Autism In The Classroom
Inclusive education involves identifying and eradicating the barriers to learning that people may face. This means that teachers must facilitate learning and ensure that each child or young persons individual needs are being met. Teachers are obligated to ensure they differentiate learning to meet such needs so all students are able to reach their full potential.
However, despite over 70% of children and young people with autism being educated in mainstream provision, most teachers do not undergo autism-specific training. A 2013 survey by the charity Ambitious about Autism reported that as many as 60% of teachers in England felt they did not have adequate training. Moreover, research has consistently shown parents of children with autism are more likely to be dissatisfied with their childs education.
Work With Their Parents/carers
Parents and carers are the true experts on their autistic children. To fully support the child in and out of school, you should therefore coordinate and share knowledge with them. Both of you can suggest interventions that have worked at home or in school for the child and can integrate these into their routine.
Not only will building a relationship benefit the autistic child, but it will also help the parents and carers feel at ease about their childs education. Your commitment to working with them will build their confidence in the schools ability to support their child.
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 A Certified Autism Specialist Do
An autism specialist is someone who works with children who are diagnosed with ASD, which can include a range of behaviors and challenges. Not all children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum behave the same way or struggle with the same issues. Some children with ASD may have extreme sensory processing issues, such as reacting negatively to loud noises or unpleasant smells. Others may have difficulty with social interactions, such as being able to process anothers emotions or using appropriate manners. Children with ASD can have mild or severe neurological challenges.
Autism specialists who get an advanced autism certification learn the specific skills necessary to work with these children and help them meet their goals. They can provide therapy or assistance in a classroom, private counseling, or even at home. For example, Dr. David Rago, the academic program director of the Graduate Certificate in Autism program at National University, said that an autism specialist could help those on the autism spectrum learn social skills through modeling.
It could be learning about visual modeling or peer training, so if theres a specific behavior or social interaction that the student needs to learn, like how to take turns, they could use visual modeling. It could also be in person, in real time, what it looks like to take turns, he says.
Working In A Small Group
To prepare your class that there will be group work today, write on the board a short agenda or use a work system so all can be prepared. For the student with ASD, the teacher may need to say the students name and then point to the board to note the agenda. Sometimes students on the autism spectrum are unaware of their surroundings and do not understand how to follow instructions given to an entire group. Saying their name and pairing it with a gesture , brings their attention to key points. Like partner work, think of those who will work best with the student with ASD. Students with autism do best with predictability and structure. Merely assigning students to work in a group is not enough. Build in structure. For example, assigning jobs to specific places at the table helps to create structure. To make group work more predictable, provide visual supports. Consider this example:
Another idea is to create a rubric of the important elements expected in the assignment for everyone in the group to be able to check off as completed. Also, with input from the students set rules for the group so everyone knows what is allowed socially. Post the rules in the room for all to see. For example, the volume level allowed when working , allow movement within the group but describe what this will look like .
Providing visuals supports, clear expectations, and predictability plus, teaching social skills for group work will help the student with ASD in your classroom to be successful.
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Apples And Actions Game
This object lesson starts with showing your student an apple. Pass the apple around the class and, as you do, have each child insult it and drop it on their desk or the ground. After every child has dropped it and said a mean thing to it, cut the apple in half and show your students all the bruises inside.
Explain to them that our words have consequences and that everything we say can make an impact on someone else. Just like how insulting and dropping the apple can bruise it, being mean to a classmate can have big effects on them. That way, your students will always remember to be kind.
How To Become A Certified Autism Specialist
Over the last two decades, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, has become a more frequent diagnosis among children in the United States and its a diagnosis that crosses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 59 children is diagnosed with ASD compared with one in 150 children in the year 2000.
What this means for parents, educators, and for communities is that there are many more children in the classroom who have been identified as having special needs and who need specialized help. Teachers and aides may need to help these students process material in a different way so that they can learn it better, or they may need to help students manage their emotions or learn social skills to better interact with their peers and the world around them.
The growing incidence of ASD and the increased awareness of what these students need to be successful in the classroom has created demand for teachers and professionals who are trained to work with children with autism, specifically. If you are a teacher or professional who is likely to work with children who have ASD, you may want to consider getting more education to become a certified autism specialist.
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Like All Kids Children With Autism Have Strengths And Weaknesses
As is the case with any child in a classroom, those on the autism spectrum have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some may be excellent with memorization, but struggle with reading and sounding out words phonetically. Teachers should be prepared for a child to struggle with subjects to varying degrees .
Supports For Students With Autism
As with almost any subject related to autism, there are some barriers to meeting the educational needs of students in the spectrum. It is neglected that they should receive good and appropriate education just like their peers. Among these barriers, financing, lack of information and training, lack of expert support staff and time, lack of appropriate resources and class sizes are the most common.
Funding can help the teacher to individualize their approach to a student on the spectrum. Because it can affect resourcing, support and available staff. Furthermore, the training and experience of the teacher in autism spectrum disorder will vary.
Adequate support is needed for the teacher working with students on the spectrum. Because they should know that they can meet the need of their students and it is something ongoing. They should individualize their educational approach according to students need and they need to know that they can be provided enough adjustments and resources that they can implement the classroom environment.
It is not enough to give teachers professional development on autism spectrum disorder. Those children need additional help from specialists related to autism to put adjustments in place that fit within the context of their classroom and school.
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Be Aware That Your Classroom Decor May Be Overstimulating To A Child With Autism
Classrooms these days tend to be busy with colors and textures. While such decor may appear fun to you, lots of bright colors with no place for the eyes to rest could be hard on the sensory system of a student on the autism spectrum. Consider toning down the decor to include fewer decorations, less intense colors, and a place where a child can rest his or her eyes. In fact, youll likely find a less stimulating classroom to be beneficial for all your students.
Strategies To Keep Lectures And Discussions On Track
While social issues are important, another challenge with HFA students can be managing their interactions in a larger classroom. Because they cant necessarily pick up on subtle voice or facial cues teachers give to modify or end a line of questioning, students with HFA or Aspergers can sometimes be perceived as interrupting or derailing lectures. Its important to know that their behavior is not intentionally rude, but that these students are not always able to understand the nuances of subtle social cues.
One technique to help with students who perseverate, blurt or interrupt lectures for questions at inappropriate times can be to give them a limited amount of tangible items that they can trade to ask a question. When the student is out of tangible items, they can write down their questions and address in conference with the teacher at a later time. This does not need to be a targeted technique and can slightly modified to encourage everyones participation in discussions.
Read Also: Autism Life Span
The Problem That Kids With Adhd/autism Have Classroom Settings
Teachers must know the strengths and weaknesses of the children they have in classrooms. Look for anyone whos staring out of the window when a maths lesson is given. Or, the one who can never sit still. Or, who answers a question with another question. All these symptoms are exasperating to deal with. Thats because theres brainpower you have to fight with. The problem with it is that focusing for a child with ADHD in the classroom is difficult.
That it disrupts the whole class and wrings time out for instructions to be explained properly. Still, they will demand attention in all the wrong ways , forget noting down whats for homework or face difficulty noting down due to a lack of fine motor controls. Or, they might note it but not bring it completed to the school. Bad handwriting is also common among such kids. Read how to handle such behaviors in the classroom using circle of relationships.
Teaching Tips For Children And Adults With Autism
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Good teachers helped me to achieve success. I was able to overcome autism because I had good teachers. At age 2 1/2 I was placed in a structured nursery school with experienced teachers. From an early age I was taught to have good manners and to behave at the dinner table. Children with autism need to have a structured day, and teachers who know how to be firm but gentle.
Between the ages of 2 1/4 and 5 my day was structured, and I was not allowed to tune out. I had 45 minutes of one-to-one speech therapy five days a week, and my mother hired a nanny who spent three to four hours a day playing games with me and my sister. She taught ‘turn taking’ during play activities. When we made a snowman, she had me roll the bottom ball and then my sister had to make the next part. At mealtimes, every-body ate together and I was not allowed to do any “stims.” The only time I was allowed to revert back to autistic behavior was during a one-hour rest period after lunch. The combination of the nursery school, speech therapy, play activities, and “miss manners” meals added up to 40 hours a week, where my brain was kept connected to the world.
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Components Of Execution In Classroom Settings
Arrange a seat for the ADHD child away from the door and/or window, this will help contain his/her mind to the subject matter at rand rather than digressing outdoors. Best, if it is in the front desk and not disrupting your view of the student behind. Remember, preferential seating is a key component of the Individualized Education Plan . This will bring the focus on the teacher. Now to the rest:
- Instructions to be delivered one at a time. Repeats could be necessary.
- The most difficult materials are taught best early in the day.
- Visuals like charts, pictures and colour-coding are very effective.
- Create outlines for the notes you give. It should organize the information as its delivered.
- A quiet area is the best.
- Avoid long and timed tests. Frequent tests, with fewer items, work better. If the student prefers an oral test or a fill-in-the-blanks, it would be unwise to try changing his/her mind or forcing with another type.
- Long-term projects, divided into segments with separate completion goals for each are more effective. Better, if the student is allowed to work it out on a computer.
- Late works must not be reprimanded. Partial credits are fine.
- Giving a student a master notebook to use and inserts . Make sure of not just the kid systematically writing down assignments and important dates but that he/she also uses it.
All these are beneficial, not only to the to a student with Autism or ADHD in the classroom, but also to the entire class.
Note Aspects Of The Tasks And Activities That Create Frustration
Examine the instructional plan and non-instructional activities for problem areas that may result in sensory overload or frustration for the student. Accompany sensory experiences that are calming for the student with potentially frustrating tasks. Adapt tasks and materials to promote successful participation. Decrease environmental distractors and reduce activities that confuse, disorient, or upset the student and interfere with learning.
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Becoming A Certified Autism Specialist
To become a certified autism specialist, you need to get additional education on the specific needs of individuals with ASD, as well as on the most effective therapeutic strategies to help them, including their educational, behavioral, social, and emotional needs.
National University is one of the top San Diego universities and colleges offering this certification. The Graduate Certificate in Autism at National University consists of four courses, which can each be completed in four weeks. The courses are designed to be taken sequentially, so the program can be finished in as little as four months, making it especially convenient for working professionals to complete.
This program, in particular, is designed for teachers who have some special education electives and are working with children who have special needs, Rago says. First, the program gives them a foundational understanding of what autism is and what it looks like in students, and then it gives them the practical methods and strategies to address their needs.
Rago says the program teaches students how to design lessons and curriculum to meet the particular learning needs of students with ASD, as well as strategies to help them overcome their emotional and social challenges.
At National,s possible for teachers who are being asked to get it by their district to get it done in one school year, he says.
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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Supporting Students With Autism: 10 Ideas For Inclusive Classrooms
Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication. These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of these needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism.
Adapted from: P. Kluth . Youre Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom.
While most educators agree that no recipe exists for teaching any individual student or group of students, there are certainly some guidelines that can be helpful for supporting students with certain labels. Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication, therefore, teachers will need strategies to address each one of these areas. These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of the aforementioned needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism labels.