Teaching Students With Autism: Strategies for Success

Just 20 years ago, we didn't see students with autism in our classrooms. But today, we teach children with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome right alongside their neurotypical peers. Reaching and teaching these students requires a delicate balancing act: understanding how their brains are wired, helping them turn challenges into opportunities, and learning to enjoy the rich perspective they bring to the classroom.

If you've ever had a student who blurted out in class, screamed when someone patted his or her shoulder, or rocked back and forth in the chair, you'll appreciate the lessons ahead. We'll discover the neurobiology behind these disorders and the way it affects students' behavior, learning, and thinking. Most important, you'll learn creative, easy, low-budget strategies to help these kids succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Develop the skills to counter these students' social awkwardness, sensory sensitivities, meltdowns, problems with homework completion, language reciprocity issues, and violent fixations. Even if you don't have a student with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome in your class this year, these strategies will equip you to deal with any student who exhibits these characteristics on a regular basis.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:


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All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week One
Wednesday - Lesson 01
You may have already taught students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome, but have you taken the time to get to know them? Today we'll discover how their brains are wired differently, the ways they behave, and smart strategies to make the most of the opportunity to teach these kids.
Friday - Lesson 02
Now that we've met our students, in this lesson we'll develop an understanding of the characteristics they often display in our classrooms. From trouble handling change to difficulty with social interaction, language processing, and distractions, we'll discover how these characteristics shape students' worldview and ability to perform in academic settings.
Week Two
Wednesday - Lesson 03
Did you know that most students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome are visual thinkers? Today we'll spend some time determining how these students process information so we can tailor our lesson plans to their preferred learning and thinking styles.
Friday - Lesson 04
In this lesson, you'll discover how students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome struggle socially. We'll talk about the extent of the problem, some of the causes, and its very real impact. Then we'll discuss some nonverbal and verbal exercises we can do in class to lessen these students' social anxiety.
Week Three
Wednesday - Lesson 05
Today we'll explore how students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome converse and why it's so incredibly hard for them to keep conversations going. Then we'll talk about a graphic organizer that is very helpful when students need to translate between their thoughts and ours. Finally, we'll cover how to write social stories that help kids understand what's expected of them.
Friday - Lesson 06
In this lesson, we're going to examine why students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome have such delicate sensory sensitivities. Then we'll discuss two strategies for helping them reclaim control over daily experiences that once seemed quite intimidating. Both the strategies we'll discuss are visual ones, and they're wonderfully easy and effective.
Week Four
Wednesday - Lesson 07
Students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome are often "little professors" who have highly specialized interests and fixations. How do we direct these gifts for math or language or science into appropriate academic channels? With visual strategies that help students link their interests to the broader world. You'll learn the strategies today!
Friday - Lesson 08
This may just be your favorite lesson in the course! Every teacher I know is looking for new and exciting strategies to get students to do their homework. Today you'll learn how to engage students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome in their studies and link their interests with meaningful learning.
Week Five
Wednesday - Lesson 09
What if you had an emotional meltdown every single day? Would you be excited to get out of bed and do it all over again? Probably not. Many students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome are prone to meltdowns and tantrums that derail their focus and take up precious classroom time. In this lesson, you'll learn how to turn these charged encounters into more positive learning experiences.
Friday - Lesson 10
No one likes to be teased! Sadly, many students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome are bullied or made fun of on a daily basis. Because this makes them so fearful and frustrated, they often fixate on objects of power or violence—fixations that can have very serious consequences in today's world. Today we'll delve into how to channel these frustrations into more appropriate feelings.
Week Six
Wednesday - Lesson 11
Imagine what it would be like if your mind raced all the time, darting from thought to thought at warp speed. It would be pretty hard to pay attention to anything, wouldn't it? In this lesson, we'll look at ways to help students focus on our lessons and learn a little something in the process. Here's a hint: Visuals help!
Friday - Lesson 12
In our final lesson, we'll talk about smart ways to prepare students for life beyond our four walls. It's never too early to start thinking about ways to encourage students to reach their highest potential in future classes, jobs, and social roles. After all, isn't that why we chose to be teachers in the first place?

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:

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