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This collection contains information from teachers regarding students with autism and strategies to help them in the classroom.
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Posted by:Ima Teacher #141979

I've had one student with diagnosed autism, and one student who was I'd be willing to bet was autistic, although there was no documentation in his records.

Both were a HOOT to have in class. They didn't socialize with the other kids much, but the other kids were pretty good to try to include them anyway. Both were VERY literal, which made things a little tough since I teach literature, which relies so much on figurative language. One always spoke in complete sentences and always repeated everything. For instance, if I said, "Are you going to the library?" He would say, "You want to know if I'm going to the library?" For both I had to say their names before speaking to them or they didn't answer me. One was very good natured and worked hard on all assignments I gave. The other was...

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Posted by:NCteacher #141980

I have taught 6 or 7 kids with autism- like the others said- for the most part they were a delight to have in class. The kids were very, very different. A couple of my boys did not like to be touched at all and had some self stimulating behaviors (rocking, humming, moving hands). I had one boy who was ESL and autistic....he would get frustrated in class sometimes and stand up and yell, "You FIRED!! You FIRED!!!" . I was fortunate enough to work in a district that provided one on one aides for these kids. You truly get a sense of someone being trapped inside a body.

Ok- so none of that helps you in class. Here are some things that helped me- having all of their notebooks, folders, book covers and pencils to be one color. Easier for them to find. I had a schedule (with...

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Posted by:Fenfer25 #141981

I had a couple of autistic students last year. The one thing that you have to have is structure and consistency. Any change in the day, can really upset them. Visuals are a must as the above post mentioned. They want to know what is going on ahead of time.

My student had a feeling thermometer. It went from 0 to 5. You would want for him to be at a 3. But one of the problems that autistic students have is dealing with their emotions. If he was above a 3 he had some choices of tasks to help him calm down. The one that worked the best was putting together interlocking cubes. It worked every time. The nice thing about it was that once he cooled down, he was fine. It was also hard for him to verbalize his feeling, so if he showed me he was above a 3 I would tell him to...

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few things
Posted by:kali #141982

Make a visual schedule. Ask with your speech or sped person if they have a schedule icon program. Ours does, and they are great since they are very specific and school related. If not, I would recommend this student's one on one starts the year of with a project...taking picture at each session of the day...morning meeting, lunch, recess, etc. and putting them in a pocket chart, book, or some other way this student can effortlessly access.

Always give warnings before changing activities. Perhaps a few more than you usually do. Like when there is 10 minutes left and then 5 minutes left..and then a 2 min clean up warning or changing activities warning.

Be careful with sarcasm, idioms, body or other nonverbal communication. Some times this is very confusing for real literal thinkers.

Have the...

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Posted by:GreatGrin #141983

My first reaction, although I support inclusion, the Gen Ed setting the least restrictive environment for this student? IF this student demonstrates the behaviors you listed, you are going to have parents complaining about not only the safety of their children, but the effects of this student's behaviors on their child's education. Even with a one-on-one aide, these behaviors can occur, and if anything, you might have more disruption as he/she tries to intervene.
If the child demonstrates the listed behaviors it might be a sign that they are overstimulated and can't handle a large class setting for long periods of time. What about weaning him or her in during the subjects he or she is really good at or likes? It sounds like the student is going to need a lot of social coachng so you are so lucky to have...

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You have an aid! Wow!
Posted by:Fenfer25 #125877

You are so lucky. I had two autistic students last year and an aid that came in for about an hour.

These are the interventions we used that made a huge difference:

Not only does he need a visual schedule, but we used a feeling thermometer and task board. On this board the feeling thermometer was on the left side of the board. The thermometer shows the numbers 1-5. If the student is at a 3, then they are feeling "okay". If they are a 4, they are angry. 5 means "very angry"...and often they act out when they are at a 4 or 5 because they had difficulty expressing and coping with the frustration they were feeling. I would usually ask my students "How are you feeling?" because they had difficulty expressing their feelings, the thermometer worked wonders because they would reply, "I'm a 3." If they...

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Posted by:3gradeteacher #141984

I was asked to keep a journal of communication between home and school. Write what the day was like, a good thing that happened so that the parents can have a conversation starter or two, and the parents did the same thing. This way I had an idea what the night was like. I would also be asking for time to meet periodically with the whole team to discuss how to help this child. You can have the aide do the journal. Have the aide and child near the door. THis way if an episode comes up, they can be ushered out the door. Training for protecting you and your students if the child does anything. Ask how to properly restrain the child to protect yourself from any potential problems.
Biggest thing is to be consistent. I always told this childs parent if I would be out, to...

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I thought of some more tips!
Posted by:Fenfer25 #141985

You should also see if the spec. ed department can help you periodically with "social stories". These are stories that help with understanding of procedures, proper behaviors, etc. They can be about anything. If I had a problem, then the spec. ed department would develop a story. My student was getting very upset while playing twister during indoor recess. He loved the game but there was always a problem when he lost the game. So they created a story that basically stated that it was okay to lose a game sometimes....sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It also discussed how to react when you win or lose. It was very helpful. I think there is a program that was developed to create these books.

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Autism is close to my heart
Posted by:linda2671 #115517

I am a first grade teacher and I also have a 24 year old moderately autistic daughter. I had a problem with inclusion because so many classroom teachers DO NOT want autistic children in their classrooms. Some were wonderful and taught with their hearts. Others were horrible to her. One of the most important things is to prepare your class for the situation. Then look for compassionate kids who can be buddies. Everything is concrete for autistic kids. I've had autistic kids in my classroom. I give them 3 colored cards to carry with them. I tell them that if they follow the behavior guidelines I set for them, they get to keep all their cards. If they don't follow the guidelines, they lose a card. If they lose all their cards, they lose a recess. It's funny that they really care more about their cards than they do recess....

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I had an austistic child for two years...
Posted by:JKB #115536

Typically, I teach third grade. The first year that I had my autistic child, he was in my third grade class. Then, last year, I had a 3rd and 4th grade split and kept my autistic child for a second MY choice! :) He was an absolute delight and I am going to miss him this year!

One thing that I found MOST helpful was a book entitled My Friend has Autism that was written by Beverly Bishop. This book was written purposely to help classmates understand having a fellow student with autism. Read it to your class! It will help other children understand this child more fully.

Hope this is helpful! Have a great year! JKB :s)

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Visual Task Card
Posted by:JKB #115557

Another thing that I did for my autistic child was that I made 5 "schedule" cards, with graphics and times. For example:


8:35-8:45 :s) Welcome to a New Day!
8:45-9:00 :) Morning Paper (Teacher takes attendance, lunch count, etc.)
9:00-9:15 :cool: Morning Meeting

I used graphics that related to each item. For example, I used a book for Silent Reading time, etc. (For my example above, I just used the smilies available here on PT.)

I had one card for each day and they were laminated. We kept them in a folder. Then, each day, he would pull out the daily schedule and kept it on his desk. He knew what we were doing and when we were doing it. Autistic children are very routine and schedule oriented.

Another helpful tip.......if you are going to do...

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Posted by:PPCDTeacher #141987

This book is TERRIFIC:
Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm and Veronica

and so is this one:
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm

They are similar, but I would recommend getting them BOTH--- they are SO helpful, and quick and easy reads-- I love them BOTH. I have recommended them to parents also and the parents have found them helpful.

Also this book to read to your class, maybe, about a little girl who's best friend Will is autistic-- I love it:
My Best Friend Will by Jamie Lowell and Tara Tuchel

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Autism resources
Posted by:Fadora #141988

Paula Kluth has authored/co-authored several books that provide excellent, practical strategies for inclusion, with an emphasis on working with students on the Autism Spectrum. She's also an awesome presenter if you ever have the chance to attend a conference session of hers. Good Luck!

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reading programs
Posted by:Tarin #141990

I would recommend a relatively new program called eReadingPro. It's not really new I guess, as it used to be called Out of the Box Reading. I attended a workshop here about a year and a half ago. Edmark Reading Program uses mostly dolch words, whereas eReadingPro uses words nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. These words seem to be easier for kids to remember as sight words. It comes with a schedule that takes you from presenting single words, then 'couplets', small phrases and then sentences. We have a child at our school that I've been working with this year who has Down syndrome AND Autism, and she has come a long way using this program! The parents are using it at home with the child and then bring it to school for us to use here. I hope this helps you!

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Posted by:serendipity #141991

I have used the computer version and the kit when I taught Special Education students. I prefer the computer. I agree with the first response. It can be boring. I think I'm right in saying that the intended audience (clients) are students with cognitive impairments (IQ around 70). It has a lot of repetition and builds a concrete sight vocabulary (nouns & some adjecives). There are over 200 lessons in the 1st level. I would start with the lesson on the first sight word (horse) if they have some computer skills. I think it's about lesson 15. If a child completes all the lessons they can usually move into a late grade one sight word reader. Some children don't need or like the program enough to complete it, but it gives them some success and a feel for reading that motivates them to read other material. Children don't need to know...

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Posted by:dramacentral #141992


Without knowing more about you and your teaching goals, it's hard to say how you will feel about your new position. I can just tell you what my own experience was.

When I took my job teaching autistic children, I was very young. Just out of college. I had worked with many children before, but never an autistic child. I had read about autism, but found the day to day reality with the children to be very eye-opening. In the beginning I relied on my assistants and interns, and only after following the system they already had did I feel comfortable taking a leadership role and changing it. Some things were counterintuitive to me - I felt like I was learning to work with children all over again.

I found the job to be very rewarding and got lots of great...

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Some ideas for you..
Posted by:Elizabeth Ann #141993

First off, you are on the right track by observing, so give yourself a pat on the back and persevere! Second, here are a few suggestions for potty training: we use plastic gloves and gently facilitate the process by encouraging the child in a firm but not stern voice to sit on the toilet. If the child gets up and resists, the child is further encouraged by helping remove clothes etc. - one of our students had a routine of removing all of his clothes but he did learn to go to the bathroom this way and eventually we changed his "routine" by telling him "Pants and underwear only" etc. and sometimes saying "Ms. T.A. does not take off socks. Ok to leave socks on." etc. If the child responds well to visual and spoken cues, I have noted that simple directions (two to three words work best). Focus by using child's name (notice...

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Without knowing the child...
Posted by:SoniaT #141994

...or the particular set up of your class, I don't think I can give you any direct advice. Are you looking at when these behaviors happen and noting specific triggers? Perhaps some of them can be "headed off at the pass". What purpose do the behaviors seem to serve for him? Is there a way you can meet those purposes in advance of the behavior, or give him the skills to get those needs met appropriately?

I'm drawing blanks about some good, quick resources to recommend in terms of best understanding autism spectrum disorders. Googling "autism society america" will probably end you out at the ASA homepage, which should have some pamphlets to download.

Fundamentally, you're not there to teach him new skills--children functioning at his level need an extraordinary amount of repetition, practice, and individual...

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one on one is the key
Posted by:mrssimon2gr #141995

I have a 12 year old with autism and I have had many children with autistic children in my classroom.
One on one is the key for the situation, I would almost guarantee it. This is not "routine" for this child and that is one of the things children with autism thrive on....once a week for a short amount of time is VERY hard for them. Your environment is different, you are a different person that he is used to and - I'm guessing, you are doing different activities each week....this is his mind creates chaos.
I would go to the pastor and ask if maybe he knows someone with a background in sped....a para or aide perhaps.... or maybe a CNA or nurse even...someone who can be VERY patient with someone
Then, I would work with this person to...

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I have some questions for you (long)
Posted by:josephineg #141996

before giving any suggestions:

1. When you say "he does not have a good home situation", what do you mean? It is possible that most if not all of his behaviorial issues are due to that.

2. If he has autism, he could be low-, medium-, or high-functioning. From what you say, if he is non-verbal, he might not be high-functioning, but he could be. Has he been evaluated by a professional and can grandma share some of that information with you, since you have become one of his teachers? Autism can run a pretty wide range of functioning and behaviors. Can you get the grandmother to tell you more about his evaluation(s), or to find out and tell you? Really, without this information, you won't know how much to realistically expect from him. It's not fair to you for the...

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child w/autism
Posted by:lunalu #141997

I had a similar experience this year as a resource teacher and the child was obviously placed in an inappropriate environment. Inspite of my best efforts, I could not get anyone to listen to me ...until the day I was injured by the child who was then removed and placed in a stricter environment.
So, having had this horrible experience, here are a few ideas I can offer you and I'm really hoping you are in a public school system:
*document everything, both in narration and using a checklist so you can get some numerical data. For example, time on task/off task, hitting or touching other children, and successes. How you modified work, interventions and the results of including dates. Make a chart and put it on a clipboard. Your asst. can help collect data for you.

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social stories and autism
Posted by:bunny417 #141998

Hi! I am a resource room teacher with 2 students with autism on my caseload. I use social storeis a LOT with my students. Before I begin anything new I write a story with them and utilize a great deal of pictures. With my lower functioning student(who spends 1/2 of his day in an AI self contained program) I read and reread the story quite alot. Whenever he shows me he is anxious in relation to the change OR asks for it to be read, I will get the story out and reread it again. After a while the story isn't needed. The child will eventually internalize the expected behavior and I then move onto another story. I try to work on just a few 2-3 stories at once if that. I am happy to share any stories with you if you'd like. I've also got a format and charting which helps...

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