Research on Schools and Children with Autism SPectrum Disorder

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It is the responsibility of a school to find ways to best support the learning and growth of children that fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Barnard, Prior and Potter describe autism as a “hidden disability”(2000) that the general public doesn’t have a great understanding or awareness of. Due to the lack of visibility in this disorder, many children that have characteristics or tendencies of autism can sometimes fall through the cracks. It is important that schools help to include and integrate children with autism and develop their teacher’s knowledge and teaching so they can assist in these students learning. It is also important to understand what kind of policies and programs schools have in place to help aid and support children with autism. And lastly, a school needs to be aware and proactive in how they can help to decrease the stigma that surrounds children that full under the spectrum.

A concern for families with children that have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder is how these students will be included and integrated into schools and how teachers will assist in their learning. Learners within the spectrum are often lacking in their social interaction and communication skills, and can sometimes display repetitive and unusual behaviours (AASE, 2005). Because of these characteristics, the student uses specific senses to gather information and learn. Teachers should endeavour to discover how these children learn and focus on catering to the senses they use; often visual cues and teaching aids are effective ways of getting information across to these students. Sometimes children with autism can have overactive senses, it is important as a teacher to consider how to minimise the amount of stimuli to make learni...

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...ely of what the student’s learning difficulties were and how we could assist him and help minimise things that would unsettle him. I remember that the boy would become quite agitated when he heard loud clapping, so his classmates were always mindful of that. The entire school community really supported the boy and treated him with such respect and dignity. Being in such an encouraging environment really nurtured the student’s abilities and I believe that without such an understanding and supportive network he wouldn’t be as well adjusted and high functioning as he is today. Reducing the stigma behind autism doesn’t just improve the public’s perception but I believe it also benefits the children that have autism. Without the stigma I think that parents of children within the spectrum would be more willing to let them explore and be more adventurous in their learning.
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