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    Opening my ARIS Autism Curriculum Kit for the 1st time

    Topics: Teaching with Pictures, ARIS Autism Curriculum, Product Reviews, Infant/Toddler (0-3), Elementary (4-12), Teen (13-17), Flash Cards

    Christmas came early this year! 

    Having worked in elementary and secondary self-contained autism classrooms, I have used various curriculums or gathered piecemeal resources to make my own instructional units. I found ways and means, but nothing that checked every box. That’s why I was so excited to check out something new when I heard about ARIS: The Academic Readiness Intervention System.

    frankie_circleI’ve got to be honest, when I first saw this MASSIVE box on my front step, I was overwhelmed. When I took it out of the box and opened it for the first time, I felt like someone had cued the angelic music because it was so heavenly awesome!

    Here are my highlights from opening that ARIS kit for the first time.

     

     

    • Language Builder cards and Reproducible Worksheets

    Is this real life?! They’re all here! Every flash card that I have looked at or ordered off Amazon is actually in this box! I don’t have to spend any more time drawing quick pictures on post-its, googling something or creating my own. 

    There were even some in the box that I hadn’t heard of before, which only made me more excited. The Blocks set includes the actual blocks along with images of all the different ways students build and match the images. What a concept—the kit actually provided me with the things that it said I would need to teach a lesson! 

    That’s why the reproducible worksheets are clutch as well: especially when I’m working on a fine motor skill like tracing or cutting, I need worksheets that have a certain thickness of line, etc. But in the past I usually I ended up making something on my own, on the fly, because it wasn’t included. As a side note for someone who gets excited about these kinds of things, after you open up the packaging (which is a neat little rectangle) I was worried about getting it all to fit back in, BUT the kit has a section that comes out so everything still fits neatly inside. Sigh, my organizational obsessive side has peace at last.

    Ezri 3DBut back to the main point, I can’t begin to think of all of the times when I would be getting ready to give some kind of assessment, would read the instructions and think: 

    “Shoot, where am I going to find that?” 

    So thank you ARIS for actually giving me the materials I need!!

    • Behavior management and instructional materials

    This should be no shocker, but the students you work with are going to have some kind of behavior that needs to be improved. But a more surprising fact to me is that I have never before had any curriculum actually explain behavior basics, provide data collection sheets AND a communication log with families or outside agencies so everyone can be on the same page in managing that behavior. Having the behavior management information and resources in the Implementation Guide is also a big time saver when it comes to training and creating materials.

    • Tied to standards

    I work in a school so my instruction needs to be tied to Common Core Standards, but we also use the VB-MAPP and sometimes the ABLLS in our setting. Believe it or not, there is a poster in the kit that shows the applicable standard for all of these areas and even Head Start Standards! Now I can really make sure that my instruction is filling those gaps in my student’s skills and meet all of the criteria and standards for my state. I also believe this will help when I’m updating my assessments because I will already have a tracking system which shows the correlation between what I’m teaching and what benchmark in VB-MAPP, ABLLS, Common Core or Head Start.

    • Scripts included

    There’s only one of me and even then, I mess up a lot. So I was excited when I saw on each of the lesson folders that there is a section for procedures and lesson progression that seriously tells me how to teach the lesson step by step and even has a script. I remember when I first started and wasn’t really comfortable with discrete trial training and I totally botched my first sessions. It took a lot of practice, training and work until I could fluently run through verbal operant trainings. I really wish I’d had something like this when I was beginning—I know I would’ve picked up the skills a lot quicker.

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    My daughter also loves this extra packaging!

    The scripts are also fantastic for when I need to have someone else run a program with a student, because they can have the cue right there to remind them of what to say and do. I feel like I could give this script to a completely untrained person and they’d still know what to do because it says exactly what to say. And it’s a nice reminder for me when I am at a loss for words—like still being so giddy about the kit that I could definitely use a visual reminder to stay on track!

    • Application

    Kids don’t live in a bubble, but a lot of times I’ve seen my own instruction fail because it wasn’t geared toward generalizing skills to different parts of the school, home or the community. Generalization is actually built into all of the lesson plans! And since the folder is ready to write on (it’s laminated so it can just wipe off)—I can check these steps as they are occurring and help make sure that my students can perform the skills beyond our table time. A further extension of this is in the whole-child lesson section, which expands the ideas into easy ways to implement the same type of skill in a different setting such as a general education classroom. Thank you ARIS for helping me plan with the end in mind!

    Ezri in boxSo, is the box huge? Absolutely. Is it worth it? YES! As I continue to explore and play with my ARIS kit more and more, I keep finding more things to love about the curriculum, but the one I’m most looking forward to is getting my time back! I have spent so much of my planning periods in creating materials, developing training content, making data sheets and checking the standards, but now I can take a deep breath and just open my ARIS kit!

    What are some of the things that have made you most excited about ARIS?

    Frankie Kietzman, Ed.S.

    Written by Frankie Kietzman, Ed.S.

    Frankie Kietzman is a behavior coach for the Olathe School District in Olathe, KS. She has experience teaching as an elementary teacher, self-contained autism teacher for elementary and secondary students, autism specialist and now as a coach for teachers in dealing with challenging behaviors. Frankie’s passion for supporting children and adults with autism originates from growing up with her brother who is deaf and has autism. As one of her brother’s legal guardians, she continues to learn about post-graduate opportunities and outcomes for people with autism. Frankie’s dream is to bridge general and special education to create a more inclusive culture. She has a passion for peer-mediated interventions, social emotional learning, visual supports and community-based instruction. Frankie has a Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in high and low incidence disabilities from Pittsburg State University and in 2021, completed another Master’s degree in Advanced Leadership in Special Education from Pittsburg State University.