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?
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.
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.
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 Children, 41(1), 107–138. https://doi.org/10.1353/etc.2018.0004