Helping Autistic Children in Mainstream Classrooms
As more and more autistic children are joining the mainstream classroom, teachers are often faced with an interesting situation where they not only have to fulfill the classroom’s objectives but also the autistic child’s educational objectives. If you are a teacher who has an autistic child in your classroom, here are some tips to help you management the situation.
The first thing you need to do is to review the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Doing this will give you an idea of the child’s educational goals. Take note of the child’s goals and determine whether the classroom’s learning objectives meet the child’s needs. And depending on the child’s educational goals and your classroom’s learning objectives, you may need to make certain changes to the classroom lessons or to the classroom setting and environment to be able to address the child’s needs, ability level and educational goals.
It is also best that you speak with the special education teacher or aide assigned to the child to discuss about the child’s Individual Education Plan as well as the classroom’s learning objective so that she is aware not just of the child’s educational goals but also of the direction that you wish to take with the child.
To make things easier for all concerned, it is best that you provide the special education teacher or aide a copy of the daily lesson plans and activities so that she can fully assist the child and help guide him to achieve his goals.
Now, despite the fact that there is a special education teacher or aide who focuses her attention on the child, this does not mean that you no longer need to give the child attention. You still need to communicate with the child on a regular basis. You need to develop rapport with him.
More importantly, you and the special education teacher or aide need to develop a routine that will help keep him at ease and comfortable. Keep in mind that any disruption to this set routine will cause some level of stress on the child. Keep the daily routine constant to minimize any untoward incidents with the child.
As a final note, you need to remember that you should not treat the child any differently from the other children in your class. Yes, he may be different but there is no need to emphasize this to everyone or to bring any unwanted attention to this fact.