Thursday, April 11, 2024

Free Lesson Plans For Autistic Students

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Thumbs Up Texture Exploration


For many children on the autism spectrum, sensory experiences can be disturbing or very enticing. Exploring different textures helps kids expand the range of sensory experiences they can tolerate. This lesson plan also uses the thumbs up or thumbs down sign so kids can begin to label their sensory experiences as good or bad. Using gestures to communicate in this way also furthers language goals.

To use this lesson in the classroom, you’ll need fabrics and materials in several different textures. Children will experience each texture and determine how they feel about it.

Teach Kids About Autism

Our Kit for Kids program is designed to teach elementary and middle school students about their peers with autism. The kit is centered around an illustrated booklet entitled Whats Up with Nick?. This colorful, kid-friendly booklet tells the story about a new student, a boy with autism named Nick, through the eyes of a typical peer. The story teaches children that students with autism may think differently or need some accommodations, but all students are of equal worth and should be treated as such.

You can use this program to increase awareness of autism among students from grades K-8. With greater knowledge of autism, our youth will learn to see the person first rather than focus on a classmates disability. By increasing students acceptance of differences, the Kit for Kids creates a more inclusive classroom and overall sense of community.

How Would It Feel To Be : : : :

Next time you read a book to your class, try asking your students how it would feel to be the main character in the story. If youre reading a picture book about Cinderella, for example, you could ask how they would feel if they had two evil stepsisters who were mean to them. Or if youre reading Peter Pan as a class, you could ask them what happy memories they would think about to fly with magic pixie dust.

This can help students with autism learn empathy as well as how to see situations in their lives from another perspective. It can also teach them how to recognize emotional cues by encouraging them to put themselves in the perspective of another person.

Read Also: Why Do Autistic People Not Like Being Touched

Create An Autism Lesson Plan Activities Template

You may work in a school in which the principal requires lesson plans to be turned in. If so, determine if the format will work for your classroom. If not, ask the principal if you can use a different format and show her what you would like to use. Its OK to advocate for your classroom so you arent doing double work. Your needs in a special education classroom are different.

If you dont have a required template, create one. Im including a couple examples here so you can download them and modify them as you want. There are 2 primary things I like about them.

  • They state what the activity is, the materials and the objectives. This way everyone knows what skills are being targeted within the lesson. So, the para knows that she shouldnt give all the materials to the students if an objective is to practice requesting.
  • Once you complete them and refine them, many of the activities information stays the same. So you just have to fill in the parts that change. For instance, your objectives for morning meeting may not change for much of the year, so those would stay the same.
  • Once you get a lesson plan template in place, you will just need to change the parts from week to week that change, like the individual activities and materials. In the downloadable example for preschool Ive highlighted the parts that would change.

    Activities For Kids With Autism

    September Activity Plans » Autism Adventures

    Here are some ideas for activities for kids with Autism to use in the classroom, at home, and across multiple other settings. Its a great idea to incorporate hands on activities for kids with Autism while teaching social, life, and academic skills- as well as for leisure time. Some of these ideas overlap into multiple categories so be sure to check out the whole list!

    Remember, like anything else, when looking for appropriate activities for kids with Autism, we have to teach our kids and students with Autism step-by- step when learning an doing new things. So keep in mind that even during leisure activities and games, give students time to process and understand rules/expectations before they start to enjoy it! You can always make adaptations for any activity or game to meet the need/level of your kiddos.

    Classroom/Vocational Activities for Kids With Autism:

    Leisure Activities for Kids with Autism:

    Sensory Activities for Kids with Autism:

    At Home Activities for Kids with Autism:

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    Learn To Create A Progress Nook For Your Child At Home In 7 Days

    Receive 7 emails 1 email each day for FREE that will teach you exactly what to do, then receive emails once per week with fun learning activities for your child

    Thank you! You will receive your first email in a few minutes and be able to take the first step towards creating a PROGRESS NOOK for your little one!

    Bring Special Interests Into Lesson Plans

    Many children with autism have a fixation on certain topics or activities. Take advantage of what theyre passionate about and use it while teaching students with autism to help them focus in class. If a child with autism loves outer space, for example, you could plan a math assignment about counting the planets in our Solar System.

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    Free National Autistic Society Learning Resources For Teachers

    The National Autistic Society have compiled a suite of free learning resources for teachers to help secondary school students learn about autism and better understand their classmates.

    National Autistic Society Learning Resources

    The National Autistic Society have a comprehensive set of secondary resources, freely available to all teachers. They can be very useful for any activities you might wish to plan around World Autism Acceptance Week, or as general learning at any time of year.

    The resources include an assembly, tutor-time activities and a short animation about two young autistic people, as well as a Q and A with the animator, who is also autistic. They will help your students understand what autism is, what the key characteristics are, and what they can do to support autistic young people in their school. You are welcome to share the films and activities in your tutor group and engage your students in a wider discussion about autism.

    Lesson Plan: Learning About Autism: A Service Learning Project

    How to Write Lesson Plans for Your Preschool Classroom


    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 50 U.S. children is autistic. That means there are likely to be several children with autism in every school in the country. To address the integration of those children, this lesson involves older students in a service learning project to create an activity or piece of media that helps younger students learn about autism and, where relevant, their classmates. In addition to teaching about autism, the project offers students opportunities to practice research, writing, speaking, multimedia, organizational and time management skills.

    The video clips for this lesson are from Best Kept Secret.


    • demonstrate an understanding of autism spectrum disorder
    • design an activity and/or create a presentation to explain what they know to younger students


    Health and Psychology Media Literacy

    • Internet access and equipment to show the class online video
    • Internet access for student research
    • multimedia production equipment


    Most of this project will take place outside of class, but to screen the film clips, plan on one 50-minute class period, and then one additional class period at the end of the project to share student work.

    POV offers a lending library of DVDs that you can borrow anytime during the school year–FOR FREE! Get started by joining our Community Network.




    1. Have students present their projects to community groups.

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    Five Free Lesson Plans For Preschoolers On The Autism Spectrum

    A lesson plan is a set of organized educational activities with specific goals. These five printable lesson plans are perfect for preschoolers of all developmental levels, and they include accommodations for non-verbal or lower functioning children.

    If you need help downloading the printables, check out these helpful tips.

    Choose Materials And Lessons That Promote Generalization

    Students with autism, and really many students in special education, have difficulty learning skills in a broad way. This impacts their ability to apply their skills across environments, people and materials. Many people think that because we often work on the same skills for long periods of time, we can use fewer materials than other classrooms. However, in reality, it is exactly the opposite. To promote generalization, provide repetition, and keep engagement high, you need LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of stuff.

    # 6 in this post focuses on generalization and the need to use lots of different presentations of materials.

    5 Ways to Practice Applying Color Concepts for Generalization has ideas for promoting generalization with different types of materials.

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    Esl Voices Lesson Plan For This Post

    NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

    Level: Intermediate Advanced

    Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

    Time: Approximately 2 hours.

    Materials: Student handout and access to news article.

    Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

    NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

    Level: Intermediate Advanced

    Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

    Time: Approximately 2 hours.

    Materials: Student handout and access to news article.

    Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

    I. Pre-Reading Activities

    Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

    Directions: Ask students what they already know about people with disabilities. Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the topic of the article. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

    Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine

    II. While Reading Activities

    Word Inference

  • Monthly manicures are a rite of passage for any preteen.
  • Create A Self Portrait

    Lesson Plan Template

    Many children with autism have difficulty learning to grasp a pencil correctly, producing legible handwriting, and drawing representational pictures. A self-portrait can be a great way to practice these skills in a rewarding way, and it also helps children learn some basic facial expressions.

    This is a great lesson if you are on a tight budget. All you’ll need is the free lesson plan and some art supplies. Children will need varying amounts of help, depending on their age and developmental level. Younger kids or those with severe fine motor delays may need the assistance of a paraprofessional during this activity.

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    Lesson Planning In The Autism Classroom: How To Make It A Success

    I know we all really struggle with lesson planning in our special education classrooms. Its probably one of the most common questions I get. In addition, I recently took a poll on Instagram and Facebook, and the vast majority of you said that you werent happy with your lesson planning systems.

    I know there are many out there who think we dont need autism lesson plan activities in special education. Many teachers think that the IEPs will drive the lesson plans for each student. Or that every student is so individualized that lesson plans dont make sense. Read on for my take on why lesson planning is critical.

    Free Resources For Families Of Children With Autism And Other Special Needs During The Coronavirus

    With schools and learning centers staying closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus, families and students are finding themselves having to adapt to learning from home.

    Here is a list of fun, free resources and subscriptions to engage your child and support their learning during this time!

    Stages Learning Materials is now offering free autism resources for download, print and immediate use! Stages Learning Materials resources will enrich your childs social/emotional and behavioral development. You can also join our new Autism Learning Line online community to receive support, guidance and camaraderie during these challenging times

    Explaining COVID-19 to Your Child

    Using social narratives (sometimes referred to as Social StoriesTM can help children know what to expect and manage their anxiety during these changing times. These links will take you to narratives that explain COVID-19 and help kids understand why their routine is different.

    Organization and Maintaining Routine


    Language Arts



    Social Studies

    Arts, Exploration, Social Emotional and Movement

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    Calming Activities To Prevent Autism Meltdowns In Class

    When students with autism are feeling overwhelmed, the intense response that they feel may cause them to lose control of their emotions. This is called an autism meltdown and is different from when students without autism act out in class. While the best strategy for autism meltdowns is to seek help from a school specialist, these calm down activities can help to de-escalate stressful situations.

    Just Like Me Activity

    Rethink Autism Tip: Lesson Plans Adapt Basic Skills for Advanced Learners

    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.

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    Free Autism Resources To Help You Set Up A Home Program

    Have you been thinking of starting a home program for your child with special needs? Get started by creating the perfect space to help your child learn and thrive.

    Once you have your space set up, you will also need to make sure that your progress nook is properly stocked with the materials you need to help your child interact and progress. These materials will help you build your childs communication, fine motor, sensory and gross motor skills.

    What will you teach this week? will help you do just that.

    Teach Students About Historical Figures With Autism

    Although the disorder wasnt discovered until the twentieth-century, people with autism have made important contributions to history, and its important to educate students about themnot just in April but throughout the year. Here are a few well-known figures who are diagnosed with or believed to have had autism to get you started:

    • Greta Thunberg
    • Emily Dickinson

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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.

    Board Games With A Twist

    Free Printables for Autistic Children and their Families or Caregivers ...

    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.

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    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.

    Free Learning Resources For Schools

    This World Autism Acceptance Week, 28 March – 3 April, we have a suite of free resources for all age groups to help your colleagues and students learn about autism and better understand their classmates. You can download Early Years, Primary and Secondary resources below and watch the videos.

    Our suite of learning resources are here to help you and your school learn about being autistic and the challenges autistic young people face. We hope that you and your students will enjoy using them. You will find all activities, videos and teacher packs for Early Years, Primary and Secondary below.

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