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I cannot believe we are 200 episodes into the Autism Classroom Resources podcast. I am so grateful to each and every one of you for tuning in! We have covered so many topics in the first 200 episodes, from challenging behavior to visual schedules to addressing systemic racism in special education. I am so glad that you have been able to gain valuable insight and tips from my autism classroom podcast!

In order to celebrate 200 episodes and reflect back on what we’ve done so far, I am sharing the top 10 downloaded episodes from the podcast. In this episode, I am sharing the most loved episodes, an overview of what was covered, and the common themes between these top episodes.

03:53 – Where to find more information on preventing downtime in your classroom 

06:49 – Which episode to tune into to find 9 tips to think about when writing IEP goals

09:58 – The 3 strategies to boost classroom management and where to hear more about these strategies

14:40 – What perseveration is and which episode discusses it in more detail

16:01 – The number 1 most downloaded episode of the Autism Classroom Resources podcast

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Welcome to the Autism Classroom Resources Podcast, the podcast for special educators who are looking for personal and professional development.

Christine Reeve: I’m your host, Dr. Christine Reeve. For more than 20 years, I’ve worn lots of hats in special education but my real love is helping special educators like you. This podcast will give you tips and ways to implement research based practices in a practical way in your classroom, to make your job easier and more effective.

Welcome back. I am Dr. Christine Reeve. And I’m your host, and you are listening to the Autism Classroom Resources podcast and we are on episode 200. I cannot believe that since I started this podcast in August of 2019, I have now recorded 200 episodes. And I want to thank each and every one of you for tagging along on this journey with me.

And today I want to go through our top 10 downloaded episodes. And I’ll talk a little bit about some of the themes and some of the things that it tells me about what you guys want to hear. So let’s get started.

Now, let me say that figuring out the number of downloads absolutely for a podcast is not as easy as it sounds, particularly when, like me, you changed hosts in the middle of these 200 episodes. But my amazing podcast manager was kind enough to pull our top 10 downloaded episodes and I went through, I called them just a little bit more a few of them were ones that were specific to COVID-19. And rather than have that, that may or may not apply anymore, I replaced those with the next set of downloaded ones.

It’s important to recognize too, I keep telling myself that these are often the earlier podcasts because they’ve been running for a longer period of time. And I’m really excited about that. Because that means that people are finding the back episodes and I’m not just talking to avoid after the episode comes out, which I’m always excited to know that people are actually listening to me as I sit in my room, in my office and talk to myself.

But that means that a lot of our older episodes are included here. And I think that’s great, because those of you who have found us more recently, may not have heard of these episodes. So these are episodes that I think can be really helpful, you’ll see that it definitely gives us an idea about some of the things that are the most popular, they are probably the most shared episodes with others as well.

So I’m going to go ahead and get started on counting them down. Let me also say that figuring out the all time listeners and downloads is also complicated. So just taking this past year, there have been 17.4 thousand all time, unique listeners. That’s huge people. Thank you so much for letting me share that time with you, letting me into your podcast app, and hopefully finding something useful of what I have to say.

And that has led to 66.6 thousand downloads over the last year. And that’s really more January through November. That doesn’t necessarily include December’s data, because I always record these or try to record them ahead of time. But again, I really want to thank you all for being part of this journey. And I look forward to some celebrating our 300 in the future. So let’s go ahead and get started on our countdown.

The 10th most popular episode downloaded in the last few years is Three Ways to Prevent Downtime in the Classroom. And that’s episode 51. For every one of these episodes, you can find it on my website at autismclassroomresources.com/episode and then the numeral of the episode number. But I will have an easy to use playlist for you in the show notes and a link that I’ll tell you later that you can use to get to the whole list if you want to listen to them.

So episode 51 was about three ways we can prevent downtime in the classroom. And these were strategies that you can use when setting up your routines, your schedules, and your classroom itself so that your students are staying engaged.

More recently, I did an episode on the magic of engagement and why engagement is so incredibly important. And this is a way to heighten your engagement by preventing those little waiting times that maybe you didn’t expect. It might be went to a specialist class and the teacher wasn’t ready so your students had to wait. What can you do during that time?

So it’s about setting up your classroom so we get rid of as many opportunities for those waiting times as possible, because they are things that lead to often more challenging behavior or disengagement. And the problem with disengagement is that when we’re disengaged, it’s very hard to get the students back. So I talk about all of that in episode 51.

Number nine is Five Ways to Prep Students to Avoid Challenging Behaviors. And that one is episode 97. So I’m guessing that most of us don’t like to have behavior problems in our classroom. I’m guessing that the reason that many of these episodes that were very popular are behavior related has to do with that.

But this specific podcast is about those antecedent strategies. So if you’ve listened to me talk about behavior support plans before I talk about how we need to have preventive strategies, strategies to teach the students skills that will replace the problem behavior, and how we respond to the challenging behavior.

These are strategies that would go into the preventive strategies. These are antecedent strategies that we’re using to try to keep the behavior from happening, which keeps the student in a learning mode, which allows us to teach those replacement behaviors when the student is calm, and ready to learn.

So I talked about the benefits of practicing useful strategies of how to handle bigger environments, different ways to deal with things like field trips. So what are some strategies that you can use to help to prepare a student for situations so that they can be more successful in them if you are anticipating problems?

The eighth most popular episode is Episode 37, which is IEP Mastery Criteria. It has nine tips that you need to know about writing your mastery criteria so that you aren’t sabotaging yourself. I have had years and years of experience of taking data on other people’s written goals and written mastery criteria, and learned a ton of what we do and don’t want to do in mastery criteria with that.

I’ve also learned it from myself where I’ve written mastery criteria into an IEP and then gone to take the data and when I don’t think that’s going to work. So these are nine tips to think about whenever you’re writing IEP goals, to make your life easier, so that your later self will thank you. essentially.

Our Master criteria governs our progress reports, it governs our progress that we can document a per student on an IEP. And for that reason, it’s really, really important. And yet, it tends to be an area that we spend the least amount of time thinking about. We have a tendency to go four out of five, and then we’re done – usually because we’re exhausted from trying to write the measurable goal to begin with.

But mastery level can actually be one of the biggest problems for determination of mastery of the goals and mastery the IEP in the long term. So I’ve got some very practical types of tips for that. And it ties directly into our free webinar on data collection. And I will make sure link for that is in the show notes as well.

The seventh most popular episode is episode 99. And episode 99 was The Three Most Important Things to Remember in Responding to Challenging Behaviors. So we have the earlier episode, looking at how do we prevent it and prep our students to be successful. These are the three things we really need to think about when we have to respond to a challenging behavior that occurs.

I’ve seen some suggestions for addressing problem behaviors that would never work in a real life context, especially in a classroom. You know, one of the things that behavior analysts are really, really bad about saying is we’ll just ignore it. It’s like, then the whole cast falls apart. I can’t just ignore it. But what do we do when we can’t ignore it?

So that third section of your behavior support plan has got to focus on what we do when the behavior happens, because it’s very likely that your behavior plan is not magical, and doesn’t make the behavior disappear overnight. So

I’ve got a story about how simplistic behaviour approaches just won’t work, why we really need to give this some thought.I’ve got some different areas as well. And three important things that we want to think about for context and things like that as we plan for how we respond when the behavior happens to make sure that everybody’s safe, but to try to minimize the frequency of the behavior later on. So that is episode 99.

The Sixth most popular episode is episode 29. And that is The Three Strategies to Boost Classroom Management. So one of the things I know that is really, really challenging for special educators in particular, or special educators who are in their own classroom or those that are going in and pushing into a gen ed setting is managing classroom management. Because one classroom management system doesn’t always work terribly well for the whole class when your students have such diverse behavioral needs, or they don’t work for the student you’re supporting in a more general environment.

So in this episode, I’m actually talking about three specific classroom management strategies. I talked about the marble jar, I talked about the Good Behavior Game, and I talked about token economies and how we can make them effective, because just using one is not sufficient to make sure that it is effective. In this episode 29, I talk about all three of those, they are all research based, and they all provide a good foundation for classroom management that you can use in a variety of different situations. So you can find that at autismclassroomresources.com/episode29.

Our next episode, our fifth most popular episode really surprised me. Because it’s very different than what I’ve done in the past. It was actually a bonus episode that I did during COVID. But I did it at the time of the Black Lives Matter protests and the murder of George Floyd. And so I did a bonus episode on systemic racism and special education.

It was a very quick episode that just shared some of my thoughts in relation to what was going on in the country at the time. I’m certainly not the first to say this. And it is certainly not necessarily my biggest area of expertise. But we do have clear data that students do not experience education equally, that our diagnostics are sometimes skewed by race and other factors. And so in this episode, I’m talking about some of those issues what the research has told us. And I’m also talking about how we in the classroom can make a difference for our students. Regardless of the larger context in which we’re in, there are things that we can do hands on in our classroom.

For this one, it doesn’t have an episode number, because it was a bonus, but you can find it at autismclassroomresources.com/bonus.

Our fourth most popular episode is one of my favorite topics. It’s on visual schedules and autism. And in this specific episode, I am busting five myths and setting the record straight. Chances are good if you’re listening to this podcast that you’re using some sort of visual cues and probably a visual schedule. But there are a lot of untruths out there or myths out there about them.

There are a lot of things that people believe about visual schedules that aren’t true. Like once he knows the routine, he doesn’t need a schedule anymore. Well, that’s true as long as every single day follows that exact routine. So I will take you through those five common things that I hear and those resources that I talked about in this episode. There’s also a free leisure schedule set of visuals that are part of this episode as well.

The third most popular episode is Getting Started with Challenging Behavior in the Classroom. That was actually episode six, that was our sixth episode. And our first five episodes focused on classroom teams. So the sixth episode focused on laying out the basic principles of challenging behavior. And I think even behavior pros can find a kernel of something useful to help their team understand how behavior problems happen. And sometimes I think it’s hard for those of us in the behavioral community to understand how people think about behavior so differently than we do.

So I’m taking you through some of those types of issues. And it kicked off a series on challenging behavior, some of which had episodes up above. And it focused on kind of the underlying principles we needed to consider when going into talking about challenging behavior.

The second most popular episode was on how to address perseveration and this was actually a Special Educator Academy vault episode. I pulled it from one of our podcasts that we had going in the Academy at that time, and it focused on what is perseveration. It talks about what it is. And it talks about how we can address it.

Because there are times for some of our students where they are going to perseverate. Perseveration is when somebody gets stuck on a topic or a phrase or an object, and they can’t move past that. And so it’s something that can be extremely distracting in a classroom, it can also really keep a student from being on task.

It’s when some of our kids will go up in their head, some of them will only talk to you about certain topics. And that inability to shift, it makes teaching difficult, because they’re not on your page. They’re on their own page. So there are a variety of different strategies that we can use based on where the perseveration is coming from. And that’s one of the things I talked about.

There’s also a free set of tools that can help you with that, in this episode. And so that is Episode 21, autismclassroomresources.com/episode21.

And finally, the most popular episode of the podcast in the first 200 episodes, is Strategies you Need to Prevent Challenging Behavior. And that was episode seven. In Episode Seven, I’m talking about when I talked about our behavior support plan, I talked about prevention, replacement, responding. This is the prevention piece, this is more of the antecedent strategies, and I’m focusing on six specific strategies you can put in place in a behavioral supportive classroom.

And I’ve got a free tool in this episode that you can grab that can help with that. They’re effective for all kinds of classrooms and I’ll share, in this episode, I share examples across ages and classroom settings. They are research based, they are based in a function based approach, which you know, is how I deal with challenging behaviors. It’s not going to keep all behaviors from happening, but they are preventive strategies that can set the student up for success.

So again, we can spend our time focused on teaching those replacement behaviors, so that we don’t have to put all of these accommodations and preventive strategies in place. So that is really one of the first parts of looking at behavioral support.

So that is all 10 of our top 10 episodes. As you can see a large number of them deal with challenging behavior. I don’t find that surprising given that I’m a behavior analyst. And my career has been spent a great deal dealing with challenging behavior. But I think it’s also because many of you in special education, whether you are family members or educators, are dealing with some challenging behavior and looking for ideas and strategies. So that is an area that we will continue to address as we move beyond episode 200.

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for spending time with me in this podcast. It means a lot to know that you are listening as I’m talking to myself. But it’s also helpful to know that you hopefully are gaining something that is helpful in your classroom. Whether you’re a new teacher, or you are an experienced educator, I hope that you walk away from each episode with one new idea or one different way of looking at something that can help make your days a little bit easier, because that’s why I do this.

If you have followed, or have just found us and are interested in listening to the podcast and think it’s something that can be helpful for for others, I would love for you to share a review on Apple podcasts and I’ll put that link in the show notes so that you can do it easily as well. That allows me to reach more people who hopefully I can help make their special education experience a little bit more positive as well, a little bit sooner than later. So again, thank you so much for joining me and I will be back next week with episode 201. Talk to you later.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the Autism Classroom Resources podcast. For even more support, you can access free materials, webinars and Video Tips inside my free resource library. Sign up at autismclassroomresources.com/free. That’s F-R-E-E or click the link in the show notes to join the free library today. I’ll catch you again next week.


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