What is the Learning Style Profile for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (LSP©)?

The Learning Style Profile for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Rydell, 2012) is based on, and derived from the learning style and core challenge literature in autism spectrum disorder and supports the recommendations and intervention guidelines from a) the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder Evidence-based Practices (2014), b) American Speech and Hearing Association’s Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists in Diagnosis, Assessment and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Life Span (2006), c) and the National Research Council’s Educating Children with Autism (2001). The 10 LSP© components were selected based on over 40 years of Dr. Rydell’s clinical experience and consultations to schools, ASD centers and intervention settings. Most importantly, these components were prioritized as essential program components based on teachers’, therapists’ and parents’ most common and consistent priorities (i.e., social validity) regarding challenges in the classroom, therapy and home settings.

The LSP is a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention approach that incorporates empirically validated developmental principles and constructs of applied behavioral analysis. Please see http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-015-2407-8 for a summary of research that supports our LSP approach and well-established intervention strategies.

The LSP© is an approach and roadmap for ASD intervention that may compliment and/or augment other developmental, educational and ABA evidenced-based approaches. The LSP© was developed at, and served as the primary guideline, protocol and roadmap for all programs delivered at Rocky Mountain Autism Center, as directed by Dr. Patrick J. Rydell.

The LSP© was developed based on a number of guiding principles. For instance, at least some children with ASD are unaware of the need to “look up and around” to seek and learn from social and contextual cues. This lack of awareness prevents kids from gaining information about people and context so that independent decisions can be made as to how to initiate interactions with others, maintain these interactions, and respond to others in increasingly more appropriate and conventional ways. These children may miss important cues and sequences of social, cognitive and language information offered by a partner or group. In social settings such as classrooms, small groups or family gatherings, some children may be unaware of cues that help guide social exchanges and thus miss “what we are doing”. Thus, adult or social partners may feel obliged to direct the child’s actions and the cycle of prompt-dependency begins. We inevitably ask the question, “Who is doing the thinking?” We want our kids to understand how and when to use their skills, to be independent and confident as we get our children ready for school and help them be successful once they get there.

Podcasts: Each of the 10 LSP© components (below) is accompanied by a corresponding radio podcast from Autism Today with Dr. Pat (VoiceAmerica Radio Station, Health and Wellness Channel, 2012). The purpose of Autism Today with Dr. Pat podcast was to offer practical intervention strategies, methods and information to professionals and family members regarding their day-to-day interactions with children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Rydell and his cohosts (teachers, therapists and parents) discussed the LSP© components, talking points and its practical application in the classrooms, therapies and at home.

Ten Learning Style Profile Assessment and Intervention Components

1) Object vs. People Orientation
2) Learns Through Social Modeling, Demonstration and Rehearsal
3) Attains Social Cues from Multiple Partners
4) Flexibility with Objects, Activities and People
5) Shared Control
6) Interaction Style
7) Symbolic/Verbal Communication
8) Executive Functioning
9) Distance Learning
10) Transitions

LSP Assessment Questions:
Here are LSP 10 assessment questions that we typically ask ourselves regarding ASD learning style
challenges as we Get Our Kids Ready for School and help them be successful once they get there. In the
LSP approach each assessment question has a corresponding instructional component for program
development, set-up and implementation. Do these questions sound familiar?

1) Does your child pay more attention to objects than people?
2) Does your child have difficulty learning the social-communication and behavioral skills modeled by others?
3) Does your child receive social-learning cues from only one person at a time?
4) Does your child interact with objects and/or people in a rigid/repetitive/inflexible manner?
5) Does your child form his/her own agenda and insist that others follow it?
6) Does your child respond to other people in restricted ways during social interactions and only for certain purposes?
7) Does your child primarily use scripted or memorized verbal phrases for communication?
8) Does your child have difficulty focusing his/her attention to complete a task or activity?
9) Does your child respond to others only when they are at a close distance?
10) Does your child resist transitions in activities, events, locations, and/or routines?