What are three routine teaching strategies to help young children with Autistic Disorder and why would this strategies be beneficial?
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The national Institute of Health (NIH) defines Autistic Spectrum Disorder as
a range of complex neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
The classroom is the behavioral environment in which the student will interact for 8 hours or more per day, and where he or she will be asked to perform specific tasks, and engage in a number of activities for the purpose of learning and monitoring. The restricted, repetitive, and stereotypical nature of autistic interactivity requires that the classroom environment as well as the activities are:
- noise controlled
The structure consists on routines. A structured routine as soon as the child enters the room will prove successful to keep control of the child throughout the day. Examples include the actual daily entrance entrance-- a step by step (restricted to 4 tasks) list of what the student will do as he enters the classroom. Ex: hang book-back, take a sit, take out reading/picture book, wait for directions.
1) Smartboards are great because they provide templates where the student can interact with his own checklist and gets immediate feedback that motivates the next step quicker. In such templates, the ASD student can select his name off a list, check off the completed task, select the next task to perform and reward himself for the completion.
Teachers who are good with computers develop routines for every major block of the day, ensuring instant interaction with the student of any age level.
2) The predictability comes from routine and from prepared activities that are relevant, meaningful, and purposeful. This entails that the activities will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is an essential strategy given the natural tendency of ASD students to repeat behaviors.
The best strategy is the KUD model (Sternberg, 1996). Know-Understand-Do is the equivalent of Beginning (Instruct), Middle (Engage), and End (Apply) for a differentiated instruction classroom. This strategy stems from Sternberg's Triarchic Theory of Intelligence and the Concept-Based learning paradigm.
The stereotyped nature of Autistic behavior precludes that the child will become reactive, angry, and agitated with loud noise, or even a sudden change in schedule.
3) Therefore, all the activities that take place in an autistic-planned environment must be as non-invasive as possible in terms respecting the boundaries that autistic students create.
Limiting the activities to one on one instruction, Smartboard routines, limited check-listing, self-assessments where the student gets to "rate" herself, and consistent feedback will ultimately avoid voice and noise pollution and unnecessary multistep processes.
Sternberg, Robert J. Successful Intelligence. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 - See more at: http://www.enotes.com/topics/robert-j-sternberg#sthash.0SeQjurX.dpuf
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