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Accommodations For Autistic Students In The Classroom

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Be Sensitive To Their Sensory Issues

Accommodations and Modifications for Students with Disabilities

Autistic children are either under-sensitive or over-sensitive to sensory stimuli. For instance, strong perfumes, buzzing of electrical appliances, certain lighting, or echoes from adjacent rooms may be a real bother to them. This can trigger extreme reactions and affect their learning, so remain aware of these potential triggers and eliminate them from the classroom environment as much as you can. Provide your autistic learners with sensory tools that can help them reduce stress and process information you are communicating to them.

Students With Autism Can Present Unique Challenges For Their Teachers Who Need To Effectively Meet Their Needs

It is vital that teachers are well-equipped to deal with these challenges and are aware of the best possible ways to support a child with autism in the classroom.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder or autism is a developmental disability that can cause significant social communication and behavioural challenges.

It affects a childs social abilities as well as anything from speech to non-verbal communication and can make their behaviour unpredictable. Of course, its not their fault and they are often blessed with high intelligence and unique strengths that only heighten the challenge of bringing out their best.

So how can you as a teacher support a child with autism in the classroom effectively? Here are some tips that you can follow:

It all starts with the childs parents

The primary carer at home, be it mum or dad, know all the likes, the dislikes, and the particular behavioural triggers. Sure, theyre not professionals, but theyre the true heart of an autistic child, the heart an autistic child may or may not be able to express themselves.

They have the history of good and bad reactions to every experience and stimulation. They have the experience of the good and bad results trying to deal with sometimes confounding reactions.

Getting assistance from a Teacher Aide

Have a set plan for meltdowns

Educate the rest of the class

Students With Autism In The Classroom

Children with autism often present unique learning challenges. Around the world, 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder . In this article well provide a few tips for parents and teachers to better support children with autism.

Children with autism often present unique learning challenges. Around the world, 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder . In this article well provide a few tips for parents and teachers to better support children with autism.

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Learn About The Learner From The Learner

Oftentimes, educators needing information about a student will study the individuals educational records. While these documents are certainly one source of information, they are seldom the most helpful source of information. Teachers wanting to know more about a student with autism should ask that student to provide information. Some students will be quite wiling and able to share information while others may need coaxing or support from family members. Teachers might ask for this information in a myriad of ways. For instance, they might ask the student to take a short survey or sit for an informal interview. One teacher asked his student with autism, to create a list of teaching tips that might help kids with learning differences. The teacher then published the guide and gave it out to all educators in the school.

If the student with autism is unable to communicate in a reliable way, teachers can go to families for help. Parents can share the teaching tips they have found most useful in the home or provide video of the learner engaged in different family and community activities. These types of materials tend to give educators ideas that are more useful and concrete than do traditional educational reports and assessments.

Printed Schedules And Warnings Of Changing Activities

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Autistic children thrive off of routines. Changes in routine or transitioning from one activity to another can be difficult. Printed schedules with words and pictures are a way to help and reassure autistic children.

If there will be a change in the schedule, letting the child know a couple of days in advance gives them time to prepare, though they may still have difficulty with the change.

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Who Is Entitled To Accommodations Or Modifications In The School Setting

Students who are considered to have a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , or students who have a condition diagnosed by a doctor, that impacts their ability to perform to their fullest potential in school, are generally offered accommodations and/or modifications in the school setting through an Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan .

Classroom Accommodations For Autistic Students

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a parent who voiced her frustration with her daughters school. Although her daughter is diagnosed with autism, she falls on the mild range of the spectrum meaning her deficits are ignored. This becomes challenging for a teacher who may not recognize the signs and symptoms of an autistic child.

Girls, in particular, often develop the ability to disappear in a large group. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to pretend you hold the same characteristics of others. This leads to both depression and anxiety in children with autism. There are also sensory challenges a student with autism may face including auditory, visual and tactile.

Reading non-verbal cues forces a child and even some autistic adults to work harder everyday which causes exhaustion and can possibly lead to anxiety.

There are a number of ways to accommodate a student with autism. If you are a teacher, read as much information as you can on autism. each child is different so it will help to get feedback from parents who can help provide the right accommodations.

The following articles provide great information on both modifications and accommodations which can be put into the childs IEP:

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First Lets Ask The Question: Can Someone With Autism Go To College

In 2000, the reported ratio of children born with autism was 1 in 150, and by the year 2010, this ratio increased to 1 in 68. This has resulted in the need to create more autistic-friendly learning programs and environments.

While high school graduates with autism showcase many strengths, including great attention to detail, a passionate interest in select topics, and an excellent memory, some of the core challenges these students face include:

  • Difficulty with the social world that surrounds them
  • A strong preference for routine
  • Possible symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Issues with self-regulation and executive function
  • In some cases, delays in specific life skills

Although these challenges can make college difficult, with the right level of support, young adults with autism can not only succeed at college but if placed in the right program, thrive. In many cases, its best for students to stay close to home and opt for a smaller institution. That is why community college programs are often so beneficial.

So, when it comes to the question of whether or not someone with autism can go to college?

The short answer is absolutely!

When seeking a post-secondary education as an adult with autism, some of the most important considerations to make include:

If A Child Has Trouble Sitting Still Or Staying In Their Seat They Should Be Given Opportunities To Move Throughout The Day

Small Wonders, Big Gains: The Preschool Autism Classroom

Opportunities for movement can include:

  • standing up at desk while doing work
  • walking around the class in a predefined area
  • getting out of seat to stretch
  • passing out materials
  • going to the water fountain
  • incorporating movement into learning activities

It is up to the parents and the school team to work with the child to figure out what type of movement/movement break would be best.

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What Are Accommodations

Accommodations allow a disabled student to complete the same tests and assignments as his/her non-disabled peers, but with changes in timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response and/or presentation. Accommodations are intended to minimize or even eliminate the effects of the students disability. In essence, they level the playing field so a disabled student is given more equal footing with his non-disabled peers.

Follow A Behavior Plan

Because each child with autism is unique, they need a customized behavior plan. This document is part of the childs Individualized Education Plan and outlines the childs needs and includes specific steps that improve maladaptive behaviors without punishing the child.

A behavior plan starts with a Functional Behavioral Analysis . This analysis identifies the root of behaviors, which can include the childs desire to obtain an object, activity, or sensation, escape a demand or undesirable situation, or gain attention. The FBA will describe the frequency and intensity of behaviors, identify the causes and consequences of behaviors, and suggest possible solutions.

With information from an FBA, a special education or behavior consultant writes a Behavior Intervention Plan . This document lists the challenging behaviors, their causes, and effective solutions that are specific to the childs needs. The BIP includes measurable goals that the teacher and other staff can monitor. The BIP can be modified as the student achieves goals.

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Discussing This Guide With The Student

You may wish to discuss information in this guide with the student in more detail in a private, confidential manner. The students Accessible Learning Services Counsellor is available to assist with strategies and accommodations to support the student in your course.

Have Questions? Need Assistance? Want to Book an Appointment?We are here to help. Contact Accessible Learning Services by email at als or by phone at 575-2122.

How Do You Accommodate A Child With Autism In The Classroom

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  • Related Resources – How Do You Accommodate a Child With Autism in the Classroom?
  • Autism can present many challenges to a childs life, especially at school. Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects the way the brain processes sensory experiences, causing issues with communication and social interaction.

    Children with ASD may get disturbed when exposed to loud noises, bright colors, and strong smells, causing them to engage in repetitive and stereotypic behaviors. They may:

    • Have trouble talking or making eye contact
    • Seem to prefer playing alone or being in their own world
    • Shows unusual attachments to certain objects or activities
    • Struggles in social interactions with other students
    • Have problems with fine and gross motor coordination

    Accommodating a child with autism in the classroom needs special consideration. Its important for teachers to be empathetic in understanding the needs of autistic children and integrating their learning styles into their teaching methods.

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    Instructional Strategies For Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Its important for teachers to understand that ASD is not a learning disability. Instead, autism spectrum disorder is categorized as a developmental disability. In contrast to learning disabilities like dyslexia, which are characterized by difficulty with language, mathematical calculation, and/or sustained focus, ASD is associated with symptoms like repetitive motions, difficulty socializing, and compulsive or ritualistic behaviors, which range in severity from child to child. Despite these distinctions, there is also significant overlap between ASD and learning disabilities, with Autism Speaks reporting, 31 percent of children with ASD have an intellectual disability.

    Even though ASD is not considered a learning disability, it can still create challenges to academic success by impacting communication, socialization, and other key aspects of a childs behavior and development. However, educators can overcome these challenges by implementing effective academic strategies for students with autism, which weve supplied four examples of below.

    Earn Your Teaching Credential Ms In Aba Or Graduate Certificate In Autism At National University

    Whether your goal is to become a special education teacher, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a school counselor for children with ASD, or to explore a related career path, youll hone the skills you need in National Universitys challenging, fast-paced degree programs.

    Our accredited programs in school psychology, teacher education, and special education offer a wide range of academic options for undergraduate, graduate, and transfer students. NU students can pursue their passion through programs like the Master of Science in Educational Counseling, the Graduate Certificate in Autism, the MS in ABA, or other academic majors, combining theory and analysis with hands-on fieldwork to build the foundations for a rewarding and dynamic career.

    Earn the degree, credential, or certificate you need to take your teaching career to the next level. Ask our admissions office about our accredited ABA and educational counseling programs, or start your application today.

    Additional Sources

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    Sensory Accommodations For Home

    Sensory input is when one or more of the senses is stimulated by the environment. Sensitivity to sensory input is common for children with autism. These sensitivities can manifest as discomfort with loud noises, bright colors, fabric choices, or other various stimuli. When there is a sensory overload or sensitivity, children can act out or shut down completely. Utilizing sensory accommodations in the home can help keep children calm and at peace with their home environment.

    Build a sensory room

    Creating an area or room in your home dedicated to your childâs sensory needs can be really helpful. A sensory room gives them a safe space to calm down and refocus from other stimuli when they need it. You can add sensory materials that best suit your childâs needs. Some items to consider? A swing, slide, ball pit, climbing equipment for gross motor skills, and bins of smaller sensory items kept in an orderly, organized manner.

    Choose a calming color scheme

    Some individuals with autism see colors with more intensity than others, which can be overwhelming. Consider decorating your home with muted colors and a monochromatic color scheme to avoid overstimulation.

    Be aware of excess noise

    First, consider carpet over hardwood flooring, or invest in some rugs. If possible, add additional sound-absorbing insulation to your childâs bedroom to help block out excess noise at night. Keep noise-canceling headphones handy for your child to use when they become overstimulated.

    A Final Word On Inclusion

    Accommodations for Neurodiversity in the Classroom

    Inclusion, just like autism, is a spectrum rather than an all-or-nothing proposition ranging from 100% in a regular classroom with an aide at key time to participating in half a class session once a week. In some cases, it may not be possible to engage a student with autism or special needs in a regular education class until proper supports can be worked out. However, with careful attention paid to the needs of the child, supporting regular education teachers in our efforts, and keeping in mind what is best for all parties involved, it should be possible to find a way to include most children with special needs at least some of the time.

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    Incorporate Strengths & Interests

    Every child has strengths and interests. These assets can become leverage to help children engage more in class, stay on task, and reduce behavior challenges.

    Observe children with autism closely to discover their unique assets. School staff can then incorporate the childrens strengths and interests into the curriculum, activities, and rewards system to prompt positive behavior.

    Strategy #: Using Rewards And Incentives

    Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, is a form of therapy that is used to help children with ASD manage or eliminate problem behaviors, such as behaviors that result in self-harm or disruptions to other children. One of the most widely-used treatments for children with ASD, applied behavior analysis therapy works by using rewards and incentives to reinforce positive behaviors.

    Though sometimes controversial, ABA has also been proven effective for certain children by research. For example, a peer-reviewed study published in 2020 found that long-term, comprehensive ABA-based interventions were beneficial to lifelong development of children with ASD, highlighting socialization, communication and expressive language as being potentially promising targets for ABA-based interventions.

    Only individuals who meet certain educational and professional requirements can become ABA therapists. However, all teachers can implement the basic ideas of ABA, such as positive reinforcement in the classroom . To explore these topics in depth, read about how teachers can use reward systems to encourage better student engagement, or explore our Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, which will prepare you for a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst .

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    Know That Repetitive Actions Are Calming For A Child With Autism

    Weve already discussed the habit of stimming repetitive movement such as rocking that a child on the autism spectrum uses to lessen anxiety. But obtaining a sense of calm through repetition isnt reserved for stimming. Rather, teachers can provide a sense of calm for all students by maintaining a routine and sticking to it.

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    What Does The Physical Environment Look Like

    Kids Are Special : Structured Teaching: Strategies for Supporting ...

    The well organized classroom has:

    • predictability and stability through routines and visual supports
    • defined areas of appropriate size for an activity
    • clear cues to children and staff about expectations for the area
    • allows for supervision

    Use visual supports for:

    • making choices start by teaching this concept with a preferred and non-preferred activity so the child starts to understand they are making a choice
    • first/then Ex. First we clean up/ Then we go outside. First/then can also be motivational.
    • single messages going to toilet, play outside, snack time
    • timetable, schedules, sequences of activities
    • task breakdown the individual steps for a task such as washing hands, dressing for outdoors. This supports recognizing relationships between steps of an activity.
    • to show units of time 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes

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