Teaching Autism Awareness in the Classroom

World Autism Awareness Day, Wednesday April 2 – The Guardian have collected a range of useful resources to help teachers ensure that all students understand Autism and can help to support those students who are on the autistic spectrum.

The published guide stresses the need for:

“an individualised approach when working with ASD students but includes some “catch-all” strategies such as starting lessons with short, fun and factual activities that provide immediate structure and awarding points for meeting pre-agreed targets. Suggested changes to the classroom environment include: reducing background noise, using natural lighting and avoiding “busy” displays or posters.”

Practical tips in the guide for teachers include those by the Autism Education Trust, the SPELL framework, developed by the National Autistic Society (NAS) assists professionals in understanding and responding to the needs of individuals with ASD. The framework focuses on:

“structure, positive behaviour, empathy, low arousal, and links with home. The aim is to reduce any anxiety a child might be experiencing, allowing them to work more effectively in an environment which makes them feel safe.”

Woodfer’s World is also named which is a resource from Ambitious about Autism. This helps teachers reduce the risk of bullying. The guide helps fellow students understand the differences in the way people think or perceive the world. The aim is to promote inclusion.

“Research has shown that more than 70% of children with autism are taught in mainstream schools and that 40% of those are bullied.”

For more information and ideas, teachers are encouraged to visit the World Autism Awareness Day website

The full article on The Guardian website can be read here