treating students differently from other students, that they do it very, very quickly, and how our students skills respond quite negatively too.

So if you ever wanna look that up on YouTube, if you haven't already seen it, research ethics would never allow us to do something like that today, but it was certainly interesting to look at and reflect upon.

So in Diversity Awareness, we do an introduction to diversity, we do sometimes simulated activities, sometimes not, and then debriefing.

And debriefing is really, really important, not one of those things you want to not do because your are tight for time too, so they're all three are particularly important.

So let's talk about what each of these steps look like.

So Carmen mentioned that I really like the idea of using picture books to help teach about diversity, including teaching about autism spectrum disorders.

So I did pull a few of my favorite resources off my shelves, which I happen to have on hand.

Most of them are locked up at the university right now, so I'm gonna go through a few of those.

So here's one called "How to Babysit a Logan".

Now, I'm gonna hold that in front of you while I read the back.

"Thunderbolts, the cat, takes his position of babysitting Logan, his human, very seriously.

Logan has autism, so it is Thunderbolts' job to protect and provide support for Logan throughout his day.

In this heartfelt true story, view the world of living with someone with autism through the eyes of their beloved cat." So that's a really creative way to talk about ASD, talk about it from the view of a family pet.

We have tons of good books and resources around autism and disabilities now, that we didn't have years ago, but there are some things that we can think about when we're making some choices.

So we wanna think about, first of all, is it a good book, is it a good read, does it link with your imagination, does it help teach literacy, maybe that's a good one too 'cause we're always using books for that, too, and does it have great art that is also engaging?

And this one, I would say, yes.

We also wanna talk about does it deliberately talk about ASD or does it talk about the characters of ASD but not mention characteristics of ASD, but not necessarily mentions ASD right up front?

So that's an important consideration.

Now, this one does.

So Carmen is going to roll her eyes seeing this one again, 'cause I always bring it up.

It's called "Looking After" either Louis or lu-wis, I'm not sure, I always felt "Looking After lu-wee".

So I'm gonna read the back of this one, and maybe you can see how it's a little bit different from the first example.

These are pictures books, I realize, not all of our children wanna hear from picture books, and not all the children we're teaching about ASD are very young children.

But there are a lot more picture books than there are others, but there are others.

Okay, so there's a new boy at school called Louis.

Louis sits next to me and I look after him.

He's not quite like the rest of us.

Sometimes I wonder what he's thinking.

He often sits and stares at the wall.

If I asked him what he's looking at, he says, "Looking at," and keeps on looking.

Louis has autism, but through imagination, kindness and a special game of soccer, his classmates find a way to join him in his world.

They can include Louis in theirs.

Now, I mean, it's not perfect, 'cause it's got a little bit of that what we call othering in the critical disability studies world going on, right?

I mean, there's not Louis and the rest of us, there's only us.

So it's not about they and them, but it's still an excellent piece of work.

One of the reasons I really like it is we can see a lot of inclusive classroom going on here, we can see educational assistance here, and the story does not mention autism.

So it mentions it on the back cover, it mentions it on the inner flap where the adults are gonna read when they're making some choices about ASD, but it's not part of the story.

So I do really appreciate that, and, of course, excellent artwork.

So you can see from the back reading place that it talked about echolalia, which might start a really interesting discussion, but we're not gonna start that discussion at all, we're not gonna talk to our whole class about ASD if there's a child with ASD in that class, and that child's parents, and/or that student, are not comfortable with the idea.

So there, of course, is a whole process to thinking about how we're going to do this well in our particular environment.

So talking about ASD is awesome if everybody's talking about it first, from our students' family.

So we can also watch videos.

I love the book piece.

And I did bring another piece here called "Scarlet Ibis".

This is a really complex book, it's one for older students, it's one for our students who like to read a little more than a picture book, and it tells an awesome story about this boy, Red, who has autism, in a really complex family situation and the trials and tribulations that they go through.

And it is an award-winning book, it won award this year for its publication.

It says great things about it.

So those are just a few examples.

I also want to point out that since I'm so passionate about this area, that I did publish an article that actually goes through all the steps of using picture books to teach about autism in inclusive classrooms.

So that's by myself, Kimberly Maich, and a colleague of mine, Christina Belcher.

And that particular article is not in your reference list, because we only included some references.

And I don't believe that our picture books are either, but we can certainly gather those together, and Shelly can send them out to you if you're interested as we go along.

So then we have simulated activities.

So we might already be talking about autism, we might have watched about autism, we might have read some books about autism, we can also do some simulated activities.

So one of the things that Carmen developed when she was working with the Autism School Support Program, when I was also working with that one, that's a program in Ontario that doesn't have very much funding anymore, but it was a great collaboration between Health Services and schools, is that we can talk about how we do things in different ways.

So we have a great kit of activities that was put together at that time.

It's not events not available fo purchase anymore, I don't think, but Carmen will clear that up at this point, but so for example, we might do skipping.

So in our kit, we might have long pieces of twine for skipping, and we might skip together, we might time how fast you can skip, and then we might have to skip using little pieces of twine, which is really hard and very painful.

We might also compare that to just using skip ropes and how much that is easier and how we can skip faster, how many skips can we do in a minute, can we skip more effectively as well, do we make fewer mistakes?

One of the great things that might happen when we have these little pieces of twine is that our students might realize that they can tie them together, and they can make a bigger piece of twine to make it far less frustrating.

Sometimes they think that's cheating at first, but then they realize we're helping one another, and that's a little hint about our debriefing that's coming ahead.

So there are all different activities we can do.

We can do catching a ball versus a wall ball, we can use nuts and bolts to screw them off and on, and then try it with large gloves, we can try and do a spelling test where a whole bunch of like, really annoying noises are playing in our ears, but that one tends to annoy our students the most, sometimes that can get the strongest message, too.

We can try best playing basketball with scooters, versus just playing basketball, how do we do?

Can we write a paragraph, just like we do, and then can we do it with scratchy glasses on our face, can we walk a line on the floor, can we walk that same line using backwards mini binoculars, with Vaseline on the ends, so we can't see as well, safety first, of course, so there are many different activities we can do.

They aren't always well-received in every facet of disability studies and disability advocates, so we do have to be very careful about what we're simulating, and always being very respectful along the way.

And then in terms of debriefing, that's also, as I said earlier, something that's really important and not one of those pieces that we want to skip.

So we wanna talk about, what did you perceive, so what did you experience while you're doing this activity?

And then assuming that our students are gonna be talking about challenges, what are those challenges, what did the challenges feel like, and then, really importantly, again, what strategies did you use to overcome the challenges?

So we're trying to hope that we get some information about, again, people helping one another because that's the message that we want to walk away with.

It's not that, "Oh, that was really hard.

"It really is awful," but that, "look, if we're having an area where we struggle, then we help one another." And you can see, of course, that underlies the whole idea of community, collaboration, peer-mediated social skills, all of those things.

So what does that tell us?

Show us about people with disabilities, and then of course, having an open discussion if there are any other particular questions, so that's some ideas that you can use for debriefing, and Carmen's gonna show us a video.

- Thank you so much to the Peer Health for facilitating those activities, and for everyone here, it was such a great class you're participating in.

You were so quiet, I was impressed.

Okay, so what do you think of the activities, yeah.

- [Girl] For some of the activities, it's actually easy to do the hardest part.

- Right, okay, so yeah, so different heights make it easier or harder.

What did you think of those challenges we put?

- [Carmen] Oops, I think that it was me and Cory.

- I'm impressed.

Okay, so what do you think of the activities?


- [Girl] Well, for some of the activities, it's actually easy to do the hardest part.

- Right, okay, so yeah, so different heights make it easier or harder.

What did you think of the challenges we put in place?

You had to do it easy the first time and then we put a challenge in place.

What did you think of those challenges?


- [Boy] For some of the challenges were kinda difficult because I was trying to see through- - Okay, difficult, yeah, hard to see through, great.

(student mumbles) Yeah, it's harder to skip, if you're taller, with a string.

Okay, so those tasks that you found difficult or hard, how did you feel when you were doing them?

How would that feel if that's how it was every day?


(shushing) - [Girl] I'd feel sort of bad because sometimes it's hard to do that job I wanted.

- So you guys mentioned some of you thought it was easier on some of the tasks with the challenge in place.

So I asked you at the beginning, what did you do to overcome those challenges and make it easier?

So what strategies did you do to overcome those challenges to make it easier?


- [Boy] I tried the zip line, I tried to not listen to the background.

- Try not to listen to the background noise, excellent, yeah.

Take your time in planning out the skipping ropes with the string.

So you guys overcame every single challenge we put in place today, and were able to do it.

So do you think other people who may have similar disabilities would be able to do the same thing?

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Did you do it differently than you did with the normal way?

So for example, the skipping rope, did you skip differently than you did with the skipping rope with a string?

- [Students] Yeah.

- So were you still able to skip?

- [Students] Yeah.

- Yeah, so do you think people with disabilities who may be in wheelchair, who may have crutches, or may not be able to block out background noise, do you think that they're able to do the same things you're doing?

- [Students] Yeah.

- Yeah, they are.

They just may have to do a differently, just like you had to do some different things today.

So I congratulate you because this class was excellent at recognizing that before we even started, and then did you notice that when we built out the difficulties, you guys were able to come up with way more strategies to overcome the difficulties than you were able to point out how difficult that was?

So good for you.

Any other last questions or comments before we finish up today?


- What's your- - [Carmen] Okay, perfect.

So that was debriefing and just highlighting what Kimberly had mentioned about the important parts to including debriefing.

And just to highlight again, that overcoming the challenge and flipping it to what they did to overcome the challenge is the key, if you're ever gonna do simulation activities.

You don't have to do simulation activities, just if you're gonna do them, make sure you do the debriefing.

I'd be happy to share that video with anybody because I'm just so passionate about those studies that have shown negative influences with peers, and we never want that.

So if you want that video, you're more than like happy to have it, I wanna make it very accessible so that we do debriefing right, and we let peers lead with the correct information.

Sorry, Kimberly, just had to give that plug.

I'm anxious about that sometimes.

- [Kimberly] Never be sorry.

All right, now I know you've all been waiting for this, the TRACKS acronym.

I believe that Carmen typed it in our chat box too, so now we're getting to the TRACKS acronym, but the TRACKS acronym is all about all of these behavioral pieces in, as Carmen mentioned, a kid friendly way.

So rather than reading this list that's on your screen right now in front of you, I'm gonna go through them piece by piece.

So we're gonna start with T, which is Try again, and that's our kid version, and that links up with the more behavioral word, or the more adult word, which is persistence.

So in other words, it's okay to go back to your peer, even if you've been a little rejected or rebuffed, and those aren't words we use with our children, but the idea that it's okay to try again.

Now, that doesn't mean you try again all the time, or you try again right that second, but give them another chance, it might work out next time.

So even if someone doesn't wanna play with you right now, that doesn't mean they might not want to later on.

So maybe they were just in a bad mood, maybe they were just involved in what they were doing, let's keep trying.

I mean, we do that as adults, right, we need to learn to do that as children.

- [Carmen] And sometimes with some of your kids, if they might have some behaviors, and we'll talk about children that have behavior issues in the peer-mediated, that remember, sometimes I give the peers you try again twice, and that's it, if I know that that student in that class can't handle any more than that.

- [Kimberly] Always have to know your audience, you always have to know your students, too.

(chuckles) R is the Right thing, in other words, correcting.

Now, one of the things we have to be very careful about is that we're not creating a scenario where the child with a disability is wrong and the child without the disability is right because that's obviously a whole nother situation in itself.

So what we're trying to do is change a particular behavior, and we're not trying to change the person.

Now, the reality is of everyday life is that we all need reminders sometimes about what the right thing to say is,, or the right thing to do in new situations.

I mean, that certainly accounts, right from very young children, right into adulthood.

So maybe that's somebody who isn't great with personal space and we may need to say, "Can you back up, please?" We might need to use a gesture with that.

Now, I know my husband went to the hardware store this morning to buy a ladder, and he said that he felt like he was teaching people about social distancing as he was walking along with his ladder, and in fact, when he was in line, he told everybody he was doing extreme social distancing because that ladder made like a nice little area around him that nobody wanted to come near.

I think they say farther away than, if he was wearing a mask, for example.

So we might be able to talk to people, and we might be able to teach those little pieces that add up to perhaps big behavior change.

And sometimes that comes a lot better from our peers than it does from an adult, right, sometimes it's better if somebody else that's your age happens to mention something in a fun and friendly, and kind way.

And the idea there is that, of course, it opens up social relationships and it helps with our transition, it helps us to get more into our academics 'cause we're getting past the particular behavior that's getting in the way, and start focusing on what we need to focus on, learning.

The next one is Assist, and that stands for prompting.

We all know what prompting is, prompting is a reminder that we give after our first instruction.

So if you look at these particular pictures here, they're really good for representing what assisting looks like, especially in the first few days of doing peer-mediated instruction, while the adults are transitioning into stepping back from that particular role.

So when an adult is doing peer-mediated instruction, they're still there, they might just literally be stepping back and able to come in as needed.

So Carmen mentioned the word telescoping, and that's a great example of what we might be doing.

And as she mentioned, that's really, really hard to change because sometimes people feel like they're not doing their jobs if they're not right there.

You're still doing your job, just doing your job a little differently.

C is Congratulate, and that's another word for reinforcement.

And we've been talking a lot about reinforcement already, so I think you are well aware of what it is.

And as we talked about, that can take different forms for different people.

It might mean access to particular activity, it might mean verbal praise, it might mean a high five, it depends on what you like.

If you try and give a reinforcement, and it doesn't work to change behavior, it's not a reinforcement, you try and give a reward and it doesn't change behavior, it's not a reward.

So sometimes I have those conversations with people where they say, "Well, rewards don't work," well, then, it's not actually reward that you're using, so let's try again.

And I know for some students, we have a tough time finding rewards or reinforcers that work, so I am well aware of that.

So next, we have the K in TRACKS, and that's Keep trying, which is persistence, again, so we try, and we keep trying.

Using that twice makes absolute sense, because it's persistence.

So it's so important.

Sometimes we really underestimate how many times or how many interventions, or how many practices it takes to change your behavior.

And the behavior, of course, I took a few years ago, it was this awesome example of a small toddler who kept trying to go down into the very dangerous basement.

And his parent was just at a loss of what to do.

So the interventionist was there, moving that child out of the way every time the child came to the door.

And it was really interesting to see, I can't remember how many times it happened, but I would say between 50 and 100 times, and eventually the child starts coming to the door, and started going back the other way.

So sometimes we need to persist in helping to change behavior more than we think we do.

Sometimes we need to give reminders at the beginning of a new skill, and reinforcers more than we think we might need to be able to.

So we have to make sure that we're being consistent, we have to make sure that we're following all the procedures, and all of those things are important in creating behavior change.

The last one is show, and that's modeling.

And it's great when our students themselves can model for their peers what should be happening.

Maybe it's just simply a point to show what page we're on in a textbook, or what spot we're on a textbook, maybe it's a point to show where we're going right now, or that we need to line up.

So all of those little subtle things can add up to a lot because the more that we bring our peers together, the more peer contact there is, the more social modeling there is, the more positive social communication modeling there is, it all adds up to a lot.

And that's what TRACKS stands for.

- [Carmen] Perfect, thanks, Kimberly.

Sorry, I was typing, I was navigating, I was doing slides.

So I just wanted to clarify to everyone that I think people were confused about we talked about reward systems, and then we talked about TRACKS, we talked about reinforcement again.

So remember, just as a highlight, so you wanna highlight the beginning, the first step is, we're a TRACKS classroom, we include everyone, that's really the introduction that you're modeling, that inclusivity, and that the philosophy that you're gonna follow in your classroom, okay?

Then Step Two is the reward system.

And again, the reward systems not as much for your target child, or the child that you're struggling with that you might be doing this for, it's the reward system that your peers are gonna be into.

So why do we always, and I've been doing this in the Q&A, why do we have to have a reinforcement system?

Sometimes we find them in unnatural things like that.

However, I've done them with and without over the years, and the reality is, the reason you need a reinforcement system is like somebody just mentioned in the Q&A, often, our target child might not acknowledge the peers, they're not gonna give that natural reinforcement and in a social situation, it's the peer and then you give them to answer back, or they throw the ball, or something.

And if that peer is not getting that, and that's usually why they're not socially included right now, that peer is gonna leave.

So the reinforcement system is really to help our target peers stay motivated to keep going and persisting when that child might not be interested in going.

And so often we talk about what type of peers and I say that we always have, and I call them the mother hens in early elementary years, and those are great, and usually they're female, girls, who wanna include our child with a disability, and we all usually take advantage of it, and there's some intrinsic motivation there.

However, for a lot of the other peers, there's not.

And so that reinforcement system is really to help that until your target child starts responding more reliably.

Usually, after a couple rounds of reinforcement, we can thin it out right out, and we don't need to do it because that child's interacting and they're naturally getting that social reciprocity.

But remember, it's there because that isn't necessarily happening.

So then the awareness activities are really meant to enhance similarities and differences and for peers to start saying, "Oh, there are differences." So it's really an awareness-raising.

However, research has demonstrated it really doesn't change behavior.

Why doesn't it change behavior?

'Cause you've said, there's people that are different in your classroom, you need to include them, but you haven't told them how.

So the how is the TRACKS, you train the peers in TRACKS, and that is the how they're going to include that child with a disability.

So at the beginning I mentioned peer-mediated, it's all about training the peers, you're training them in disability awareness, or awareness activity that doesn't have to be disability at all, 'cause especially the younger, we just do something different, and then you train them in the TRACKS skills, or if you wanted for younger kids to stay, play and talk, you're telling them what it is, and that's the key.

After the TRACKS lesson, you just see it.

Kids that never started to interact before start to interact because they know how, you've taught them the skill.

So I think it's turning it on its head.

We talked about our target kids, we have to teach them the skill.

We also have to teach the skill to our peers or they're not gonna interact, okay?

So I'm very passionate, as you can tell, about all of that.

(chuckles) So I've trained my peers, and the last thing about that but before I go back, is the awareness activities, you don't have to do them, okay?

It's more of the TRACKS and teaching them how to do it that's important.

I find awareness is great, it's a great precursor to the TRACKS, it's a good just to start to get their juices working, them starting to be aware, I usually do it like two weeks in between each one, a week or two, you can do 'em condensing camps, we have Monday and Tuesday, because we need to get this going, we have Monday to Friday, but if you can do a few weeks to get some thinking about it, but again, if you need to take one part out, you don't have to do awareness activities, 'cause some people don't like them, and they can be risky if you don't follow up appropriately.

So we've trained the peers that now what?

The peers know that they're gonna start to include and they can start to help you teach that child social skills.

What's needed, prompting through peers.

This is where the adult behavior has to change, and this is the key to making it work.

I've seen tons of educators camps, daycares, everybody train them in the TRACKS, or the state-play-and-talk, and they don't prompt, the adult behavior doesn't change, the adult's still there, peer interactions don't increase.

So it's really about trying to change that behavior, and for you to take a step back.

My best analogy is like, you're like a telescope, your job is not that you're not supporting that child anymore, it's just it's different.

You're in the periphery, you're in the background, the kids are sitting around the table, you're physically move back, you're jumping in like that EA did at the beginning in the four square, you're doing a prompt, and then you're moving back again, you're providing a prompt, you're moving back.

What are you prompting in?

You're prompting the peers to use TRACKS.

So whenever possible, you're not interacting with your target students, okay, the primary goal is you're interacting with the peers, and you're helping them generalize the track skill.

So I might say, "Hey, Ashley, come over here," and this is a situation where we took our Fanshawe autism students and we put them in a Boys and Girls Club camp for all of March Break, and they volunteered, and we had 10 kids with autism across all the camps, and all the students come to care.

So she pulled her to the side of the soccer field, and she said, "See, he's kind of sitting there over by the goalpost.

Can you try again and get him to come back into the game?" So that's what they're doing in this picture.

So really, we need them to use those TRACKS skills.

So the primary things that were used in the literature is we taught the peers how to win the main things, is we set as people have got them to teach our target students, okay, so there's multiple lines, so we're using peers to teach our target students to initiate a conversation, because often that's an area to respond to a conversation.

So if they say, "Hey, Kimberly, how are you doing today?" and your child that you're doing this with doesn't respond, I would prompt them and say, "Tell them to say this," or in this case, I'm gonna get to in a second, I might prompt my target student to respond, so it's reciprocal.

And also, there's some really cool literature about soccer skills, and some recreation skills, that have been taught through this, so not just social communication.

How to work with others, keep friends, some of those other social skill, things that people mentioned in our last webinar are really argued to be a focus in the literature.

They're not a huge focus now, but you can prompt peers in those types of things as well.

So as I mentioned, your goal here, you're assisting peers in generalizing the TRACKS skills, so you're prompting this peer.

Number one thing I find is that they try and do it for them.

So in this situation with the mixing here at camp, they tried to just mix for the child here.

And so we said, "No, you need to assist, how do you assist him?" And so in this case, he's prompting him here, and he's doing a little bit of a prompt by helping to hold the spoon with him.

Removing the adult, this girl that was standing behind there in this real-life situation from the boys and girls there, she was sitting right next to him, next to him, now she's back, she's reinforcing, she's saying good job, she's reinforcing them both, but she's not acting as a barrier.

Remember that research I talked about, the closer the adults are to the child with a disability, the lower the number of social interactions that come towards here.

So your job as the adult now is you're prompting the initiations and you're prompting the responses, and that's the key step.

So this is written out in the notes pages below, but your Step One that was shown in that four square video, is you want to prompt the child to be next to them.

So they need to be physically close in order to interact, whatever you're doing, whether you're teaching soccer, or you're teaching initiation and response skills.

So Step One is you have to make sure, so you might say to your target kid, "Okay, "we're gonna go over here and play." Or like this study, Kimberly and I talked about last time, it was in a kindergarten classroom where we did stay, play and talk, but we had the kids go to a back table to play a game with a speech language pathologist, but they were some of the class, but a couple peers came with them.

In the Q&A someone mentioned, "Could you do that if the class is too overwhelming?" Absolutely, the whole goal here is you have a couple of typical developing peers and the peers need to be trained.

So if you have somebody who's maybe lower-functioning, or non verbal, and it's a little overwhelming for them in the classroom, or there's some sensory issues, having a small group together is completely fine.

Second thing you wanna do is you wanna prompt the peers.

So say it's a little boy here, we'll call him Johnny, sorry, Johnny gets used all the time, and we'll say, "Whose turn is it?" I might say, "A group thing," or I might say, "hey, Dylan, can you ask Johnny, tell him to go, it's his turn?" So you're gonna prompt the peer rather than going to that child.

So I'll never forget the first time I did this back in 2005, when I was with an EA in a classroom, and they're playing go fish and the peer deals all the cards and the child with autism sitting there and she goes, "Oh, I just have to go help and tell him to put his cards in." I said, "Why do you?" So I said, "Hey, does everybody have their cards in their hand?" And so one of the kids was just trained goes, "Oh, hey, hey, Todd, you need to put your cards in your hand," and so he did.

And then it comes around to his turn, and he doesn't know to say, "Do you have an eight?" So the EA is like ready to go in, and I'm literally holding her back, "No, stay here." So I go and whisper to that girl who just helped him and I said, "Tell him to say, 'Do you have an eight?'" And so she prompted, and he did it.

Three prompts it took, about standing back and just prompting, the rest of the game was played on their own, and by the end, he knew the game.

Does that work with children who are non verbal?

Yes, it just might look a little bit different, and I'll talk about that in a second.

Step Three, is that you want the target child to respond.

So say the peers are really great, and they say, "Hey, Johnny, you wanna come play with us?" and Johnny just stands there.

Remember, you have to make it reciprocal, those peers just did it.

So I would probably reinforce those peers and say, "That's awesome.

Can you try again?" And I would get them to try again, and I would reinforce them for trying again, 'cause they just did a TRACKS skill.

But then I might say, "Johnny say, 'Sure, let's go,'" and get him to go, because I also want, in this case, I wanna prompt that peer 'cause I want those peers to be reinforced.

Peers aren't gonna keep coming back if that child's never responding.

Number Four, we get the peers.

So if he went along with them after they asked him to play, I would say, "Hey, tell him, 'Good job,' congratulate him." They would congratulate them, I would reinforce the peers, "Awesome job doing that," which is Step Five, okay?

So kids who are non verbal, or maybe don't have functional communication systems, this works, and I took the video out because we don't have too much time left.

But I have one of the first times we did it in camp when we ran it summer-wide here, we had a child who had no functional communication system except for three signs.

And she came to camp with a family-hired support worker, so they weren't one of our staff, and she came to the TRACKS training, and she goes, "This isn't gonna work for her," and she walked in with her bag.

The girl was 10 years old, and she walked in with her bag of Fisher Price toys.

And so as I was doing the TRACKS training and everything, they were sitting on the side playing with them.

And so we slowly got them doing it and including her more and getting the support worker to move back.

What ended up happening was she did a lot of hand-flapping.

And again, there were some nine and 10-year-old girls there, and they one day were sitting next to her as they were doing a camp song or whatever, and they started flapping their hands, and then she looked over and flapped back, and it became a reciprocal situation.

Then the girl held her hand and brought her into the game, and she went with her, and I have video of the whole summer.

She went the entire eight weeks of that type of reciprocal situation happening with no functional communication system.

And I've seen it over, and over, and over.

Teaching peers to use a communication system, if they're using PECS, or sign, or a speech-generating device, any of those is also really important if the child has it.

But the key is that you always have to be thinking, again, how are those peers staying motivated, so sometimes do I have to prompt my child to respond, they're getting reinforcement, at the beginning for using the TRACKS skills, so that they're generalizing them, and then how am I choosing activities, that that child that you guys were talking about is really hard to motivate?

So is the only thing that they really love is water.

So maybe it's going to be in a kindergarten classroom, and you're only gonna do peer-mediated at the beginning, where you prompt through peers around the water table, because that's what's really reinforcing.

And that's what our research showed when we did it in camps because we only had five days to collect data, is that if the activity was reinforcing for the child with ASD, we saw the interactions increase when the reinforcing activity wasn't, they didn't really like the game, or they didn't understand the game, we didn't see as many peer-to-peer interactions, which makes sense.

So really think about the reward system here, the TRACKS reinforcement system is how to keep those peers motivated and excited to include that child and teach them the social skills, and then think about activities that is gonna reinforce your target child.

And that's why we really like board games, a lot of the kids are on the autism spectrum, not always, but we have many kids on the autism spectrum, and the structure of the board game really works.

And so that's what we've done is we say, in a classroom, just do a pull aside with a couple peers, come into a table, and play a board game.

And that structure really helps you to prompt and to get that peer-to-peer interaction.

So the two things you wanna think about is going most to least, or least to most, I'm sure many of you seen this before.

But if you're going most to least, you're gonna start with a full verbal model.

So I'm gonna say, "Tell Johnny, 'Come join us,'" so I'm gonna give them the exact words.

And then I might go down to a partial verbal model where I'm gonna say, "Look, Johnny is over there," or like I've given examples of, "does everyone have their cards in their hand?

Is everyone at the circle?

Does everyone have their pencil out?" And then if not, usually what happens is I end up gesturing, and we have lots of great videos where we're starting giving the kids the whole script, and then by the end, we're just pointing and they're doing it themselves, and then at the end, we just stay back and we have a time delay, we wait for them to respond.

If they do respond, then we don't do anything, if they don't respond, then we would provide a prompt and go up the hierarchy.

So when peers are learning to use the TRACKS skills at the beginning, and they haven't used them yet, you're gonna use more of most to least, and then as they develop these TRACKS skills, then they're in the maintenance, and then you're gonna use more of least to most, as you go through the prompting.

Last thing we wanna talk about today, and notice the time, I think we're right on time about to end here and open it up for questions, when is it inappropriate?

We understand that there's lots of different situations and you do you have to think about safety at all times.

I will often get the question, can we use this with children with behavior challenges?

And absolutely, I have, and it's been very effective, you just have to set it up appropriately.

One time, I had a grade-two boy who could be quite aggressive, and his big thing was taking the toys out of the other kids hands.

And so in this one instance, we trained the kids without him there and had permission from the family, but I often have the child in the room as I'm training everyone.

And we just talked about it, if somebody takes toys and that someone sometimes does, what do you do?

And he came back into the room when we started doing the prompting and the practicing, and the first time that he tried to take a toy, one of the children, just as trained, says, "That's my toy, we share in this classroom," and he literally dropped the toy.

(chuckles) However, I know there's more aggressive behaviors.

The key is that try to set up times if you can, where it can be successful, and start there.

So if like you rarely see behaviors at the beginning of the school day, or you don't see them when it's around nap time or a certain activity, do those activities, and only during it here, and then move on.

Other things, we please do not use prompting through peers for is things like hygiene, sexual behaviors, any of those sensitive topics, that's not a time to use a peer, that's a time really for an adult-mediated approach.

I had a teacher, one of my first years, doing this thing.

So I, "So glad you came into my classroom to do this.

So I'd really like you to talk to them about helping him, he picks his nose a lot during circle time.

So can the peers prompt him to stop doing that?" No, that's not appropriate, right, we wanna always connect and protect the dignity of the child during that time.

So anything when it comes to safety or dignity, we always say for you to step in, and it's really important.

Okay, phew, I feel like that was a whirlwind.

We delivered that in eight hours last week, or six hours, so delivering in an hour and 15 minutes, we know it was super fast, but it was meant to be an overview.

Just so you know, we've just published a website, it's called, it's not too hard, and the Web Advisor developer, who's me, is a little bit slow, so if there's some technical glitches, please be patient with me, and you can always email me.

We had an Ontario Trillium grant to do Camps on TRACKS across Ontario, so that's where we trained our 4,500 people the last couple of years, and part of the outcome, the grant just ended this year, was to create a website where all these resources were available.

So online right now, we have our Camps on TRACKS little foldout manual.

When COVID is over, it'll be connected to the fan shop bookstore and you can buy hard copies, right now that's not open, but there's digital downloads.

We have stay-plan-and-talk for the early years, like Kimberly mentioned, so that's the Buddy Skills Program, and we've made them into all usable lessons with all the handouts.

Right now, that's downloadable free, not free, sorry, there's a small cost for all of these on our website, and then the hard copy when COVID's over, will be available to be shipped to you as well.

And then the last one we're doing is schools on TRACKS.

And we're just analyzing that with the school board right now, and it should be available probably in a month.

So you can check back to the website.

All of these have a small fee, and the fee is just to cover some of the website costs.

And hopefully, that we can have a real web developer so that it's a little bit faster because I must admit that with everything going on, I'm not as fast as a web developer, as I'm learning this as I go.

So the other two products available there is there's an online training that's self-guided and has videos, and audio, and downloads available, for Camps on TRACKS, as well as the schools one will be available.

So those are only $10, but we have school boards buying them and if you buy a package of 50, they go down to $3 a person and if you go package of 100, they go down to $2 a person.

So again, we're not getting rich, we're just trying to get some sustainability in terms of our products.

Stacy had asked, "Have you ever had experience where a student has been isolated due to safety and you started introducing peer interaction through peer-mediated social skills?" And yes, we have, definitely because of safety or behaviors, they have been isolated.

We have done it like kind of a reverse integration piece where some peers come over, or they come in the classroom and again, we just do it for short times, and we start somewhere where it can be successful, where there's few behaviors, or there's few things, and we just set it up correctly.

And so we might do a little bit including in our training, remember, just adapt the training, I guess, the TRACKS is the key, but adapt it to your kid.

So if they need augmentative communication, say, "This called PECS, this is how we use it.

This is Proloquo2Go, this is how we use it.

If anybody ever tries to pull your hair, you know what you need to do, you need to move back, or if there's some precursors you see, you know what, sometimes some of us get anxious and we start to tap our fingers.

When we do that, that's probably a time where we all need to move back from the table." So just start small and please set it up in the biggest way with the most dignity and respect for that person, or a way that the peers can also respond to that.

Or maybe it's set up that you say, "You know what, sometimes so-and-so, he doesn't like it, the loud noises.

And sometimes when we play these games, they get really noisy." So when I say this, that means the game is over for now, and we're gonna take a break, and we'll come back to it, or something like that, where you just prepare the peers, information is power, that's what this is about, and that's what we've seen, is the more information we can provide the peers, the more interactions we see.

"Can you talk a little bit more about the online training, and what does it involve?" Sure, so the modules, the camps one's published right now and then the schools one, we're just we wanted to adapt because we've refreshed it.

We created the schools ones, like I said, 15 years ago, and no one wanted us in the schools, and so right now that they want us back after all these years of doing camps, we're just really refreshing it, but it should take two hours.

It's an interactive module where you read, there's a video, there's a case study, there's like interactive questions as you go through, and it basically goes through what we covered today in more depth.

So it goes through the five modules we just talked about, with examples and whatnot.

So you definitely can, if somebody that you wanted to see this, you might wanna buy the online training, it's self-guided, and you can do it on your own for school board staff.

I saw somebody, I don't know where the information went, there's multiple chats happening here, so I might be missing some.

I think Kimberly, or somebody, is trying to monitor them for me, but you can't.

We're fine with sharing these slides here, for sure.

- [Shelley] There's a student who touches other students' faces or other students' hair?

Would you use these strategies?

- [Carmen] Yeah, and so I can just think of a child I was coaching last summer, who was part of one of our research studies at camp, and her behavior was pulling hair.

And so I talked to the staff first about doing an activity where hands were engaged, or that she was using her hands.

But we also just talked about, and the parents were totally fine with this, but remember, whenever I talk about a specific student in the training, I always get permission, I get that it's different for every family, however, in most cases, when their child does have a behavior issue, as long as it's handled with dignity and respect, they're actually grateful because they see the outcomes.

And I said, "So guess what, sometimes she just loves hair and she tries to pull it.

And you know what, I think it's best, do you mind putting your hair in a ponytail before we start?" And the little girls were like, "Oh, yeah, no problem." And I said, "And if she does try and pull your hair, just say, 'No, thanks.

I don't like it.'" and even though as adults, many times I have this happen over, and over, and over again, as adults, we might say, "Don't touch any hair," they don't listen.

As soon as the peer here says it, it's amazing how quick it happens.

So again, just be cautious.

I wouldn't be fading myself as quick if I know that a child has behavior issues, as when I'm saying, "Get to the back," for other kids.

So my prompting cue peers might look a little bit different, I might be there beside her hand, just to help to moderate that till I see how successful it is.

And you just have to play by ear as you go on.

- [Kimberly] I can answer the next few questions, and you can jump in Carmen if you wanna add any more.

We do have a question about building social skills for students who are aggressive?

I wanted to point out that none of our research in these projects have been undertaken with any students who are aggressive, but there isn't a separate set of social skills instruction for students who are aggressive, what there is, is a combination approach.

So what tools can be used to decrease that problem behavior, and then doing social skills assessments and then teaching those social skills as well.

So at least decreasing the problem of behavior, we're increasing those skills and the performance of those skills along the way.

So there isn't a separate set of literature on social skills for students who are aggressive.

Do you agree, Carmen?

- [Carmen] Yes, absolutely.

And I was starting to type the answers to these other ones.

Just Stephanie had mentioned that we choose the mother hens, and I'm sorry, if I said that, what I meant to say is, often we gravitate towards the mother hens because they're natural, whereas, and what I usually say and I didn't say the end of this, because I'm trying to condense it all in, is that in usually by grade six or seven, those mother hens don't care anymore, and that child doesn't have friends, so I wouldn't choose those.

Sometimes it's good to start with one or two of them at the beginning 'cause they have some intrinsic interest, but what research demonstrates is that social status is where you wanna look at it.

And I hate the word, I don't know what you wanna call it, but research has demonstrated with typical peers in a classroom, that their social status, and the ones that peers that are respected, that other peers are going to initiate or respect them more, or do those behaviors that they're doing.

So whenever I go into a classroom to do this, and usually I don't know anyone when I'm asked to go in and model it, I look at some of those people who might have higher social status, that kids are looking up to, and I'm gonna prompt them first.

Sometimes it's not as effective, because they might not be there, but the research demonstrates that if you can get kids with higher social status and prompt them first, then other kids will follow.

So you really want to think about that and to do as many peers as possible.

My suggestion is to try and get a whole bunch of different kinds of peers, because those kids with social status might not necessarily always be the ones that ends up creating friendships, if a friendship develops, but we also don't want it to just be those kids who are mothering, either, so we really want a balance.

And then the question about, would you recommend the online training for EAs?

Yes, as Kimberly mentioned.

And a lot of our school boards are looking for training for their EAs right now.

Please email me if you wanna buy a package.

I don't know if our website's working with the package, so if you are looking at like buying 100, it's listed on there, I think it goes down to $2 a person, but email me first because I'm, again, the web developer's a little slow on the technology part.

- [Kimberly] I just wanna emphasize what Carmen mentioned earlier, is that when she says purchase package, that the money is not going to us personally, it's just coincidentally back into sustaining, for example, developing more material.

- [Carmen] Exactly, thank you, Kimberly.

I said we're not getting rich, but I meant the greater, we have the Camps on TRACKS committee and us, five people who've been pushing this for the last 15 years.

- And I also want to mention that because I know we've seen questions about this before, when we're talking about initially like prompting those other students first, or the ones that we think that other students will look up to or listen to more, that's a very, very short phase, it's not something that lasts, it's just the very beginning.

hey, I'm gonna try this first, hey, I'm gonna try this second.

It is still a class-wide approach, it's just a tiny little initial step.

- [Carmen] If you have a group training, do you have to do it together?

No, you would get different access codes so everyone could do it.

And definitely towards the end of the summer, I can negotiate that, but again, if you're gonna do a group one, just email me, it's just easier that way, I'd feel better that I get you the right access codes, that is, I'm just not quite trusting the automated process that's built into the website yet because we've been live for like three weeks, and we've done this on a very, very small budget.

So yes, definitely, we can definitely negotiate the length of time and it's all asynchronous.

So take it any time that they want.

- [Shelley] And I just wanna take a minute to thank Kimberly and Carmen for joining us today, for being so engaging and so generous with their time and their resources.

And we really appreciate your expertise, and your experience, and sharing that with us.

I'm sure we'll be following up with you to provide some more of that in the future as we go forward.

And thanks so much to everyone who took the time to participate today.

We really appreciate your participation and your attention and look forward to seeing you in our upcoming webinar in June as well.

So, thanks so much, and take care everyone.

We'll see you soon.

Serving Children & Youth Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing/Blind or Visually Impaired