Autism and Education
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Education / Classroom

Education can be a challenge for those with ASD and their parents. This section includes topics like: back to school tips for parents and teachers; easy strategies for inclusive classrooms; and how to advocate for your child at school.

Enhancing the Life of an Autistic Individual Through Music

A woman who worked with a nonverbal, visually impaired young man with autism asked me an interesting question. She was told the young man had low cognitive ability but when he heard music, he came alive. Sitting in his wheelchair, he would rock back and forth in time to the music and hum along to songs. When the music was no longer playing, he would hum the songs and everyone around him recognized the tunes. She was wondering if there was a way she could explore this connection to music in some way to enhance his life and maybe teach him some things too. As a classical musician and former music teacher, my response was an enthusiastic yes!

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How to Handle Your IEP/504 Meeting

School children with special needs have an IEP or IPP in order to choose appropriate educational goals and assessments. Parents are part of this process and should be working with teachers in creating their child’s IEP.

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Back to School Tips for Parents and Teachers

As the new school year begins, many parents of students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders are filled with trepidation as they know this involves establishing a relationship with their child’s new teacher, as well as the development of routines of communication and interaction. Many parents worry about how much the teacher knows about Autism Spectrum Disorders. They wonder: How much training have they had? Will the teacher be patient? Will he or she like my child? Will everyone get along and agree on goals and expectations?

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Helpful Guidelines When Planning, Making and Using Visual Supports

A visual support can be anything that shows a student what to expect and/or what is expected on the student. The image itself may take any one or a combination of forms: objects, photographs, line drawings, printed words. The benefits of using visual supports with students with ASD are well established and can be obvious to even the casual observer in a classroom, home or community setting.

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Differentiating Instruction

Five Easy Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms

Many general educators believe that they need specialized strategies to teach students with disabilities. While it can be beneficial to know about certain types of disabilities before teaching students with labels, often teachers are effective when they are accepting, look for strengths in their students, provide personal attention when necessary, and allow for differences in the ways students approach tasks and complete classroom work.

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Factors That Impact Learning

Teaching students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be both puzzling and challenging. The big question most teachers ask – how do we create a meaningful curriculum for our students? Before we even think about planning curriculum, we have to look at factors that impact learning.

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Great Resources for Teachers

Educating children with autism can be a daunting task for teachers. Learning styles differ greatly with this population. Many ASD students have an IPP, need an adapted curriculum, and classroom accommodations. Social and communication difficulties can make group work difficult and inclusion a challenge. I was a teacher for 13 years and understand the demands and challenges of educating students on the autism spectrum. I’ve gathered a list of resources that I think would be helpful to teachers.

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A New School: Easing the Transition

Moving to a new school is a big event in a young person’s life. Whether it be attending school for the first time or transferring to another school, the transition can cause fear or anxiety for a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Working together, parents and staff can help make this move a successful one by keeping in mind that a person with ASD needs predictability.

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Advocating for Your Child at School

Advocating for your child at school is not an easy task. To be effective, you have to keep your emotions in check, be concise about what problems your child is experiencing, bring possible solutions to the table, and be prepared to wait for change to take place.

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Introducing Autism to Elementary Students

I went to my daughter Julia’s grade 4 class last week to give a presentation about autism. My main goal was to give the students a basic understanding of what autism is, what the strengths and difficulties are, and how they can be a friend to Julia.

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Reading with Dogs

I recently enrolled my 10 year daughter, Julia, in a program called Story Pals at our local public library. The premise of the program was for struggling readers to practice reading aloud to a dog. Dogs are not judgmental nor do they correct a person when they read aloud so it seemed like the perfect situation to lessen Julia’s anxiety around reading. My biggest concern, though, was Julia’s intense fear of dogs. Would she even come into a room with dogs?

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Supporting Executive Function Disorder in Children with Autism

Many children with autism have deficits in executive functions. This can be likened to an employee who works for a company where the supervisor is unorganized and inefficient. Nothing seems to go right, things get misplaced, and general chaos seems to be the operational rule. It’s a lot like that for children with autism spectrum disorders. The executive in charge of their brain is not effective, and because of this, planning processes suffer.

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