This page is dedicated to all things informational regarding autism. Facts, stories, videos… Helpful to read or listen to. I will add to this page as I run across items I find that resonate…
If you are just starting to learn about autism, here are some basics to keep in mind.
(My behavior specialist friend, and one of Jasan’s teachers, wrote out these guidelines for 10 Steps to a Successful Classroom. She shared them with me and I felt it would be appropriate to post them here!)
- Use concrete language
Even students with good language skills have difficulty with language processing. Keeping language concrete and to the point will assist with comprehension.
- Be careful with metaphors, irony, sarcasm, etc.
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have a very literal understanding of language. There are many misunderstood expressions such as ‘toast to the bride’, ‘piece of cake’ ‘in a pickle’ are the people are very confused by teasing and sarcasm.
- Use Visual Supports for communication whenever possible
Visual strategies support students with Autism in processing information and assist in comprehension. Visual strategies include (tailored to the child’s level of skills) photographs, written instructions, PECS, visual schedules, First/Then boards, and highlighting text to emphasize meaning or what is expected from the student.
- Allow extra processing time
Students with Autism often take longer than other students to process verbal instructions. Allow extra time before you repeat the instruction. Repeating an instruction too soon can interrupt the processing of the person’s response.
- Don’t demand eye contact
Some people with Autism cannot process visual and auditory input simultaneously. They can look at you OR they can understand what you are saying. The fact that a student is not looking at you does not mean that they are not listening or attending.
- Be rewarding
We are all more likely to work well in an environment where we can succeed and where our efforts are appreciated. Students with Autism are no different. The more opportunities the person with Autism has for success in the work they are given, the more likely they are to find the classroom a rewarding place. Also, if we show our pleasure through rewarding the person in ways which are meaningful for them, the more likely they are to strive to succeed.
- Keep your eye on the ‘big picture’
Do not make everything an important issue. It may be much more effective to ignore the minor problematic issues where to do otherwise will result in head on clashes. Alternatively, redirect or compromise where possible.
- Use a team approach
Parents and school staff are all experts in their own areas and they all want what is best for the child. Keep communication open and positive between the home and school. Achieving success is much easier under these conditions.
- Don’t take it personally
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders have a deficit in social understanding and at times they may appear to be rude or self-centered. This does not spring from a desire to cause difficulties, but simply from a lack of social understanding. Students with Autism will often need to be taught explicitly what other students simply know from being in social situations.
- Be aware the sensory environment
People with Autism Spectrum Disorders often have difficulty with the sensory environment e.g., noise, busy visual environments, distractions, etc. Be aware of environments which may cause distress or lack of attention and take action. For example, if a student finds it difficult to complete written work because he is seated next to a window where there is outside activity, change his seating. Telling him to pay attention will not work. If a work experience placement in a noisy workshop is causing agitation, chose work experience in a place which does not have noise machinery etc. In other words, be aware of the impact of the sensory environment on the person’s behavior and make the necessary adjustments.
I read this blog post by an extremely talented writer a few months back. It blew my mind. I cried. It made me feel joy in my heart about my son. It helped form the attitude I have now.
It’s a must read. Thank you Julia Bascom, for sharing your thoughts and talent for writing with all of us.
I love this excerpt from Temple Grandin’s book, “The Autistic Brain.”
But what if your senses don’t work normally? I don’t mean your eyeballs or eustachian tubes, the receptors on your tongue or in your nose or at the tips of your fingers. I mean your brain. What if you are receiving the same sensory information as everyone else, but your brain is interpreting it differently? Then your experience of the world around you will be radically different from everyone else’s, maybe even painfully so. In that case, you would be literally be living in an alternate reality – an alternate sensory reality.
Think about that. Really think about that. When I first read this in her book, I instantly felt the need to share it. So many people out there are clueless about the topic of sensory processing disorder. The child that is having tantrum in a store (that you may find to be annoying) might be having this kind of experience. I think this teaches us all to have GRACE. You may not understand why people do certain things or react a certain way. It may not make sense to you, but THAT’S OK. It doesn’t have to. They key is to lose the judgement about others. Be accepting of all people… Don’t assume you know what they are going through.
You just might not.
This video reminds me so much of Jasan and how he is wired. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS STORY.
Please take a few minutes to watch…
Chimes for Autism: Tyler’s Story
I read this and found it to be quite interesting. I think what this author is saying has quite a bit of merit, even though MY viewpoint as a parent of an autistic is that I am not STUCK with him, as the blog post states. I choose to celebrate him. I love him just the way he is and he will KNOW THAT.
If you are also a parent of an autistic child, give this a quick read.
Here is a short video about Sensory Processing. Take a look…
This wonderful young woman with Autism has it figured out!
Love what she says.
BRILLIANT MINDS. That’s what our children have.
Another wonderful example…
Temple Grandin gives a TED talk. A must listen…