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.

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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Take the Pencil Out of the Process

As we have learned more about how we learn, both through observation and study, a critically important fact has emerged: many students have difficulty with the physical printing and writing process – difficulty which is significant enough to interfere with their academic performance.

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Using Strengths, Fascinations, & Areas of Expertise in the Classroom

Many individuals with autism have deep interest in one or a variety of topics. Some interests are commonly seen across individuals with autism (e.g., trains, horses, light switches), others seem more unique to an individual person. For instance, Sean Barron, a man with autism once had a deep interest in the number 24. At another point in his life, he became fascinated by dead-end streets (Barron & Barron, 1992)

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Considerations in Teaching More Advanced Students with Autism

In this guide, the three terms used above will be referenced as “AS” or “the spectrum” Many students on the spectrum demonstrate exceptional abilities in a vast array of skills and talents. These can include but are not limited to: exceptional memory, mathematical skills, calendar projections, computers, music, exceptionally early and advanced reading skills (“hyperlexia”), poetry, writing stories and general writing skills, spelling, punctuation and grammar, imitations of people or animals, painting, sculpture and other forms of visual arts, chemistry and physics.

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