General education teachers are increasingly faced with the need to understand the subtle differences that make up high-functioning autism spectrum differences in the students they teach. Neuro-typical peers also benefit from an increased understanding of and sensitivity to the differences seen in their classmates who have developmental differences on the autism spectrum.
I recommend sharing the DVD series by Coulter Video (www.coultervideo.com) with teachers as part of their staff development training. The two DVDs I use in training teachers cover the range from teachers in grades 3-6 to teachers of middle and high school students.
The DVD “Intricate Minds II” is a 16 minute DVD featuring a well spoken and delightful young man with Asperger’s Syndrome as the guide. Several children on the spectrum talk about their worldview and some practical advice is shared. The DVD is suitable for training teachers and educational staff and can be used by teachers to show to their students as well. Because it is intended for teachers of students in the upper elementary grades, teachers need to sensitive in showing the film to their students to protect the privacy of students with autism spectrum disorders who may not yet be aware of their diagnosis. The film is a great way to address differences without specifically focusing on a particular student in a class and can be used as part of a series of sensitivity activities that focus of teaching respect for individual differences.
The DVD “Intricate Minds” is a 14 minute DVD that targets middle and high school students and has the same young man as the narrator. Teachers who have viewed this have responded positively and expressed benefit from seeing a range of adolescents talking about their experiences. Adolescents who have recently become aware of their diagnosis have also found this DVD to be helpful.
To help young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome prepare for the transition to post-secondary work and college, I recommend the Coulter Video DVD “Asperger Syndrome: Transition to College and Work.” It is broken into two sections (one on work issues and the second dedicated to college concerns) and covers many practical steps to guide students as they prepare for these important life transitions.
Next week I will be speaking at a local conference sponsored by two community colleges. In my next post I’ll be sharing some of the content from that talk, entitled “Autism Conversations: Strategies for Working with Post-Secondary Adolescents and Adults.”