Autism, School and Effective Classroom Strategies
“For parents of Autistic children, it’s difficult to know if a mainstream classroom is right for your child. When faced with that decision, we decided we owed it to our son to try. Learn more about effective classroom strategies.” – Gregory Ruel.
Portland, Maine — “School and a classroom full of typically developing children can be terrifying to a child. Trust me, it’s terrifying for the parent as well,” says Gregory Ruel, author of the blog Drawing Roads. “However there are several strategies that have helped us integrate our son into a mainstream classroom.”
Try these 5 strategies and visit Drawing Roads for additional tips:
1.) Providing a clear structure and set daily routine, including set time for breaks, is critical for children with autism. Down time is as important as set routine as a child searches for his place among his peers or uses the opportunity to get some peace and quiet.
2.) Use clear and unambiguous language and avoid ironic humor or phrases like “my feet are killing me”. Of course these sorts of things are said everyday within his ear shot but be prepared to either answer him with the exact meaning, make one up or fall back on “Its just an expression.” These interactions are always funny but they can throw kids with autism off track.
3.) Make very clear which behaviors are unacceptable with a firm “No”. A child with autism will try to get away with things like any other kid. A child with Autism tends to get lost when too many words are being said too rapidly.
4.) Provide warnings for any impending change of routine or switch in activity. Children with autism always appreciate a heads up. This is one that is crucial for a successful day, but one that is hard to always achieve in a public school.
5.) Strive for consistency among all staff related to an autistic child and avoiding any “backing-down” once a reasonable target has been set. This is where the whole school community is so important and communication among all team members becomes vital.
Visit Drawing Roads (www.drawingroads.com) for additional strategies to cope in the classroom.
– Gregory Ruel
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