Jeff Scalzo


About me

Jeff wiki.jpg

Hello and Welcome to my Portfolio Page! This is currently my 2nd semester in the CDIT program. I am a 4th year teacher at Dutchess BOCES serving students from all of 12 Dutchess County's schoold districts. I teach a self-contained room delivering instruction to learners on the Autism Spectrum.

My Topic/Purpose

My mini-course aims to explain the extreme difficulties that learners with autism spectrum disorder's have with interacting socially. We will examine common issues and sensory needs that prevent 1 in 68 learners from fully interacting socially within their homes schools and eventually their workplaces). Participants will not only learn about difficulties but also will develop strategies to help these learners interact more appropriately using appropriate vocabulary to assist them in understanding. The link to my first unit can be found here.Jeff_Scalzo's_Mini-Course

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem The National Center for Technology Innovation and Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) identifies that while neurotypical learners pick up various social skills through interacting with other peers, our special learners lack these skills and require intensive lessons to make up for these deficits.

It is stated that “The ability to navigate everyday social interactions can frequently present significant challenges for these students. While there are differences in the way these difficulties present themselves, most students who struggle with social interactions will exhibit difficulties in similar situations.”

It is also acknowledged through specialized interaction in different settings, we can instruct these students to cover these gaps to the best of their abilities.

2. What is to be Learned

Educators will learn the different challenges that are associated with teaching social skills to learners with disabilities. They will identify the different skill sets in which students with disabilities are lacking (affective, interaction, foundation, cognitive) and develop an understanding of how communicate impaired students can practice these skills. Learners will develop strategies to have students learn and practice key social skills.

3. The Learners

Learners will include current and pre-service educators teaching in K-12 environments. Learners will have some familiarity with special education and various disabilities, namely autism.Activities will support learners who may be self-contained teachers, inclusion instructors, or any paraprofessionals who work directly with students with disabilities. .Learner Analysis Learners within this course include educators, paraeducators, administrators teaching children in grades K-12. Participants will have various understandings of special education needs and understanding of different social skill sets that learners with disabilities require.

4. Context for Instruction

Participants will learn content within this mini-course online, in the location of his or her choosing. Delivery of the content will require the use of a computer and functional internet service. Learners will require stale enough interest to open documents, compose written word documents and view videos.

5. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution

Participants will explore the course to understand the various challenges and deficits concerning special learners in the K-12 setting and social thought. They will comprehend the various deficits special students face and acknowledge strategies for instructing them for their abilities.

6. Goals of this Mini-Course

Learners will identify the key deficits facing communication impaired learners

Learners will develop an awareness of helpful social thought based vocabulary to use in order to assist them in their instruction

Learners will develop strategies based to be used for challenging social behaviors with scenarios a special education provider may face.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

The learner will have experience in the K-12 setting with various levels of experience. Learners will also have some interest in behavioral management for special education students.

1. Context for Instruction Learners will participate in a fully online course to receive information concerning special education based behavioral strategies in social settings.

2. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution

The learners will participate and explore the different principles of social thinking. Social thinking is utilized to help instructors teach critical social skill development for communicative impaired children. The content will focus on perspective taking and developing strategies to help students with disabilities cope with different social settings. I have utilized videos, images and other helpful links in my mini-course as ASD is difficult to understand simply by reading about it. I plan on immersing them in the world of the ASD indivual first to show first-hand how difficult their sensory input makes life.

Performance Objectives

Course-level objectives

Write a response where they describe what qualifies behavior as expected or unexpected

Create a social story containing important social thought processes for a learner with ASD related needs.

Define the different emotions that belong to different zones of regulations(there are four zones to

Classify different emotions into the 4 various zones.(ex. Blue zone for sadness, red for anger, yellow zone, green zone for happy and calm)

Interpret different scenarios and connect various cases to be identified along the correct zone of regulation

Distinguish expected behavior vs. unexpected behavior

Appraise different instances of how a fictional story makes use of strategies

Task Analysis

Learners will undergo a structured set of scaffolded practices by reading and watching engaging articles, resource pages and videos to understand what the given content is. Vocabulary is highlighted to help them make true connections between what they learn here and how they can make sense of it in terms of their own personal professional life.

Purpose This course will have learners explore the social needs of students with disabilities. Learners will understand difficulties that students in special population have concerning their behavior in social situation and will develop strategies in how to respond to certain behaviors.

Performance Objectives

Unit 1 - Understanding Social Skills Difficulties in Students with Disabilities

  • The learner will learn key vocabulary concerning students within special education(namely those on the ASD spectrum) and their behavior in certain settings
  • The learner will understand the functional behaviors of communicative impaired students and identify their difficulties

Unit 2- Social Thinking

  • The learner will analyze and categorize the different emotions that special learners experience.
  • The learner will categorize defined expected behavior versus unexpected behavior
  • The learner will discover various emotional triggers and their functions for students.

Unit 3- Social Behavioral Strategy Development

  • The learner will understand the function of social stories and evaluate examples for them in certain scenarios
  • The learner will analyze both imagery and text to demonstrate understanding of social stories
  • The learner will mentally organize information on the different sentence structures to develop social intervention plans for ASD individuals

Summative Assessment

  • The learner will create a social story to address a certain behavior a student on the autism spectrum to be evaluated with a rubric.

Essential Prerequisites The learner will be able to utilize word processors The learner will have some knowledge on behavior management and functional behavior assessments The learner will have experience teaching in a K-12 classroom setting. The learner will be able to access different form of media(youtube videos, images etc.)

Supportive Prerequisites

The learner has interest in special education and behavioral management

The learner is able to conduct self-guided coursework

The learner is proficient at navigating webpages, video media and other file types.

Curriculum Map



Return to:

Using Social Thinking to Address Behavior in ASD or Communication Impaired Students

References and Resources

National Institute for Medical Health.(2016) "Autism Spectrum Disorder". Accessed from

Winner, M. G., & Murphy, L. K. (2016). Social thinking and me. Santa Clara, CA: Social Thinking Publishing.

Winner, Michelle. (2011). "The Zones of Regulation". Social Thinking Publishing. Tennessee

(Templates for Personalized SOcial Stories)

Cosgrave,Gavin. 2011 Social Stories. Accessed from

Youtube videos

Davis, Kim. (2011) "What Triggers Anxiety for an Individual with ASD.

Winner, Michelle.(2016) "Problem Solving is at the Heart of Scoial Thinking"

Cosgrove, Gavin(2009) "Functions of Behavior