Thursday, July 11, 2024

Can People With Autism Become Teachers

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Tell A Teenager You Trust Them Then Sit Back And Watch Them Change

So what happens when you give an autistic teenager responsibility?

The same as when you give it to any other teenager. In my experience, both as a leader and someone whos been led, if you trust a young person with responsibility, they will almost always deliver.


People have an instinct for not wanting to let people down. The same is true of youngsters. With teenagers other peoples opinions are extremely important to them for better or worse.


So, back to the story


Ted had the habit of launching people right outside of their comfort zone, whilst building them up so fast that their comfort zone would quickly catch them up.


At fourteen, I was the lead drummer of our Boys Brigade marching band, parading through the streets of our village, being watched by other teenagers who did not think it was cool to be part of a Christian organisation with a marching band.

But if nothing else, I was loyal. Far more loyal to Ted than to people who would probably have hated me no matter what I did. So despite the embarrassment, I stayed on.

Maybe it was the result of leading other people, or maybe it was the joy of making loud noises in the middle of a street. Or maybe it was life experience. But I began to get confident. By fifteen I was helping the kids on regular BB nights as well as band nights.


People now tell me Im a natural when working with kids, or even just when talking to them. But by now you probably know my opinions on leadership skills being natural.






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.

Educational Options For Autistic Children: Questions To Consider

Mainstreaming? Inclusion? Special needs classes? Public school? Private school? Which is best for your child? The answer, of course, is it all depends! Some questions to consider as you begin thinking about your options are:

  • Is your autistic child verbal and engaged?
  • How are her academic skills?
  • Can he handle large groups?
  • Does she do well with a lot of sensory input?
  • Does he have difficulties with focus?
  • Has she had a tough time in typical classrooms in the past?
  • What kinds of programs can your public school offer?
  • How well do local programs fit your child’s needs and abilities?
  • Are there local private or charter options that make logistical and financial sense for your family?

Tips For Working With Individuals On The Autism Spectrum

Thank you to the Indiana Resource Center Autism and Autism Society of Indiana for compiling these tips.

Remember that each person is different, and specific tips may not apply to all.

For more information on the Autism Society of Indiana, visit their website at Also, be sure to like ASI on Facebook, and join them on Twitter.

Indiana Resource Center for Autism & Autism Society of Indiana. Autism awareness month: Tips for working with individuals on the autism spectrum. The Reporter, 21. Retrieved from

A Little Support Goes A Long Way

Autism Teacher

Got a student on the spectrum who cant sit still? Try a standing desk or a seat cushion. Always fidgeting with their hands? Each week, discretely place a new fidget on their desk and let them experiment. A visual timer can help them conceptualize time.

Make friends with your districts OT. They will be your best ally in supporting your autistic students. Small supports can make a huge difference! And theres more good news: Most sensory supports can be hacked for cheap.

Helping Autistic Pupils And Students With Exam Choices

Autistic students and young people should be supported to make appropriate exam choices. In doing so, teaching staff should: 

  • consider the young persons ability to cope with the additional pressure and decide on the number of exams to be taken accordingly 
  • encourage pupils and students to focus on the exams where they are most interested in the subject 
  • consider any comorbid diagnoses that could be giving a false representation of their abilities, eghyperlexia.  

Fine And Gross Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are critical for writing, drawing, cutting, pasting, and manipulating small objects such as microscope slides and tweezers. Gross motor skills are used for jumping, kicking, throwing, running, and skipping. 

Mild to moderate impairment of these skills are common with most children with autism. This includes motor planning in which a child anticipates an action and positions the body to facilitate that movement.

Skills like these are central to meeting the scholastic and social demands of elementary school and high school. Any limitations can not only affect the child’s scholastic achievements but also their daily school life.

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.

Development Of Critical Job Skills

In addition to completing the educational and training requirements to become an autism support teacher, it is also important for the candidate to have certain skills or characteristics. One such characteristic is resourcefulness. Children with autism may not learn in the same ways as their typically developing peers. The teacher might need to develop customized learning tools and aids. Another essential characteristic is patience. Students with autism may have behavioral problems or lack basic skills, resulting in the teacher needing more time to teach the material.

The Applied Behavior Analysis Program Guide describes 10 Characteristics of Great Autism Support Teachers in a previous article: 

  • Empathetic
  • Detailed
  • Positive
  • Many people already have these wonderful characteristics. The areas that some people lack in, professional development, practice, and observing others can help them grow. 

    Where Do Autism Specialists Work

    Typically, autism specialists work in educational settings, such as public and private K-12 classrooms. Students with ASD may be placed in a specific, special education classroom, or they may be a part of a general education classroom and get special assistance from an aide. They may also be sent to a special class for part of the day where they receive additional help.

    Certified autism specialists work in any of these settings, either as specialized teachers, general education teachers who can offer specialized instruction for autistic students or assistants in the classroom.

    Other professionals can also become autism specialists to get the credentials necessary to work with ASD children. For example, Rago says that private therapists may choose to become specialists in this field, or social workers who have clients with ASD or clients who have children with ASD may want to get this certification. Private aides may also find it helpful to get the certification; these professionals focus not on teaching ASD children, but on supporting their social, emotional, and behavioral needs.


    Hold A Professional Development Session On Autism

    Its so important to teach faculty about autism awareness, too. If youre a school administrator, consider holding a professional development session on teaching students with autism or sharing a few resources.

    For example, the Regional Educational Laboratory Program has put together a helpful resource for administrators on how educators can support students with autism during remote learning.

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • The National Institute for Mental Health. A Parents Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Shapiro, L.E. 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills. The Bureau for At-Risk Youth, 2004.
  • Dougan, R. Social Emotional Learning Guidebook: Ideas for Incorporating SEL Activities into your Classroom.
  • Shapiro, L.E. 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills. The Bureau for At-Risk Youth, 2004.
  • Autism Parenting Magazine. Sensory Play Ideas and Summer Activities for Kids with Autism.
  • Autism Speaks. 10 Fun Summer DIY Sensory Games for Kids.
  • Noelke, K. Grounding Worksheet.
  • Tullemans, A. Self-Calming Strategies. Autism Spectrum Disorder News, July 2013, 23.
  • Sorting With Snacks Activity

    This tactile activity for children with autism can be a fun way to engage students during math time. Give everyone in your class a food that is easy to sort, like chewy snacks or small crackers. Multicolored snacks are ideal, but you can also use food that comes in different shapes, textures, or sizes.

    First, ask them to sort the food by color, shape, or another characteristic. Then, use the snacks to teach students basic math skills like counting, adding, or subtraction. Once theyve grasped the concept you want to teach, reward your students by letting them eat the snack.

    Asd Is Four Times More Likely To Occur In Boys Than Girls

    âI never signed up for thisâ: Mom of severely autistic ...

    That said, the validity of this stat should be put under scrutiny. According to autism misdiagnosis statistics, many autistic girls go undiagnosed. One of the reasons for that is that girls are often thought to be quieter by nature. Finally, symptoms of mental health issues might overlap with those of autism, leading up to a misdiagnosis.

    Vaccination And Autism Statistics Reaffirm That Vaccines Dont Cause Autism

    A significant number of studies have reaffirmed again and again that there is no link between vaccines and ASD. A 2013 CDC study, in particular, looked at the number of antigens from vaccines in the first two years of life. The results showed that the total number of antigens from vaccines was the same between autistic and non-autistic children, drawing a clear line between autism facts and myths.

    Visuals Help Them Understand But They Arent The Only Strategy

    One thing most autistic folks have in common is that they face challenges processing language. Even if the student can read fluently, it will likely be helpful to include visuals in their schedule or in their list of classroom expectations. This is my preferred visuals-creation website, and a membership is only $36 per year!

    Sometimes, a visual schedule can be seen as a catch-all solution for students on the spectrum. Give it a shot and see if it helps. If it does, keep it. If it doesnt, move on. There are lots of other strategies that you can use.

    Career Outcomes For An Autism Specialist

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that special education teachers make a median salary of ranging from $55,840 for special ed preschool teachers to $60,600 for special ed teachers working at the secondary school level. The BLS does not track information on autism specialists, specifically, but these professionals are counted among special education teachers and the bureau estimates that the number of jobs will grow by 8% percent between 2016 and 2026..

    In practice, professionals who are classified as a certified autism specialist likely make more money than special education teachers. Rago says that the majority of people who enroll in the program at National University are already credentialed as special education teachers. By getting that extra autism training, they are increasing their marketability and are likely to get paid a larger salary.

    Somebody with a special ed license can work with students with autism in a special education setting, Rago says. But most of the schools and this is specific to California because that is where the certificate is approved if youre going to be in a classroom specific to autism, they would like to see that you have some specialized training in addition to your general ed license.


    Degree And Education Requirements

    Autistic support teachers need a bachelors or masters degree in teaching and a certificate in autism spectrum disorders. There are two types of certificates. A graduate certificate in autism is a post baccalaureate program for teachers and other professionals. Approximately 16 units of additional autism specific coursework are required. Certification as an autism specialist requires a masters degree. Applicants need two years of hands-on experience working with autistic individuals and families. Biannual continuing education is necessary to maintain a specialist certificate. Every state requires a teaching license. However, individual states have varying standards for obtaining special education licensure. For example, California mandates that candidates must complete an education specialist program for moderate to severe learning disabilities. They must also complete additional courses in health education and computer education. Professionals with degrees in related fields, such as psychology or early childhood development, may also qualify for certification.

    What Are The Current Regulations In The Uk

    There are currently no regulations in place to ensure teachers in mainstream schools have qualifications and experience in teaching autistic children. 

    We contacted The Department of Education who could not give us any information in this area.  We too contacted The Institute of Education at the University of London, who informed us that their teaching courses do not provide any training in teaching special needs children.

    In order to have experience in teaching special needs children, teachers would have to go on to do a Masters degree in Special Needs.

    Currently, the only regulation in place in the UK in mainstream schools is that every school must have a designated SENCO who will communicate the needs of the student to the relevant staff.

    Dan Leighton, speaking on behalf of the National Autistic Society highlighted the issues: The problem is there is no initial teacher training in relation to teaching children with autism – this is not directly regulated by the Department of Education.

    Leighton went on to say, Access to a specialist teacher is patchy, with relatively few local authorities providing autism advisory teachers for schools.  It is the responsibility of the SENCOs and head teachers to ensure that staff have access to adequate training and expertise.

    This highlights the lack of structure in the education given to autistic children – some head teachers and SENCOs may be more proactive than others.

    How To Become A Teacher Of Children With Autism

    Teaching children with developmental disorders like autism can be very challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Autistic children, according to the National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet, have a neurodevelopmental disorder that prevents them from having normal social interactions with others, impairs their communication skills and results in repetitive and predictable behavior patterns. Teachers who work with these children must have patience as well as specialized training. Becoming a teacher in this area of education requires that you be willing to commit several years of your life to obtaining the know-how to teach children with this disability.

    Determine what the minimum requirements are in your state for working in the field of special education. Some states only require the completion of a bachelor’s degree in special education, while others require a Master’s degree. Knowing the requirements beforehand can help you plan and choose the right school to obtain your education.

    Obtain your bachelor’s degree in special education. If your state only requires a bachelor’s degree in special education, you may have to complete a degree program that takes slightly longer than a traditional four-year program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that special education teacher must usually receive additional training before they receive certification to teach.

    For General Education Teachers: Helpful Questions To Ask About Students With Asd

    Many students with an autism spectrum disorder are included in general education classes. In some instances, the general education teacher may be comfortable with having a student with ASD enrolled in his or her class. Yet, some general education teachers may feel a sense of discomfort or fear, or maybe even overwhelmed and unsure. These are all legitimate feelings which may lead to undesirable behaviors or attitudes from those teachers. Let’s take a minute to begin to understand those feelings and behaviors.

    When a student with ASD is included in a general education class, that student can enter with a preconceived reputation based on past experiences between the student, the student’s family, and other school staff. In many cases, if the reputation is positive; the inclusion process can move forward smoothly. In other cases, where the reputation is not so positive, the process can be filled with resentment, discomfort, and even anger. These feelings can also be generated when a teacher suddenly feels unsure or inadequate in his or her skills. The anger and resentment may have nothing to do with the student at all, but be a very personal response to the situation.

    The following questions can help you get to know the specific child with autism and allow you insights that are different from test scores and IEP goals.

    • How soon will I have a copy of the IEP?
    • Who will explain all the jargon and special education language to me?
  • What is a behavior plan?
  • What does it say?
  • How Abuse Mars The Lives Of Autistic People

    Keyfindings: Using Diagnostic Intruments

    Many people with autism experience a triad of trauma: neglect at home, abuse from trusted adults and bullying at school or work.


    This article contains descriptions of bullying and of physical and psychological abuse that some readers might find disturbing.

    The bullying began early. When she was just 5, Kassiane Asasumasu remembers other children taking her belongings and lying about it because they knew that she was face-blind and would not be able to tell on them. At a slumber party when she was 10, girls poked her, froze her underwear and made a game of seeing how many times they could make her cry. Her post-slumber-party meltdown lasted 48 hours. The following year, classmates locked her in a locker and then she got in trouble for kicking the door open.

    Most of my childhood memories are of other kids being mean to me, says Asasumasu, who was diagnosed with autism when she was 3. I cried every day of elementary school. Some days, she cried so hard that she threw up. Even when she didnt give in to tears, the insults gutted her.

    The Challenges Of Independence

    Aspergers does not mean no challenges, confirms Lynne Soraya, who writes the Aspergers Diary for Psychology Today. I was hit by a carfor the second timewhen I was in college, at age 19. Life skills like learning how to effectively manage sensory inputs so that you can safely cross a street are still applicable for those of us deemed high functioning.’

    The day of the accident, Soraya says, she had gotten in an argument and was so overwhelmed by her emotions, along with the noise and crowds, that she experienced tunnel vision and didnt see the car coming until it was too late.

    Add to the challenges of independence the withdrawal of the educational supports and services some of these kids have been receiving since they were as young as 2 years old; those supports vanish when they age out of childrens services. They do not grow out of their autism, and they may very likely have other, accompanying problems, including anxiety and ADHD, that may make things that much harder.

    Related: Sensory Processing FAQ

    Just Like Me Activity

    For this activity, gather all of your students together on the floor so they can all see each other. Have each child take turns sharing something about themselves, like:

    • I have a pet dog.
    • I can play the piano.
    • My birthday is in September.
    • I love to play soccer.
    • My favorite color is yellow.

    If a statement also applies to other students , instruct them to raise their hands. This will help remind students that they share more similarities than differences with their peers and that they can always find something to talk about.

    Autism Statistics Worldwide Reveal That One In 160 Children Is Autistic

    While some people are diagnosed in childhood, others get proper diagnoses much later. Note that the disorder affects people differentlysome autistic people can live independently, while others require more support or life-long care. Whats more, autistic people and their families might incur considerable expenses as access to much-needed services is still inadequate in many places.

    Board Games With A Twist

    Teaching children manners can be a helpful way to boost social skills and explain the importance of being polite. This simple, but effective activity puts an etiquette-related twist on a simple game of chess, checkers, or mancala by requiring players to wish their opponent good luck or good game before and after they have played.

    Story Of An Autistic Teacher: Encouraging Autistic Children Beyond Their Natural Limits

    I usually make my posts very personal. I think the human element is

    extremely important.

    This may be one of the more difficult posts to write. Because this one doesnt just describe my brain. It tells my story.

    So, here we go.


    Before I left teaching in December 2014, I had played just about every role you can play in education- or, at least, the roles you can play in your twenties. I had been a volunteer. I had been a teaching assistant. I had been a student teacher. After I qualified, I had been a Year 5/6 teacher, a Year 3 teacher, a supply teacher, a chess teacher and an LSA in a special school- where I worked with both academically capable and profoundly disabled students.


    And this was the conclusion I reached:


    Teds 80th Birthday And Retirement

    From his 70th birthday onwards , every disease on Earth was trying to kill Ted. He had cancer twice, and overcame a hernia to get to my 18th birthday party.

    Because screw it, he was too busy with his youth group to be distracted by something as trivial as illness.


    Seriously, Ive never met such a machine. He took a group of us camping in Germany in 2008- this is a picture of a 78-year-old cancer patient who capsized a sailing boat in the Baltic, swam to shore with two kids in tow, and laughed into the camera.


    Nobody wanted to be captain after him. Most people were too busy with work and kids .

    And then someone suggested me. I was unemployed at the time, the kids looked up to me, and it would be good experience of dealing with/communicating with parents, which everyone knew was not a huge strength of mine.


    My first instinct in that meeting was to brainstorm every counter-reason that I could. But then , I thought you know what? This could be the making of me.


    Ive now been Captain for nearly five years.


    The photo on the left was Ted at his retirement party. It naturally fell to me to give a speech about him, and all the great things he had done. Quite an honour.

    The photo on the right is the 25-year-old autistic boy who took over from him.


    As for Ted being a tough act to follow, its not been bad.

    All in all, I was ok because I wasnt trying to be Ted. Id have been terrible at it.


    Family Members Of Autistic People Ask For Them To Be Prioritized In Covid

    Autism stats by state uncover that family members and caregivers are trying to persuade states to prioritize people with developmental disorders in the vaccine rollouts. According to them, these people have been ignored for quite some time now. Little is understood about these developmental disorders by medical professionals, making both diagnostics and treatment even more difficult.

    Education And School Planning

    Supporting students with autism in the classroom

    At school, a plan can be made to support and structure your childs learning. A committee identifies the needs of exceptional students. When they have identified these needs, they create a plan with help from the student and their parents or guardian. This is called an individual education plan .

    Support at school should include behavioural, social and academic approaches. A team of professionals usually puts the plan together based on the child’s strengths and weaknesses. It may include solutions such as:

    • various therapies
    • opportunities to interact with peers

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