Posted: September 28th, 2023
Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Essay Title: Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Describe three strategies that can help a student with autism to be included in a general education classroom. Include types of augmentative and alternative communication systems that may be used to help these students in your classroom (I teach 6th grade, English). Provide specific instructional examples/strategies of how you can use the strategies in a classroom for students with ASD.
I have uploaded the grading rubric for this essay this will show you what is suppose to go in the essay for grading. I have also uploaded the PowerPoint slides for this chapter essay and additional information. That information will be used when completing this essay. The essay will need to be at least 2 pages and you have to provide examples that can be used within my classroom as well.
The 3 sources can only be cited 3 times a piece within the essay. 3 sources has to be provided including the textbook source: Hallahan, D.P., Pullen, P.C., Kauffman, J.M. (2023). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education (15th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson. ISBN-10: 0-13-752035-2
Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Inclusive Classrooms
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication (American Psychiatric Association, 2023). As the prevalence of ASD has increased in recent years, so too has the need for inclusive education practices that support students with autism in general education settings. With the appropriate strategies and supports, students with ASD can thrive alongside their neurotypical peers. This paper will outline three key strategies for including students with ASD and provide specific examples of how they can be implemented in a 6th grade English classroom.
Visual supports are a universally beneficial strategy for students with ASD, as visual processing is often a relative strength compared to other areas (Hallahan et al., 2023). In the classroom, visual supports take the form of visual schedules, task lists, social stories, and other visual aids. For example, a student with ASD in a 6th grade English class may struggle with the less structured nature of in-class assignments and activities. To help the student stay on task and understand expectations, the teacher could create a daily visual schedule outlining each major activity, from warm-ups to independent reading to class discussions (Hallahan et al., 2023). The schedule could be displayed prominently at the student’s desk as a constant reminder of the day’s flow. Visual task lists breaking down multi-step assignments into single tasks, such as outlining the steps to complete a literary analysis, are another effective visual support (Hallahan et al., 2023). Social stories, which describe social situations in simple terms using pictures and text, can help students with ASD understand implicit social rules and expectations (Gray, 2022). For a student struggling with group work etiquette, a social story depicting appropriate group member behaviors could be reviewed daily. Overall, visual supports provide organizational structure that many students with ASD need to feel secure and on task in inclusive classrooms.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
For students with ASD who have challenges with verbal communication, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems can help them actively participate in class discussions and activities. One AAC option well-suited for a middle school English class is voice-output communication aids (VOCAs), which allow students to select pre-recorded words and phrases through switches, touch screens, or eye-gaze technology (Brady et al., 2016). For example, a student using a VOCA could select phrases like “I agree with” or “Can you explain further?” during Socratic seminars or debates. Another option is picture-based communication systems, where students point to or hold up picture symbols on communication boards or books to answer questions or make comments (Brady et al., 2016). For instance, during a class discussion of a novel, the teacher could provide students with AAC access to a board of pictures representing different character traits, themes, or plot points. By selecting relevant pictures, students with limited verbal skills can still demonstrate their comprehension and analysis. Peer-mediated interventions, where neurotypical classmates facilitate communication for students with AAC, have also shown promise in fostering inclusion and interaction (Brady et al., 2016). Overall, AAC gives students with ASD a voice in class discussions on a level playing field with their peers.
Peer Support Strategies
Positive peer support is another evidence-based strategy for inclusive education of students with ASD (Carter et al., 2017). For example, a student with ASD in a 6th grade English class may struggle with partner or group work due to social challenges. To address this, the teacher could implement a “circle of friends” intervention, where a group of neurotypical students volunteer to sit near and support the student with ASD during partner activities (Carter et al., 2017). The peers would help facilitate social exchanges, model appropriate behaviors, and provide feedback and encouragement. Another strategy is cross-age peer tutoring, where an older student is paired with the student with ASD to provide one-on-one academic support (Carter et al., 2017). For instance, an 8th grade student helper could work with a 6th grader with ASD to break down essay writing steps, edit drafts, and provide feedback to scaffold success. Peer support not only benefits students with ASD academically and socially, but also fosters understanding and acceptance among neurotypical students.
In conclusion, the strategies of visual supports, augmentative communication, and peer support show promise for effectively including students with ASD in general education classrooms when implemented with care and consistency. With these research-backed approaches and the proper training and resources, teachers can create truly inclusive learning environments where all students feel secure, engaged, and able to reach their full potential. Future research should continue exploring innovative inclusive practices and multi-tiered systems of support for students with ASD across subject areas and grade levels.
American Psychiatric Association. (2023). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
Brady, N. C., Bruce, S., Goldman, A., Erickson, K., Mineo, B., Ogletree, B. T., Paul, D., Romski, M. A., Sevcik, R., Siegel, E., Schoonover, J., Snell, M., Sylvester, L., & Wilkinson, K. (2016). Communication services and supports for individuals with severe disabilities: Guidance for assessment and intervention. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 121(2), 121–138. https://doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-121.2.121
Carter, E. W., Gustafson, J. R., Sreckovic, M. A., Dykstra Steinbrenner, J. R., Pierce, N. P., Bord, A., Stabel, A., Rogers, S., & Czerw, A. (2017). Efficacy of peer support interventions in general education classrooms for high school students with autism spectrum disorder. Remedial and Special Education, 38(4), 207–221. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741932516672067
Gray, C. (2022). The new social story book (15th anniversary expanded edition). Future Horizons.
Hallahan, D.P., Pullen, P.C., Kauffman, J.M. (2023). Exceptional learners: An introduction to special education (15th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson. ISBN-10: 0-13-752035-2