Do you have a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Then you know how important it is to support your child’s education. The key to helping your child with autism thrive in his or her special education classes is to stay in contact with your child’s teacher.
Help your autistic child thrive in special education classes
Communicating with the teacher allows you to understand:
- the structure of the class
- shows how you can support skills at home
- makes you aware of reinforcement strategies
- the communication system in place
All ways to help your autistic child thrive in school, as well as at home.
Understand the Class Structure
Knowing things like:
- daytime schedule
- types of visuals
are both beneficial, along with understanding what’s expected of your child in class. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is widely accepted to be the gold standard treatment approach regardless of the severity of an individual’s ASD. Autism Speaks provides a comprehensive outline of ABA here. Talk with your child’s teacher about implementing ABA principles in the classroom.
Support Skills at Home
It’s essential to work with the teacher regarding how you can support school skills at home. Don’t think of home life as a break from structure and consequence, but rather an environment of support and enrichment. Consistency across settings can strengthen the skills your child is learning and will likely increase his or her success. Following instructions, having routines, and completing tasks independently are all school skills that can be practiced naturally at home. Think of your child’s bedtime routine and the tasks and instructions involved. Try to align strategies used at home with those used at school.
Reinforcement Is Crucial
Utilizing reinforcement to shape and increase behavior is one of the core principles of ABA. Talk with your child’s teacher about the reinforcement system in place in the classroom and how you can carry over school reinforcement into rewards at home. Keep in mind that reinforcement is not stagnant, it should evolve and adapt to your child’s current interests and needs.
Communication deficits are widespread and wide ranging amongst individuals with ASD. Your child’s communication needs will vary depending on age, but encouraging language is imperative. It is important to be in touch with the teacher and/or team of educators so that your child’s communication system is consistent and effective across all settings.
Help your child with autism thrive in his or her education by staying in contact with the teacher to ensure consistency across school and home settings in the areas of skills, reinforcement, and communication. Don’t hesitate to tailor your child’s education. Take an Applied Behavior Analytic approach to treatment to support your child on his or her path to a fulfilling life.
About the Writer: Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2