A Guide for Early Learning Providers:
Teaching Children with Autism
Students in a classroom have different backgrounds, interests and needs. Teaching and supporting children with autism in your classroom is an example of one of those differences.
Children with autism have strengths in processing information visually and thinking spatially. Using visual supports is one way to cater to your student’s strengths. Visual supports are cues that communicate visually and can come in the form of pictures, gestures and text.
Here are a few ways to incorporate visual support in your classroom.
Mark where to sit or stand
Place markers on the floor to show where to stand when lining up, or identify seats at a table. These visual cues could be done by using tape or cartoon images with names to direct children.
Illustrate the class schedule
Use picture-based illustrations to display the daily schedule. Providing a picture for each activity and lining them up in a vertical manner makes it easier for children with autism to know what’s happening during the day.
Provide an appropriate physical environment
Children who are hypersensitive or hypersensitive can go into sensory overload. Use calming textures and mild natural scents in the classroom, and keep noise level in mind. If possible, have a quiet place for children with autism to go if the noise level in the classroom becomes too loud.
Resources for Educators and Families
The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is great for individuals on the spectrum and their families. While they are a research-based organization in Bloomington, their work helps all Hoosier families through early detection and diagnosis programs and by connecting families to resources. Additionally, their website has a long list of high-quality early childhood and school-age programs that utilize evidence-based practices, family support and other activities for improving quality of life.
Autism Evansville supports families in Southwestern Indiana by cultivating relationships, promoting acceptance and inclusion and above all providing meaningful experiences.
About Special Kids is a parent-to-parent organization that works throughout the state of Indiana to answer questions and provide support, information, resources and training for families of children with special needs. Most noteworthy, this organization was formed by parents of children with special needs.
This organization works to empower and support individuals on the autism spectrum and every family affected by autism in the state of Indiana with high-quality services. To reach a coordinator in your area call 800-609-8449 or visit their website: http://www.autismsocietyofindiana.org/our-staff/. Also, check the website for other programs they offer to support to families and individuals on the autism spectrum.
The Center provides live and online training, interactive workshops, onsite coaching and consultations, and intensive hands-on training for school personnel, health care providers, families, therapists and other caregivers. The HANDS program is a joint effort between the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center, Clarian Health Partners, and Riley Hospital for Children.
For a complete list of parent support groups in Indiana: