XP: HS Autism Class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by SpedTeachSA, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. SpedTeachSA

    SpedTeachSA New Member

    Jul 23, 2015
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    Aug 7, 2015

    Hello all!

    I just accepted my first teaching position, a high school autism class! I don't know many details yet, but what I do know is that it is a self contained class with 3-4 students. I'll also have an aide. This will be the first year this particular school will have a specific unit just for students with autism. So, this will be a learning experience for everyone.

    Are there any tips, suggestions, advice from any experienced teachers out there? How different will things be in a high school class vs an elementary school other than the obvious older, bigger kids who are (theoretically) familiar with the 'school routine'?
  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Aug 10, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Aug 8, 2015

    I'm not a sped teacher, so I can't help with the student aspect. But I can give you a couple of pointers about working with the general ed teachers.

    If you want your students to have special privileges that rest of the student body doesn't get, run it by administration first. And then see how you can make it easier for the general ed teachers to deal with the discrepancies. For example, students aren't allowed in the main buildings during certain times. We have teachers on hall duty to shoo them out. Our self-contained autistic students have been told by their teacher that they can come in early and settle into the room. But the teacher didn't tell the monitors. Since the monitors rotate, there were several days of nasty confrontations, with the students threatening to punch teachers (me!) if they didn't get to go inside. It wasn't until the referrals started piling up during the first few weeks that the administrators caught on.

    That situation could have been prevented simply by the sped teacher sending an email to the staff saying what she had promised (after seeing if it was okay with administration) and making a special pass for the kids to wear with their ID. Same thing goes with any general ed student helpers you might have.

    Second, remember that you have a handful of students and the other teachers have a lot more. Don't try to wiggle out of regular teachers' duties, using your students as an excuse. If you have an aide during the day and kids come in to eat in your class, they can stay with the aide. It isn't instructional time. You can still do lunch duty like everyone else. Also, if your students take classes with the rest of the population, remember that your children are unique to you, but they are one of many unique students to the general ed teacher. Be clear about the IEPs and don't expect teachers to go beyond that if they're in a particularly busy part of the year. Do not EVER tell a student that they can dismiss a general ed's assignment/instruction/rule and that you'll "take care of it."

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