Strategies for Teachers Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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  •  Role play/model situations (so students can see instead of just being told)
    •  May also video tape so students can see
  •  Be consistent
    •  Make sure to keep expectations the same, every time someone is inconsistent it takes 8 times of being consistent to “undo” the inconsistency
  •  Foreshadow changes in Schedules
    •  Make it visual by using a symbol or writing it down
  •  Use “rules” to enforce concepts
    •  Many students are rule orientated but don’t over use rules, for example you may say the rule in _____ grade is that you stand in line with your hands at your side.
  •  Match Student work time to their performance time
    •  If they are able to attend a task for approximately 15 minutes have that much work for them to do (not a lot more or  less)
  •  Use alternatives to writing in order to demonstrate competence
    •  May use magnetic words/letters, word processing device, dictating responses, or use symbols
  •  Teach Social Skills as part of curriculum
    •  Remember there is no such thing as “commonsense”
  •  Understand cycle of tantrums/meltdowns and try to prevent
    •  If you know something is going to set them off, don’t do it, teach student how to handle situation before putting them in it
  •  Schedule in down time
    •  May be a 30 second “break” or a 15 minute break depending on student, could be sensory or just a walk
  •  Have realistic expectations
    •  Not everyone is social all of the time, not everyone is on task all of the time!
  •  Success builds Success
    •  Start a new skill in an area of success first
  •  Share success between home and school
  •  Focus activities on turn taking/self management
    •  Use visuals to assist (ex.Wait card)
  •  Pick a goal and focus on one for each activity
    •  Is the goal the academic content, independence, or socialization
  •  Maintain Structure
    •  Try to stay a sconsistent as possible with a routine
  •  Offer Choices when possible
    •  If two assignments need to be complete give student the choice of which one to do first
  •  Use a variety of stimuli in lessons
    •  Use visuals and hands on materials when possible
  •  Understand the function of a behavior
    •  Look fo rthe reason behind the behavior, not just the behavior itself
  •  Use social stories, role playing, or video taping to make abstract concepts concrete
    •  Try to think of picturing things in your mind or giving a definition of something, if you can’t you need to make it more concrete (ex. Showing what emotions look like, having a wait card, showingwhat “there” is)
  •  Teach in a variety of settings for generalization
    •  Introduce anew skill in a variety of places so that the student can see it applies to more than one setting
  •  Match visual supports with verbal instruction
    •  Example: hold up a math book when telling class to get out book, write page numbers on board
  •  Allow for “wait time” to receive a response
    •  Average processing time is 30-60 seconds, repeating won’t improve comprehension, you need to “wait”
  •  Use If/Then and First/Then statements
    •  Example: First complete your math then it’s recess
  •  Autism is a reason, never an excuse
    •  Look for the function of a behavior and go from there!
  •  LESS IS MORE when it comes to verbal
    •  Even if a student is very verbal, talking too much creates anxiety and makes thing more difficult
  •  Stay Positive



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