Step 3: Plan Playdates And Social Time
It’s important for kids with autism to socialize with their peers, even if sometimes it can be challenging for them. Playdates and other activities are some much-needed chances to practice social skills and make new friends. Those who are struggling can sign up for a social skills group, which helps with things like introducing yourself, talking to others, reading social cues, and more.
When helping your child choose a playmate, look for someone who shares the same interests. Pre-plan the activities , and avoid places with too much noise and stimulation if you think it will overwhelm your child. Let your child know what to expect ahead of time. Consider using a visual schedule with pictures or create social stories to help “tell ahead” what will happen during a playdate.
Be Aware Of Sensory Issues What They Are And Why They Can Be A Problem
You probably dont realize your own sensory issues when you have them. If the music is too loud, you turn it down; if youre too warm, you remove your sweater. But children on the autism spectrum cannot deal with sensory issues like neurotypical people because their senses tend to provide them with unreliable information. Before welcoming an autistic child into the classroom, teachers should become aware of exactly what sensory issues are, and what kinds of sensory issues they are likely to encounter in the classroom.
Autism Programs In Public Schools
Can children with autism attend regular school? Of course they can, but it is important to have accommodations in place that support the special learning needs of a child on the spectrum. While education is obviously the chief goal of any school, a childs social, behavioral, and health needs must be taken into account as well.
Even accommodations that prove helpful for one child, though, may not be appropriate for another. Thats where Individualized Education Plans come in. The IEP is a written document outlining how to tailor an educational program to a child with special needs. It is usually created as a cooperative effort between parents, teachers, and educational specialists. By law, schools must create individualized educational programs for every child with autism.
Depending on where the student with autism is on the spectrum, the amount of mainstream classroom time he/she receives may vary. Some may be assigned part-time to a traditional classroom and part-time to a special needs classroom. Some may be assigned full time to a traditional classroom with a support, or a shadow . Others may be assigned full time to a special needs setting.
Pros of Public School for Children with Autism
Cons of Public School for Children with Autism
Autism In The Classroom
WebMD talks to parents, therapists, and educators for advice on how to help children with autism thrive in the classroom.
When your child has an autism spectrum disorder , for example Asperger’s syndrome, school can be difficult. Autism in the classroom is something thatâs hard for teachers, parents, and the child with the ASD to deal with.
âMy school just doesnât get it,â one parent who didnât want to be identified told WebMD.
Another said âMy child is developing behavioral problems. Thatâs because he canât communicate well at school.â
Some parents say that sometimes private schools wonât take a child with ASD. The reason they give is that they arenât equipped to deal with in the classroom. The few schools that do take kids with autism, according to one parent, cost a fortune. And, they add thay those few schoolsÂ accept only a handful of children.
Whatâs the best way to help your child with an ASD learn? And how do traditional schools adapt to help children with autism do well in a classroom so they can grow and thrive?
WebMD asked for advice from parents and educators and therapists who work with children who have an ASD. They drew on their own experience to offer tips on how to help children with autism thrive in the classroom.
Dont Surprise Your Autistic Students With Changes
As previously mentioned, children with autism thrive on routine. A simple change in that routine even one that might be considered a fun surprise for other children could be catastrophic. When a change in routine is planned or likely to take place, simply forewarn the autistic student so that she can begin to prepare herself. Examples of change might include new seating assignments, a fire drill, or a field trip.
Not A Good Match For The Child’s Needs
In some cases, what looks at first like an adequate educational program really isn’t. A child with huge sensory and behavioral issues is never going to do well in a mainstream setting. A child with high functioning autism is not going to thrive in a classroom filled with profoundly challenged kids.
In those fairly extreme cases, it’s often possible to make a case for change on your own or through an advocate or mediator. Frequently, districts will see the problem and make changes based on your child’s individual needs.
Use Down Time As A Positive Reinforcer
As previously mentioned, a child on the autism spectrum has senses that work overtime providing him with untrustworthy information. As you can probably imagine, this is completely exhausting. When an autistic child has met the standards set for her, allow her the reward of down time. This could be as simple as sitting in the corner with a book and headphones for 10 minutes. Allow the child to relax.
How Do You Talk To An Autistic Child
Children with autism spectrum disorder can struggle with focus, attention, transitions, organisation, memory, time management, emotional control and frustration. We use these high-level abilities to help us do lots of daily tasks, like working cooperatively with others and prioritising things we need to do.
A Child’s Rights For Public Education
Your special needs child has the right to a free and appropriate education. The individuals with Disabilities Education Act , which was first enacted in 1975 and most recently revised in 2004, mandates that each state provide all eligible children with a public education that meets their individual needs.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act was most recently revised in 2004 . The law mandates that the state provide all eligible children with a free and appropriate public education that meets their unique individual needs.IDEA specifies that children with various disabilities, including autism, are entitled to early intervention services and special education. If your child has been diagnosed with a form of autism, the diagnosis is generally sufficient to gain access to the rights afforded by IDEA.
The IDEA legislation has established an important role for parents in their children’s education. You, as a parent, are entitled to be treated as an equal partner with the school district in deciding on an education plan for your child and his or her individual needs. This enables you to be a powerful advocate for your child. It also means that you must be an informed, active participant in planning and monitoring your child’s unique program and legal rights.
Early Diagnosis Of Autism More Likely To Lose Label
Researchers may not be able to point out what exactly causes a lost diagnosis in each case, but many point out that the children who are diagnosed and treated early tend to improve the most.
According to Dr. Wiggins, the kids diagnosed with ASD at 30 months or younger were more likely to have a change in classification from ASD to non-ASD than children diagnosed with an ASD at 31 months or older.
So, early diagnosis of Autism is very important for better treatment. Under the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, your childs pediatric specialist should perform regular developmental surveillance at well-child visits, with screenings at 9, 18, and 30 months, and also screenings for autism at the 18-month and 24-month check-ups.
How Do You Get An Autistic Child To Sit
Give the command: “Sit on the chair.” If the child does not sit, make it happen and praise the child for “Good sitting.” Give the command: “Hands on the table.” or “Hands ready.” If the child does not place hands on the table, make it happen and praise the child for “Good hands ready.” or “Good following directions.”
Provide Any Needed Help With Organization
Organization is a skill that should be taught. While many children struggle with remaining neat and organized, teachers may find their autistic students have an especially hard time with this. Teachers can assist by walking through unpacking, transitions, and packing up times until the student has turned these times into routine. Frequent desk checks are also beneficial, as students will then come to know that there is an expectation of keeping their spaces neat and tidy.
Remain Calm During Even The Worst Behavior
It is important to remember that children on the autism spectrum do not melt down to cause a disturbance. Rather, they melt down because all of their senses are in turmoil and its the only thing to do. As a teacher, the best thing for you to do is to remain a calming and supportive presence. The world during a meltdown is already terrifying; the child doesnt need a panicking or angry teacher to add to it.
You Cannot Communicate To A Child With Autism The Way You Might Another Child
While you might communicate with other students using sarcasm, idioms, or a raised voice, understand that these type of things do not have the same effect on a child with autism. An autistic child also will not understand if you compare him or her to a sibling or another student, or if you bring up events that are unrelated or old. Best case scenario, these types of communication are confusing. Worst case, theyre scary.
Use Positive Reinforcement Over Punishment
Just as certain methods of communication are not effective when speaking to a child on the autism spectrum, so too is the case with punishment. Children with autism tend to misconstrue negative punishment, but respond much better to positive reinforcement. Speak with the childs parents about what methods of punishment and discipline they find most effective.
Get Answer; Can A Child With Autism Grow Out Of It
The good news is that behavior therapy, speech therapy for autistic children, and specified medication can improve many cognitive and body dysfunctional systems and can make a big difference. Early diagnosis helps the child to recover.
About 13 percent of the children had lost their autism diagnoses after getting treatment.
What Teachers Should Know
Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities. People with autism, also called autism spectrum disorder, have differences in the way their brains develop and process information. As a result, they face significant communication, social, and behavior challenges.
Symptoms can be severe and interfere with everyday tasks, or they can be mild and cause only a few problems. Experts call this range of symptoms a “spectrum.” Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders are conditions that fall within the autism spectrum.
Signs of autism may include:
- trouble interacting, playing with, or relating to others
- little or brief eye contact with others
- unusual or repetitive movements, such as hand flapping, spinning, or tapping
- delays in developmental milestones or loss of already-achieved milestones
- difficulties learning in school
- playing with toys in ways that seem odd or repetitive
- low muscle tone, clumsiness, and poor spatial awareness
Although there’s no cure for autism, early intervention and therapy can help kids develop skills and achieve their potential. Therapy is tailored to each child’s individual needs and may include behavioral, educational, speech, and occupational therapies.
Students with autism may:
Because bullies often target students who seem “different,” health conditions like autism can put kids and teens at higher risk for bullying.
Get Extra Support If Your Child Needs It
If your child needs extra support their school does not usually provide, they’ll need an education, health and care plan .
This is a document from your local council. It says what education and health needs your child has and what support they should get.
This can either help:
- the school apply for extra money so they can support your child
- you apply for a place at a school that’s better for your child
Your child does not need to have been diagnosed with autism to get extra support.
Step 5: Address Emotional Needs
At times your child may feel left out, left behind, or bullied. Kids with autism sometimes have trouble relating to others, and this can make them feel angry or sad.
Get help from a professional counselor if your child shows signs of , which include sadness, moodiness, or keeping to himself or herself. Signs of bullying include:
- not wanting to go to school
- decreased appetite
Reducing Anxiety In The Classroom
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders sometimes have high levels of and stress, particularly in social environments like school. If a student exhibits aggressive or explosive behavior, it is important for educational teams to recognize the impact of stress and anxiety. Preparing students for new situations, such as through writing social stories, can lower anxiety. Teaching social and emotional concepts using systematic teaching approaches such as The Incredible 5-Point Scale or other cognitive behavioral strategies can increase a students ability to control excessive behavioral reactions.
Understand That Children With Autism Need Extra Time To Process Language
Perhaps one of the most important things all teachers need to know about autism in the classroom is that children on the autism spectrum need more time to process language. If you receive a blank stare after giving verbal directions, understand that the child is likely still processing. Help him out by repeating the directions with the same words. Changing up the words will only require him to begin his process over again.
Regulator Of Social Functioning
Oxytocin appears to be a universal regulator of social functioning in humans, said Karen Parker, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the lead author of the study. That encompasses both typically developing children as well as those with the severe social deficits we see in children with autism.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 of every 68 children in the United States. It is characterized by social and communication deficits, repetitive behaviors and sensory problems. The new study included 79 children with autism, 52 of their unaffected siblings and 62 unrelated children without autism. All of the children were between the ages of 3 and 12.
It didnt matter if you were a typically developing child, a sibling or an individual with autism: Your social ability was related to a certain extent to your oxytocin levels, which is very different from what people have speculated, said Antonio Hardan, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the studys senior author. Hardan is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who treats children with autism at the hospital.
The previous hypotheses saying that low oxytocin was linked to autism were maybe a little bit simplistic, he said. Its much more complex: Oxytocin is a vulnerability factor that has to be accounted for, but its not the only thing leading to the development of autism.
Watch Over The Child During Free Time And Recess
Like any child, a student on the autism spectrum needs the experience of socialization during free times like lunch and recess. The student, and almost certainly their parents, would appreciate an extra eye kept out to ensure these social times are beneficial and not exceedingly difficult on either the student or his or her peers.
When Youve Decided On A School For Your Autistic Child
When you think youve decided on a school for your autistic child, its best to contact the school as soon as possible to talk about enrolment. A year in advance gives most government or public schools time for planning and applying for funding. Private schools might have longer lead times or waiting lists.
Once youve enrolled, the school will work in partnership with you and your childs other health professionals to develop your childs transition plan, individual learning plan and other support plans for when your child starts school. The school might also need to make some adjustments so your child can participate fully in school. Youll need to provide medical and developmental reports to help with this.
As the time for starting school gets closer, you can help things go smoothly for your child by building familiarity with the school, practising school routines and getting organised.
Strategies To Discuss With The School
The help your child needs will depend upon the causes of their anxiety. For example, there may be a specific problem which requires immediate action from school, likebullying. Here are some other triggers and strategies to consider:
When supporting your child in going back to school after a period of absence, it may help to start off on a part-time timetable and build up gradually. This can be better than your child feeling pressured to complete a whole day, and then not coping.
Strategies You Could Try At Home
If your child becomes reluctant to go to school, its important to take action early. Some of these strategies may help:
- Encourage them to communicate with you about the problem. Usingvisual supportsmay help. Ask your child to rate events or places at school on a scale from not scary to very scary. This may help you to see when and where the problems occur and help build your childs resilience.
- If you have an understanding of the reasons behind their reluctance, share it with school staff.
- Create a worry book for your child to record their anxiety during the school day. If appropriate, read the book together as part of their evening routine. You can then help them deal with any worries by suggesting how to cope with them in the future.
- Identify strategies toregulate, reduce and monitor emotions and reduce stress, for example exercise, visual stress scales such as a stress thermometer or traffic light system.
- Reward and praise any progress on specific tasks, like completing something they find difficult, putting on their school uniform or walking past school.
- Provide structure at home by using visual supports.
- Try to help themdevelop their social skills.
- Help your child to understand the benefits of education.
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.
People With Autism Should Be Taught In The Same Schools As Others
Mozart, Tim Burton, Andy Warhol, Temple Grandin, Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo. Autistic brains tend to have the functions as the normal brains except for two conditions. 1: They have an abnormal corpus callosum which doesn’t let one side of the brain interact fluently with the other causing problems at the time of expressing socially with others. 2: They also have an abnormal cerebellum, this one operates its nervous, compulsory and sensitive system. This is why they are more able to retain images and dialogues from movies that they only see once. It isn’t that they are abnormal, it is that we aren’t able to see their intelligence and capacity below their social skills to communicate with others.
The Role Of The Senco
The key role of the SENCO is to provide support for children with autism and their parents as well as to support teachers to make appropriate adjustments and access external support such as speech and language therapists.
However, according to a 2006 report by the National Autistic Society, 23% of parents are dissatisfied with SENCOs level of understanding of autism. This suggests that SENCOs are not experienced or educated to the level they should be in this area.
After researching the qualifications necessary to become a SENCO, it could be argued that SENCOs are not fully experienced to be the only support for special needs children in mainstream schools.
The Shift From Special Needs To General Education Classrooms Has Brought Good And Bad To American Schools
The IDEA mandate for equal educational opportunity in the least restrictive environment requires that school districts do their best to accommodate disabled students in the same environments as their abled counterparts. The idea that an equitable education could be provided in a special, separate environment was rejected.
Studies on the efficacy of inclusion have been mixed, with most Yet those social and behavioral improvements could have a greater bearing on long-term success than purely academic measures.
But many parents of non-disabled students have perfectly reasonable questions about the potential disruption of having autistic students in their childs classroom. After all, social skillsthe basic mechanics of sitting and listening, cooperating and co-learningare exactly the skills impacted by ASD. And although most parents are understanding and supportive of equal education for ASD students, they also want to protect the opportunities available to their own children.
In general, studies have found neutral to positive effects on general education students in inclusive classrooms. Academically, results tend to be mixed. A 2010 study found no differences in academic achievement in reading between general education students in an inclusive classroom and a control group in a non-inclusive class, but when it came to math, the results showed significant impairment in achievement for those in the inclusive class.
Autism In The Classroom: The Iep Meeting
Public schools are legally bound to use an IEP to guide the education of a child with an ASD. IEP stands for individualized education plan. It outlines therapies and educational programs that will be provided to help ensure your child’s educational success. Therapies might include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral therapy. The IEP might also define the time your child will spend with a special education teacher.
During the meeting, educators make decisions about what services your child will receive or be offered during the school year. IEP meetings can be held at any time throughout the school year.
Here are tips from parents and educators for having a successful IEP meeting:
- Be an advocate, not an agitator. It doesnât work to go in demanding âWe want this, we want that.â What works is being prepared to discuss goals your child can attain.
Be ready to talk about supportable, age-appropriate goals for your child. For instance, one goal might be for your child to initiate a conversation with a peer several times a week.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is experienced differently by everyone who has it. Children and students often need support in communicating, interacting and taking in information. Their strengths may include visual and spatial skills, non-verbal problem solving and both visual and auditory memory.
Educators should work with the students individual strengths and interests in early childhood education and at school.
Repetitive Routines And Behaviours
People with Autism often say they like sameness. They dislike things that upset their routines, because routine gives them a sense of security. Children with autism often repetitively perform the same actions and some show no signs of developing imaginative play. Others may become fascinated by a particular topic, for example dinosaurs, and become extremely knowledgeable about it, but be uninterested in branching out to other related subjects. They are often thought to have particular interests in systems eg maths, IT or science.
Impairment of imagination does not mean that people with an Autism are necessarily uncreative; some are very creative. It is more that lack of flexibility of thought, the inability to foresee the consequences of their actions, and inability to put themselves in another persons place and understand their point of view are all likely to cause difficulties for them.
Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. Generally, diagnosis occurs after the age of five, but can be as young as two, and is the result of screening profiles and behavioural assessments. There is no physiological test for autism.
Diagnosis usually involves assessment by a multi-disciplinary team, made up of a paediatrician, psychologist and a speech and language therapist. The team will want to monitor your child’s behaviour over time, try therapies and ask the opinion of parents and teachers.
With thanks to the National Autistic Society.