My topic was Education for Autistic Young People. I chose this topic because I have two cousins that have Autism and I was curious about how school worked for any autistic kid. I also learned some stuff about Autism when we read a piece of Temple Grandin’s book.The question I was researching was, what educational support is available for Autistic young people? Schools provide and are trying to provide programs that can support Autistic young people with their education to give them that little push into success.
Autistic students receive a lot of support in their classes from specialized people and classes. An example I found said, “Students receive individualized services(e.g., educational coach, tutor, technology, natural supports) in college courses, certificate programs, and/or degree programs, for audit or credit.”(Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities). Audit is an educational term for the completion of a course of study for which no assessment of the performance of the student is made nor graded. This evidence shows who is there to support them. This also shows what programs are available to help them in things they struggle with in school or things they need a little more support in. There’s many different ways in which schools have resources to provide to Autistic kids. Another example is, “One way to do this is to ask for physical whole-class responses to certain prompts. For instance…the teachers might say. ‘Stand up if you think you can name a fraction that equals one half.’ This strategy not only gives all learners a chance to give an answer, but it allows for some teacher-sanctioned movements, something often welcomed by students with Autism.”(Dr. Kluth). This evidence shows that this helps the students calm down throughout their classes and to have a little bit of movement instead of just sitting down for all the school hours. Not moving a lot for a lot of hours in a row can make the students impatient so this is a way to give them a little break from sitting down. Although they like moving around, transitions are usually a struggle for them. Another example I found states, “Some are uncomfortable changing from environment to environment, while others have problems moving from activity to activity. Individuals with autism report that changes…cause stress and feelings of disorientation. Teachers can minimize the discomfort students may feel when transitioning by; giving reminders to the class before any transition and use a visual timer.”(Dr. Kluth). This quote states that transitions put pressure on the students because they possibly think they won’t transition on time or they just feel rushed. Putting a visual timer can help them handle their time and know how much time they have to transition. This will help calm them down and even help them be more organized. In conclusion, there’s a lot of ways that teachers or other people in the classes are able to support the students to make the environment easier for them.
Likewise, they also receive a lot of visual support to help make their visual techniques better. Visual communication is a big part of their communication system. Therefore, schools try to support them by having specific lessons or programs to support them on their vision. An example I found states. “Options for visual supports include icons, photographs, picture schedules, drawings, graphic organizers, and social stories. Next, teachers must decide which instructional format will guide and teach the student with autism most effectively.”(Harris). This quote shows how they try to show them a variety of pictures to find out which format will help them the most. Whichever they are most interested in will help create a new visual lesson for them so that they can practice their visual skills. This way their communication and education could improve. By improving this main skill many other difficulties could improve. Another example I found during my research states, “The use of visual schedules can be used to increase independence and reduce the need for continuous teacher intervention.”(Harris). Having schedules to show the student what’s next on their agenda can help them have more time to work alone instead of having to meet up with the teacher all the time. This supports their visual skills and independence skills. Letting them have more alone time to fix their problems and to transition into what’s next can let them experience a feeling of independence, having people around them all the time might ba tiring at times so having this alone time can really distress them. Some people might ask why visual support? They might not think it’s a big deal or that this type of support isn’t given in school. Getting visual support helps the students; communicate, it gets the students attention, and it helps students express him/herself (Harris). This quote shows in what ways getting this support is essential to their educational life an everyday life. This is a big difficulty for many Autistic and Asperger’s kids. Counselors, teachers, or maybe even family members can support an autistic child with visual difficulties. Having ASD, which is a complex brain disorder of brain development, can be the cause of some of these difficulties. In conclusion, the support for these visual difficulties students may have are available in many schools. This is essential for their communication abilities. Many of these programs are essential to help with their learning techniques.
In addition, schools have many programs to help Autistic children with their learning. The law enforces these programs for these students. Programs to help kids with Autism, Asperger, or any other disabilities. An example I found during my research states,” The act also requires that school districts draw up an individualized educational program(IEP) for every child in special education.”(Winerman). IEP, the Individualized Education Program, is a document developed for each public school child who needs special education. The quote shows how schools are required to have these programs so that these kids have a safe and productive environment to learn in. I didn’t know schools were REQUIRED to have this program therefore when I found out I was surprised. Another example I found during my research states, “The IDEA guarantees all schools-age children with disabilities(including autism) a ‘free and appropriate public education’ and a 1991 addendum to the act extended that guarantee to pre-school children as well.”(Winerman). IDEA, Individualized with Disabilities Education Art, is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. This quote shows an example of a program that is required at schools that is available for pre-school kids. Students usually have trouble socializing or communicating so this is a good program that can have exercises and lessons to support them with their communication skills. Another program that helps with this is PECS, The PIcture Exchange Communication System, which allows children with autism who have little or no communication abilities a means of communicating non-verbally. The last example I found in my research states, “Several community colleges are developing programs to meet the needs of young adults with developmental disabilities. For some students this may include life skills such as money management, problem solving, and housekeeping.” This quote shows how there’s even support for young adults growing into living alone and doing things 100% on their own. Schools want to make sure these young adults are prepared for the world and what comes with being an adult. Schools have changed a lot from the past. Now there’s so much support available for Autistic kids and any other kid with a disability, so that they can get them to a bright and successful future just like anyone else.
In conclusion, schools provide or are trying to provide programs that can support Autistic young people with their education. I have learned so much thanks to this research. Ever since I met my cousins with Autism I was always curious about how they dealt with it. Honestly I used to think of them as being totally different humans but now that I have done research I have a deeper understanding about Autism. They are no different to us, we all have to deal with difficulties throughout our life. I now look at them with a positive perspective. I even admire them because of how hard they work with all they have to go through in school from bullying, to panicking over transitions. I am very glad they have all these resources at school to help make their learning environment a little easier.
Dr. Kluth, Paula. Supporting Students with Autism. Paula Kluth, 2017, http://www.paulakluth.com/readings/autism/article-autism-tenideas/ . Accessed 2 March 2017.
Harris, Alyson. Visual Supports for Students with Autism. John Hopkins School of Education, 2016, http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/specialedjournal/Harris. Accessed 2 March 2017.
Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities. Autism Speaks, 2017, https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/transition-tool-kit/post-secondary-educational-opportunities. Accessed March 6 2017.
Winerman, Lea. Effective Education for Autism. American Psychology Association, http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec04/autism.aspx?scrlybrkr. Accessed March 6 2017.