Back to School

It’s that time of year again… teachers are back in the classroom; parents are getting their children ready for the school routine; and special education staff are providing support to parents and teachers alike.

As you start the new school year take a few minutes to watch and appreciate the unique worldview of the children you work with who have autism spectrum developmental differences. Get curious about the areas of passion and interest that delight and motivate the individuals on the spectrum that are part of your daily life. Then find a way to link that passion with the skills you are trying to help that child acquire. More often than not, you’ll find that the child is seeking out visual patterns and routines.

Today I helped a teacher of a kindergarten boy do just that. She was feeling overwhelmed by the task of trying to get him to follow her agenda—he wanted to spend the day using the computer and specifically using programs that taught letters and words. His passion is the alphabet. We put together a visual schedule for him that allows him to follow a trail of alphabet letters throughout the day—with each letter linked to a classroom activity. Pairing his passion with a visual schedule gave him the organizational tool he needed to help him successfully shift from his agenda to the agenda of the teacher.

Visit this website to see some visual teaching supports developed by teachers for children on the spectrum:

Have a great start to the year, and check back here next week for more musings and suggestions.