Monday, November 7, 2011

Tips for Teachers from Individuals with Autism

In a 2004 article entitled, "Autism, Autobiography, and Adaptations," published in Teaching Exceptional Children, Dr. Paula Kluth shares tips and ideas for making classrooms more friendly for students with autism. Dr. Kluth states that the tips were primarily "inspired by the autobiographical accounts of people with autism and Asperger's syndrome." She states that it is important to consider the perspectives of individuals with autism because they are "the only true autism experts." A brief overview of the strategies she identified is as follows:
  • Keeping in mind that students with autism may be extremely sensitive to light and sound.
  • Providing a "safe space" in the classroom or on the school campus that a student can use to calm down or de-stress when needed.
  • Using literal language, as students with autism may have difficulty understanding figurative language, sarcasm, idioms, etc.
  • Not requiring students to make eye contact.
  • Incorporating a student's interests into the curriculum.
  • Using visual aids and supports.
This article can be found in the March/April 2004 issue of Teaching Exceptional Children. This issue is Volume 36, Number 4. If you have access to this article through your Council for Exceptional Children membership or a university library, I highly recommend reading it!

Here are some of Dr. Paula Kluth's excellent books that explore many of the topics from the article.


You're Going to Love This Kid!


Just Give Him The Whale!: 20 Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise, and Strengths to Support Students with Autism


A Land We Can Share: Teaching Literacy to Students With Autism

View a complete list of books by Dr. Paula Kluth here.

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