Working With Children With Autism in Schools
Autism spectrum disorders, often referred to as autism, are only just beginning to be better understood by scientists, including what causes them, factors that can contribute to their development and how to treat them. According to the CDC, about 1 in every 68 children are affected by autism spectrum disorders. Although the diagnosis has been around for a while now, adults and children alike still do not quite understand these disorders, sometimes making it difficult for children with autism in schools. The key to making the educational experience for children with autism more fulfilling is by further educating our communities and making sure that schools are well-prepared to assist these children.
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the way people process information. Autism is not actually a single disorder, but rather a wide spectrum of disorders. Characteristics of children with autism can include trouble communicating and socializing, repetitive behaviors, trouble adapting to change, learning disabilities and unusual reactions to certain stimuli (smell, taste and touch). While these are common characteristics, not all people with autism display all of these symptoms. Some people with autism are very high functioning and even excel in certain areas such as music, art and other academic subjects.
Autism in Schools
Most schools have trained staff that specialize in working with special needs students. Many special education teachers will have their own classroom, or they might work specifically with one student. Ensuring that schools have the right resources to help children with autism learn and feel comfortable in the school environment is essential to their success. Sensitivity training is one way to make sure that a school staff has a good understanding of the disorder and how best to work with these students throughout the school year. Sensitivity training can also be used with other students, ensuring that they also understand how to treat their classmates who may have autism. Before any sensitivity training takes place, however, the school should contact the parents of students with autism to make sure they are OK with disclosing their child’s condition to other teachers and classmates.
Often times it is hard to distinguish a child with autism from a child who does not, but this doesn’t mean that their condition should be ignored. The better educated our schools and communities are on how to act around and work with children with autism, the better their educational experience will be. Get more here: deronschool.org