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Using Relational Development in Teaching Children With Autism

Relational teaching uses the relationship between student and support staff as a springboard for development, either social or emotional, for children with autism.
Gregory Ruel Portland, Maine


Old school thought dictates teaching all children the same way. Pile them into a classroom, explain the lesson, and kids will learn and do their work. If only it were that easy when it comes to teaching a child with autism.

Relational development is about having a safe space for exploration to occur between two people. During the school day, there are often basic needs that need to be met before consider academic success in children with autism. Often, there obstacles are enormous for the child and academic success will only come when the child feels comfortable. Children with autism need to feel safe and connected - this connection comes relating to the child’s need for reduced noise, to chew food or gum, or meeting the individual child’s needs to be relaxed.

According to Autism Speaks, Relationship Development Intervention was developed by psychologist Steven Gutstein, Ph.D., it builds on the theory that “dynamic intelligence” is key to improving quality of life for individuals with autism. The idea is not to hold children with autism to conventional standards because it isn’t likely to work. Instead, incorporate flexibility into the lesson plan. Indeed, academic success is likely to come when personal relationships are formed, the child feels comfortable, and the building blocks for social connections and shared experiences are formed.

Drawing Roads : A blog about autism
Gregory Ruel Portland Maine


 Gregory Ruel Portland
 Relational Development
 Autism Struggles
 Greg Ruel
 Autism Challenges

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