Education programming for children birth thru six with Autism Spectrum includes the need for planned peer interaction and focus on the child developmental skill areas of self-help, communication, physical ability, academics and communication. Once a child transitions to an elementary education program there remains the need to maintain focus on aspects of the early childhood programming while expanding the curriculum. Effective elementary programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will include:
- Inclusion in the general education curriculum.
- Assessment of the student’s learning style, skills and curriculum being taught and how it is being taught relative to the student’s communication skills, behavior and social skills.
- Structured teaching with visual schedules, work systems, and visual organization to support independent learning.
- A supportive teaching environment that includes visual supports and trained staff and is void of unnecessary auditory and visual distractions.
- Opportunities for skill generalization.
- Functional behavior assessments as needed.
- Behavior plans that are based on functional behavior assessments.
- Family involvement, highly trained and effective teams, collaboration and parent education.
- Transition planning for moving the student from an elementary to a secondary school program.
- Evidence based instructional strategies.
- Matching teaching strategy to student strength, weakness, learning challenges, and learning style to ensure student motivation to learn and learning rate while stabilizing behavior.
- Acknowledgement of the student’s cognitive challenges for student’s with ASD: attention, abstract thinking, information organization, information processing/comprehension, and concept formation
- Acknowledgement of the student’s cognitive strengths, memory, visual processing and intense focus.