Ideas and Strategies designed to Promote Successful Inclusion Experiences
Lots of ideas and useful strategies with ready to use information can be found in or from the Centre’s Best Practice Resource.
- 21 Tips for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Inclusive education services for children and youth with disabilities: Values, roles and challenges of school leaders
Damian Milton (2011) claims that if we are to provide the level of differentiation of the curriculum to include children with autism, the following must be recognised,
- Respect the individual learning style of the pupil – work with it, not against it
- Always consider sensory issues
- Always consider how your processing of information may be very different to that of the pupil in your care (utilise interests)
- Stress is a key issue – reduce input when people are over stressed
- Collaborate for consistency in approach (p.12)
The Autism Education Trust have published a supportive booklet, for further reading.
Do you have a Child with Autism in Your Class?
They offer the following as key areas to be addressed,
- Structure, this will be discussed later, structuring the classroom, the work, thus supporting the child through visual strategies, whilst respecting the visual concrete strengths of many children with autism.
- Being Positive, appreciating the strengths and needs of the child with autism and promoting what he or she can do without continually focusing on his or her areas of difficulty.Many children may only be too aware of their differences from their peer group and also their difficulties accessing the curriculum. However, many focus on this and not appreciate what he or she can do, what skills he or she has acquired, what skills and abilities he or she has in certain subject and topic areas. Chickering and Gamson (1987)
Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone — for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well-motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra efforts(P.7)Damian Milton (2011) claims children with autism have a spiky profile of ability.
Teachers may need to support the child in the recognition of his or her skill set (Link to Transitions, starting a new school, Teenage Online Resource, Communication Passport)
- Empathy-ensuring that everyone who will be working with the child understands the barriers to his or her learning. His or her sensory differences, make his or her sensory profile available to all staff members including any substitute cover in the class. That way everyone can be prepared for teaching the child, mindful that as educators, who can be flexible, can create an environment conducive to effective learning. Consider raising the issue of how we are all different as a classroom topic, “All About Me”, “Everyone is unique”, “Bursting Stereotypes” using Self-Portraits, My interest Box, I like…, Class Birthday Posters, are all ways of beginning this inclusive process and as the class and the children develop, it may be beneficial to look at the characteristics of a variety of learning difference, including what is autism? presented in a contextually and culturally appropriate manner whilst considering the cognitive development of all of the children. (Link to AsIAm Back to School Buddy System, Link to NAS Student Mentor Guide)
- Low Arousal – consider the sensory environment, can sounds, lights, textiles be appraised as potential distractors? Contact a suitable qualified therapist to assist with this.
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5. Multi-disciplinary approach, recognition is given to the skills set of members of a range of professionals, all having expertise in meeting the needs of children with autism. Using this expertise from professions such and speech and language therapy, occupational therapy education and clinical psychology, behaviour therapy, classroom assistants and teachers with the added input from the parents of the child with autism and at times the child allows for collaboration in the design of the optimum interventions to be used.
Chickering and Gamson (1987) remind us
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding. (p.5)
6. Autism Spectrum Australia (2011) have devised The Aspect Comprehensive Approach for Education (ACAE) as a means of supporting parents, educators and the multidisciplinary team involved with children with autism as well as empowering the child. This approach emphasised the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved.
Read next: Be consistent →