In education today, the number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is on the rise. In the classroom, you might have children on various sides of the spectrum from high-functioning Asperger’s to non-verbal children with ASD. Teaching children with autism might seem overwhelming, but there are strategies out there which can help you run a smooth classroom.
Strategies within the classroom
A student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is the first step in understanding what needs a particular student might have within the classroom. Children with autism sometimes have strategies in their IEP, which have helped them be successful in the past. However, there are more generic strategies you can use as well:
- Set clear classroom rules and procedures
- Communicate clearly giving time for students to process
- Help teach social skills
These strategies may not work immediately. However, constant reminders and clear expectations can help students with autism feel and be successful in the classroom. An M.Ed. in Special Education with a specialization in autism can help prepare you for teaching children with autism by sharing with you various strategies and cutting-edge research.
Interactions with students with autism aren’t always in the classroom. You might encounter these students in the halls, during assemblies, or in other activities around school. Even if you don’t have autistic students in your class, there are strategies you can use when interacting with them. You should avoid using idioms when talking with these students. They can take speech very literally, and if you state, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” they might be confused of why it isn’t literally raining cats and dogs. Also, if students don’t understand what you just said, try rewording the sentence using clearer language. Avoid using sarcasm when talking to children with autism. These students have trouble with pragmatic language and aren’t able to distinguish a sarcastic tone.
Teaching students with autism might feel scary, but there are strategies out there that can help you within the classroom. New research comes out all the time about working with students with autism. With an M. Ed. in Special Education with a specialization in autism, you can be at the forefront of learning about this research, which can make you feel more comfortable in the classroom.