Teaching kids with autism/Aspergers

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by dedicated2, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. dedicated2

    dedicated2 Guest

    Aug 6, 2004

    :confused: Hello. I am new to posting on the forum and would like some advice from teachers who have taught students with autism. I have been teaching special education for 4 years and will have students with autism (one with Aspergers syndrome) for the first time. I will attend a seminar AFTER school starts but desperately need whatever advice someone is willing to give me as to how to setup/prepare/etc, a classroom for such students. They are first grade students. Open to all experienced comments. Blessings to you all this coming school year.
  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Apr 4, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Aug 7, 2004

    I work as an assistant in a school for kids with ASD, so if you have specific questions, ask away and I'll see what I can do. Here are some ideas to get you started, a lot of them are probably things you do anyway. :)

    Post a schedule, preferably one they can check and refer to. All of our kids have ones made from long cardboard pieces... green one side, with velcro pieces representing activities (class, then snack, then OT, then lunch, etc)... as one activity is finished, they move that piece to the red "finished" side... "lunch is finished, time for math" or whatever. Keeping routines the same each day, or preparing them with verbal/visual/written prompts when things are going to change (assembly, field trip, short day, etc) helps them to be independent and to remember what is happening.

    All of our kids have their own work stations in the classroom (our are a desk facing the wall with dividers between each desk... think cubicle)... I don't know if this is feasible for you, but giving kids the same place to go to each time they are going to work or when they need to relax, etc... they know where to go. Our kids also have a box of sensory items (balls, putty, stretchy toys, etc, depending on the kid) that they can get independently when they are not working on tasks.

    Lots of repetition, and break things into small steps (you probably do that anyway).

    Kids with ASD often benefit from deep pressure (squeezing between bean bag chairs, pushing the wall, hugs, weighted vests or blankets, lap weights, etc)... can also try things like manual pencil sharpeners, crawling, pushing a "loaded" shopping cart or pushing someone in a rolling chair... you can work these into "fun" activities that help them calm and regain control of themselves or get ready to work.

    There are some ideas for starters... when you know specific needs or if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask, either on the boards or click my name to send me a private message or an email.

    Have a great year! :)
  4. happycamper

    happycamper New Member

    Aug 5, 2004
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    Aug 10, 2004

    Our department just went through a 2 day training on autism and Asperger's!
    One thing that was stressed was the importance of using visual supports for these children. A picture schedule would be helpful -something that the students could refer to. I work with a behavior disordered student and believe me, picture schedules save a lot of discussion regarding "what's next?" This year, my schedule will include clocks with the times on them because my student has learned how to tell time.
    Another thing that was mentioned that I am anxious to put into practice-"wait time." It involves allowing the student a full 10 seconds to process requests before they are repeated. Students with autism and Asperger's apparently need extra time to figure out what is expected of them before they can act. If we pepper them with requests, we sound like Charlie Brown's teacher in the Peanuts comic! (Blah, blah, blah)
    There are varying degrees of Autism, so you'll have to get to know your students. One strategy will not work for everyone. The presenters at our workshop stressed the importance of having clear expectations for these students and that the first few days of school should be devoted to teaching the process: "What it takes to be successful in this classroom" as Harry Wong would say.
    Good luck and ENjoy!
  5. dedicated2

    dedicated2 Guest

    Aug 12, 2004

    Happycamper: Thank you for your informative reply regarding my concerns about teaching my autistic student. I have also found some useful instructions on a pretty good website that I will try to utilize this year. I've gone to a workshop in the past but I did not have studens to apply what I learned at that time. Unfortunately, teaching these kids is seemingly so individual that it is probbly going to be a learn-as-you-go experience. I believe things will work out. I hope the best for you, as well. Thank you for your helpful insights.

    Have a blessed and safe school year.
  6. erinkate

    erinkate Rookie

    Sep 24, 2002
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    Aug 18, 2004


    Well I finally did it. I got my certification and masters degree in Special Ed. I just got my first teaching position. Its self contained autistic support for 1st and 2nd graders. I go to see my classroom on Fri and meet my mentor I am excited, but terrified. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  7. AngieWilson

    AngieWilson Guest

    Aug 18, 2004

    Hi. I am working with the PPCD program in Texas. I was the assistant in another district working to get my degree. I was there for some 10 years or so. Now, I am teaching. Nice feeling to be done, huh? I work with all different disabilities and developmental delays. I have worked with Autism, Asperger's, Downs, Rhetts, etc. I have found with many of my high-functioning autistic children that a daily picture or object schedule is a necessity. I use some sign language consistently and that seems to be very helpful. I can take some pictures of my schedule and send them out if anyone is interested. I use Boardmaker symbols for my schedules. I turn the picture over after telling the student that the activity is "finished". Following that with repeating that the activity is finished and signing "finished" at the same time. They really took of last year, and knew the routine/schedule better than I did... :0) I need a schedule myself, so I incorporated it into my program in order to better meet the needs of my students who rely on a strict daily schedule. It's great to see them grow. Good luck. ~Angie
  8. Tory

    Tory Guest

    Aug 20, 2004

    I am currently attending college and would like to work with autistic children. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for the direction my education should be heading? Nuzzotory@msn.com


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