This week for my individualized learning project I decided to focus differentiated instruction around Autism. I chose Autism because as a future Special Education teacher, I most definitely will need to be educated on this disorder and different learning techniques that go along with it! Of course, no child will learn the same and will have the same severity of any disorder, but I feel it is crucial for any teacher to be as prepared as they can so they can start write away learning about their students and figuring out what is going to be best for them educationally.
Autism Speaks gave me a ton of great information on educating students with Autism and tips and tricks that have worked for others in the past. Educating students with Autism can be intensive, while spending many hours a week working on students behavioral, developmental, social, and or academic needs. According too Educating Students With Autism, a few skills that should be emphasized are:
- Target Skills: Skills should be broken down into small steps and taught by using prompts
- Communication Skills/Verbal Behavior
- Social Skills
Before you start focusing on these skills though, I learned that you should always start by setting appropriate academic and social goals, and work on them daily at an appropriate pace. Another very important aspect of any teaching is focusing on positive reinforcement. Motivation and praise for good behavior is critical to students motivation and attention! Something that I have learned while reading teacher blogs and other education articles written by teachers is that even if you are having the worst day of your life, it is so very important that you put on a brave and positive face for your students in your classroom. I am a firm believer that your mood as a teacher is contagious to your students!
Another interesting resource that I found while I was researching Autism and ways to become a better Special Education teacher was Assistive Technology. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this in the first place, I am literally learning about how to become a better learner using technology in a couple of my classes that I am taking for college this semester! I found that many parents and teachers of students with Autism use iPads and other tablets because of all of the wonderful education apps that are available. Using an individual tablet allows the student to put their focus and attention on one single thing and drown out the confusion around them if they start to feel overwhelmed. There are also a ton of different online resources and games for any student learning at any level of academics. I am very excited for the future too see what sort of new technology we will come up with for education!
The last thing I am going to talk about on this blog will be how important using a team approach is to any child’s education. Parents, teachers, and even peers should all be involved in helping make every student feel accepted, while giving them the best opportunities possible academically. Yes, one person can make a huge difference in a student’s life, but if the people around them come together, ideas could turn into an even more amazing outcome. The more people communicate and come together, the less time will be wasted, and more time could be spent on learning that will be most beneficial to the student! I am so excited about continuing to broaden my learning spectrum, and absorbing all of the information I can before becoming a teacher.