How do I accommodate a child with autism? (R2P Post 2)

The Observation

In my field placement, there lies the cutest little boy. He smiles, laughs, and does charming things like open the door for adults and says thank you all the time. On my very first day, I was told that this boy was just diagnosed with Autism. Automatically, I saw this as a great learning experience. Well, on my second day in the field, he has a huge fit; he was screaming on the floor and throwing his whole body into a fit.

My cooperative teachers got up, looked at me and said, “Come watch.”

How did my co-op handle the meltdown?

I followed my co-op over to the boy. I was eager to learn. She sat down in front of him and said, “I understand that you are upset, I am sorry that you are upset, but you still have to follow my rules just like everyone else,”.  Then, she pulled out a ring that had a bunch of cards on them with pictures and text. Each card has a different activity that the boy could do. Some of the options were, playing with a toy of choice, listening to a song, watching a video, and drawing a picture. When my co-op finally got to the option to draw a picture, he perked up and nodded his head excitedly.

This made me think to myself… What are the best ways I can support a child with autism? 

Collaborative Teams

Building a collaborative school-level team and student-focused team is crucial. By creating a school-level team you are able to create a model of interventions that the school can use to provide consistency across the school, but to also provide the best care to all children with autism. When a school notices that a specific child with autism needs more support the school team can create a student-focused team to support the individual. Overall, there is just more support for the individuals with autism.

Coaching

Another important aspect is that not all general education teachers may have the background or the knowledge on how to best support a child with Autism. I know for myself, before watching my co-op support the boy in my classroom, I would not have known how to handle that situation. So, effective coaching provided by the school on how to implement goals, interventions, and plans can help with making teachers more comfortable. 

Selection of Intervention Model

Selecting the strategies that will work for you and your school is important. Plus, it is important to select a model in order to provide consistency. In order to select an intervention model, you need to consider what goals you want to have for the student and then select one or more intervention models to meet those goals. 

Overall, I have learned that it just takes research, knowledge of the student, and careful planning to give a student with Autism the proper support.

 

References:

Anderson, C. M. 1. canderson@mayinstitute. or., Smith, T., & Iovannone, R. (2018). Building Capacity to Support Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Modular Approach to Intervention. Education & Treatment of Children41(1), 107–138. https://doi.org/10.1353/etc.2018.0004

 

 

 

My Educational Gurus

Who inspires you? We all have someone who inspires us, pushes us, and helps to shape our paths. Many of us chose to study education because of the many positive and negative experiences that we may have had in school. Whether it be a teacher who pushed you in ways you had not been pushed before or a teacher who made you feel so terrified to go to school, someone motivated you. Those experiences motivated me to go into education, but it is the philosophers and professors that truly shaped my path.

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow” – John Dewey

This quote from John Dewey has motivated me through much of my studies in becoming a teacher. He has shocked me and surprised me in his impact on education. From strong teacher to student relationships to project-based learning, his beliefs touch it all.

Student-Teacher Relationships

In my experiences in the field, when a student respects the teacher or likes the teacher they are more likely to show interest in the classroom. For example, in a previous classroom, I had a student who had behavioral issues and because of his respect for my cooperating teacher, she was the only teacher with the ability to bring out small moments of sheer interest in whatever the class was doing at the time.

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

John Dewey believed in an education where children learn by doing, and they learn how to think critically to prepare them for real-life situations, trades, and democracy. Project-based learning encourages this belief. Most of the classrooms we sat in for a majority of our education were spent with lectures, worksheets, and very little hands-on or discussion-based activities. It is said that, after 24 hours, on average students only remember 5% of what was lectured (Himmele, 2017, p. 7). More discussion, hands-on structured classes are more effective in learning.

Motivation

Motivation is another aspect of teaching that has intrigued me. How can I motivate my students the best? Dr. Hanicke from the foundation block motivated me to look at the psychology of education more. Dr. Hanicke taught me the critical role that motivation plays on a child’s learning. According to Trif and Petrovan (2011), motivating students is a key component of classroom management and in order to acquire efficiency in all learning activity teachers have to keep motivation in mind (p. 292). I want my students to want to learn, which has motivated me and inspired me to constantly do my best in all aspects.

STEM

My professors in my STEM classes are the ones who push me and share new insights with me every week. I love STEM, but I fear it because it challenges me. I am very passionate about the importance of STEM integration in education, but STEM can be very scary. Dr. Warner once said in class that fear is the driving factor in decision making, which is why many teachers do not go out of their comfort zone. STEM can be scary and so can school administrators. With that being said, I am thankful I have professors who push me to try new things for the sake of my future students.

My Classroom

So, what does this all mean? Role models can help us become better teachers. They will help us learn what kind of teachers we want to be. My classroom will be driven by John Dewey, Rita Pierson, Dr. Primus, Dr. Hanicke, and many more. We need to have a wide array of educational viewpoints, philosophies, pedagogies, and teaching methods thrown at us so that we can be inspired and then inspire our students as well. Inspiration drives us and motivates us.

Check out the video that has motivated me the most!

Resources

Himmele Pérsida, & Himmele, W. (2017). Total participation techniques: making every student an active learner. Alexandria, VA, USA: ASCD.

Trif, L., & Petrovan, R. Ş. (2011). Student Motivation, Component of Classroom Management. Journal Plus Education / Educatia Plus7(2), 292–298.