Autism expert Dr. Cathy Pratt talks about the goals of true inclusion, how teachers can support the sensory, executive functioning, and academic needs of their students with autism, the role of peer and whole-school support in helping kids with ASD succeed, sources for evidence-based teaching resources, and more.
Occupational therapist Roger Ideishi shares his strategies for providing supportive environments in the general education classroom for children with autism. You'll also learn about Ideishi's innovative ideas for collaborating with museums, performing arts spaces, and other cultural institutions to make them more accessible and welcoming for children with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities. (Photo: Ryan S. Brandeburg, Temple University)
Early detection and early intervention can have a lifetime impact for children with autism. Learn the 16 early signs of autism that unfold from 9 to 16 months.
Regardless of the grade level or the area of need, peers have been crucial in helping students with autism spectrum disorder to succeed in typical school and community activities. Here are some suggestions for using peer supports in your school.
Tasks and activities which learners associate with past success tend to stimulate interest. Success begets success! Here you'll find a few success-oriented strategies that support motivation for students who have autism spectrum disorder.
Embedding literacy training opportunities with schedule training represents a strategy that may have surprising and positive outcomes for some students with autism. Schedules contain a small set of vocabulary for sight word recognition and offer natural opportunities for repetitive exposure to this core set of words.
Interviews with 12 adults on the autism spectrum provide insight into their own development of literacy skills, their present habits and challenges, and suggestions for teachers of students with ASD.
Browse this collection of visual supports and other resources to help your students with ASD be successful socially and academically in school. You'll find templates for social rules, classroom rules, emotional support, schedules, and more.
The transition from one grade to the next can be especially challenging for the student with an autism spectrum disorder. However, these students can more easily make this shift if careful planning and preparation occurs. Get tips for facilitating a smooth transition.
Get practical tips on how to use various visual supports can reduce your student’s anxiety, by providing much-needed information about the school environment and routines.
Today’s speech language pathologists (SLPs) play many roles in supporting the development of speech, language, communication, and literacy skills. Their roles often include screening, assessing, advocating, and programming/designing augmentative communication equipment in addition to providing direct intervention with students and indirect roles of consulting, coaching, collaborating, and training educators and families.
Anticipating the beginning of the school year can create anxiety for both family members and for their children on the autism spectrum. Get tips to help you be a proactive and positive advocate for your child.
Learn about the three psychological theories of ASD — Theory of Mind, Weak Central Cohesion, and executive functioning. Understanding these theories can help families and educators manage challenging behaviors at home and in the classroom.
Find links to examples of curriculum and programs that can be used to teach students on the autism spectrum. Topics include commuication, sensory support, social skills, life skills, literacy, math, science, and social studies.
Learn about factors related to school culture, teaching climate, and school-wide discipline practices that can aid or hinder a student with ASD's educational progress.
Though circle-time may be difficult for students with ASD, with the appropriate modifications and additions to the activities and environment, the experience can be successful for students and staff alike. Get ideas that will help make morning meetings more meaningful to students, and will assist in increasing student success.
Communication impairment is a characteristic of autism spectrum disorder. Learn more about how speech-language pathologists can support teachers, including information about different classroom models (e.g., push-in or pull-out), managing an augmentative communication program, and what a service plan can look like.
Parents can support their child's vocabulary skills through read alouds at home. Find out about Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 vocabulary words and terchniques for informal teaching while you read aloud.
The following questions can help you get to know your students with autism and give you insights that go beyond test scores and IEP goals.
Students with ASD can have strengths or challenges in either word recognition and language comprehension that will impact reading comprehension. It is important to assess, monitor, and track the word recognition or decoding skills and language comprehension skills as you evaluate reading comprehension.
Learn more about talents and challenges in children with high-functioning autism. Get tips on how to make your classroom welcoming and supportive, including lots of ideas for creating physical and instruictional supports, and how to use specific interests to jumpstart learning adventures with other subjects.
An organized classroom with defined areas and spaces can help students with autism in anticipating what is expected and to predict what will be happening during the instructional day. Get tips on how to create defined learning spaces and reduce distractions in your classroom.
A visual schedule communicates the sequence of upcoming activities or events through the use of objects, photographs, icons, or words. Find out how to set up visual schedules in your classroom to support your students with ASD.
A work system is an organizational system that gives students with ASD information about what is expected when they come to the classroom. Find out how to implement a work system in your classroom.
Visual structure adds a physical or visual component to tasks to help students with ASD to understand how an activity should be completed. Get ideas on how to implement visual structure in your classroom and support your students' independence.
Learn about four strategies for structured teaching to support students with ASD: (1) physical structure, (2) visual schedules, (3) work systems, and (4) visual structure.
An organized classroom with defined areas and spaces can help students with autism in anticipating the requirements of a specific setting and to predict what will be happening during the instructional day. Get tips on how to organize your classroom.
Did you know that a baby’s brain is developing the most rapidly during the first two years of life? These early years offer a critical window of opportunity, like no other time, to launch language early and get a jump start on school success. Learn the milestones that develop from 7 to 24 months.
Find examples of research-based curriculum and programs that can be used to teach literacy and reading comprehension to students on the autism spectrum.
Browse these Top Picks to discover the best in educational apps and websites that support children with learning and attention issues in these areas: emotional intelligence, social skills, and executive function. You'll also find recommendations for quality assistive technology to support kids who are struggling with reading.
The social curriculum conveys the values, belief systems, and expectations of behavior in school. It is just as important as the academic curriculum, but is often "hidden" for children with learning challenges. Here you'll find some effective strategies to intentionally facilitate social inclusion in your classroom and school-wide.
High-leverage practices (HLPs) and evidence-based practices (EBPs) when used together can become powerful tools for improving outcomes for students with disabilities and those who struggle. This brief shows the promise of these practices in advancing educator preparation and practice.
Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a physical or cognitive disability. Get the basics in this fact sheet from the Center on Technology and Disability.
It is important for parents to understand the "language" of assistive technology so they can be informed advocates for their child's technology needs. The following glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.
With careful and creative planning, literacy instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Five ways teachers can provide a literacy education for all learners are offered here.
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” Three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development are described here: picture books, graphic notes, and story kits.
Learn about and watch some of the compelling in-depth news stories and documentaries about autism developed by public broadcasting.
PBS Kids has been a leader in autism awareness, developing original programming for television, web, and mobile platforms. Learn about the children's program and find links to games for kids and companion resources for parents and educators.
Recent documentaries have taken a fresh look at what it means to "be on the spectrum" and how to celebrate the gifts of neurodiversity.
Browse our lists of high-quality apps to support the emotional, language and communication, organizational, and social needs of kids with autism or Aspergers.
Whether your child has mild or severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, making reading a fun activity can help your child's learning and social skills. You'll find sharing books together can be a good way to connect with your son or daughter. Reading also helps your child's language development and listening skills.
Browse this list of organizations and web resources focused on advocacy, information, and support for families and educators of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We've also identified helpful federal agencies and ASD projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Learn the basics about autism spectrum disorder (ASD): what it is, signs and symptoms, strengths and abilities, risk factors, diagnosing ASD, the value of early intervention, and treatment and therapies that can help children and their families.
In order for inclusion to be successful, it must exist at all levels of education: the community, the school, the classroom, and the lesson. This brief overview describes what inclusion looks like at each level.
Sesame Workshop has introduced Julia, a muppet with autism, to the world of Sesame Street. Using selected clips of Julia from the program, a psychologist explains practical ways teachers can support children with autism.
In this webinar from the Center on Technology and Disability, two experts demonstrate and discuss various apps and Assistive Technology (AT) options, including wearable technology to support students with autism.
These 27 identified evidence-based teaching practices have been shown through scientific research to be effective when implemented correctly with students with ASD.
Children's picture books about autism can be a valuable resource for teachers in inclusive classrooms attempting to teach awareness, empathy, and acceptance among students. This article provides instructional tips for educators and offers suggestions for using children's picture books about autism to encourage positive, inclusive instruction.
Many children are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and they need services and support, now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. More can be done to ensure that children with ASD are evaluated as soon as possible after developmental concerns are recognized. Learn more about CDC’s new data on ASD.
Learn the basics about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) including types of ASD, diagnosis, and red flags for ASD in toddlers.
Learn more about social communication problems in young children, how delays in social communication skills can be the earliest signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and what early intervention looks like.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be easy to miss in young children. Some behaviors involving social communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests may be red flags for ASD.
Get insight into how a 21st century literacies perspective can support inclusive literacy practices that create a community of learners, use digital tools to make the curriculum accessible, and link academic goals with real‐world platforms.
Inferential comprehension requires both emotional intelligence and cognitive skills, however instructional comprehension strategies typically underemphasize the emotional contribution. This article documents an intervention used by diverse third grade students which centers on teaching story comprehension through character perspective-taking (i.e., Theory of Mind).
Teaching children with autism to comprehend text can be challenging. Here are some strategies educators can incorporate into daily lessons to meet the literacy needs of their students.
Find out the characteristics of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that make writing difficult, and how use of technology can help support writing development. Results of a pilot study that utilized First Author® software to improve the writing of secondary students with ASD are described.
The birth of a child with a disability, or the discovery that a child has a disability, can have profound effects on the family. In this article, you'll find information to support the life cycle, health, and well-being of the family when a son or daughter has a disability.
One potential way of fostering empathy in young children is through picturebooks. Learn about empathy, theory of mind, the development of emotional intelligence, and the role of picturebooks in the classroom.
Learn the basics about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including incidence and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.
Learn simple ways you can make your classroom sensory-friendly to help students with sensory issues feel more comfortable and ready to focus on learning and socializing. Ideas include ways to adapt the classroom space, learning materials, lighting, noises, and smells.
Learn about a partnership between Georgetown University and a local community outpatient care clinic to help improve the early identification of autism in young Latino children, including lessons learned that are relevant to school settings, such as effective communication approaches and building strong relationships with diverse families.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
In addition to the unique gifts and interests that autistic students bring to the classroom as people, their responses can serve as an early warning system for pedagogical problems that are happening in the classroom as a whole.
For many learners with autism, transitions are the toughest part of schooling. These four strategies are designed to prepare the learner with autism for a new school or a new schooling experience and can be used days or months before the student arrives as well as throughout the school year.
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.
To create environments most conducive to learning for students with autism and their peers without disabilities, teachers may need to examine ways in which classroom spaces are organized. Specifically, teachers may need to consider the sounds, smells, lighting, and seating options in the classrooms.
Reading comprehension is often a concern for the teachers of students with autism. The comprehension strategies described in this article may help some students gain comprehension skills and improve their ability to read and communicate about written material.
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.
Here are some strategies to help a child who does his or her homework, but doesn't turn it in.
Children with executive function problems have difficulty with planning, organizing and managing time and space, and weakness with "working memory." Learn more about executive function, how it affects learning, and strategies to help children in school and at home.
Discover 20 ideas for including all students in classroom read alouds. These suggestions may work for students who need to fidget during whole-class instruction, those who need materials to keep focused, and those who require alternative ways of demonstrating attention, engagement, and interest.
Students with autism spectrum disorder have a number of unique challenges in the classroom. Learn how to set up work systems that can help your students become more independent by strengthening organization skills, reducing distractibility, understanding sequence of events, and more.
Find out how to help students with executive functioning issues learn to manage their time, space, materials, and school work.
Inclusion is a belief that ALL students, regardless of labels, should be members of the general education community. The philosophy of inclusion encourages the elimination of the dual special and general education systems, and the creation of a merged system that is responsive to the needs of all students.
Establishing a trusting relationship with families of students with autism is critical, especially when working through challenges that may occur. In this article you'll find two useful daily report templates to share with families.