By Alan Haskvitz
Autism continues to be a concern for all parties. Perhaps the best way to help with this concern is to communicate ideas and resources. Towards that goal, I have put together some of the most valuable I could find.
First, autism is a brain disorder that impairs the ability to communicate, socialize, and maintain what are considered normal relationships with others. Students with autism may have varied levels of skills, capacities and behaviors. Even the cause of autism is not understood at this time, although medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms. So, you need to treat every autistic-diagnosed student as a distinct individual and take time to read their reports and be aware of any medications and their possible side effects.
The major problem when teaching several students with autism, besides the uneven development in learning, are issues of classroom management, behavior, differentiated instruction, and even how best to use teaching aides.
Finally, you must be attuned to the type of medication our student may be using. A carefully developed Individualized Learning Plan is essential and meeting with the parents necessary to make consistent progress.
Unfortunately, due to its nature, autism success stories are not easily duplicated. Just because one method works in a certain instance does not make it transferable. I recommend you read widely from the resources below and glean ideas that might help your students.
National Autism Center
Offers a great many resources for teachers and parents, including an online library.
The Autism Society
A great organization for families looking for resources and research. They designated April as Autism Awareness Month.
Cindy’s Autistic Support is a link site that provides all sorts of tips and advice for parents and teachers.
An autism blog with how-to articles and more.
Autism on SlideShare
This site provides a list of sideshows that offer insights on autism. This is an exceptional site, but it takes time to navigate the many entries.
Autism and Asperger Syndrome
This site offers the basics, plus classroom ideas. It’s a good primer on these two conditions and resources for helping those impacted.
22 Tips for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders,
Handy and essay to follow ideas for educators and parents.
Autism Fact Sheet
From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This site
presents lots of ideas and explanations that can provide insights.
Read The Autism Teacher
A blog full of good teaching ideas.
Autism Resources for Teachers.from the NEA