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Autism in the classroom: the need for a teaching team trained in Special Education

15 April 2021

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins to manifest itself around the child's first two years and extends throughout the rest of its life cycle. The areas most affected are the social and communicative interaction capacities and the flexible regulation of their thoughts and behaviours.

In recent years, advances in evaluation and early detection techniques have increased the diagnosis of cases of autism (inborn children) by 0.7%.

The educational and social inclusion of the autistic student in the different formative stages requires teacher-specific knowledge in Special Education that will allow them to meet the child's special needs, develop enriching activities, and work in harmony with the expert team. Do you want to enhance the learning of your autistic students? We address autism in the classroom, how to treat it, and possible activities.

A student with ASD will not seek to relate to his peers; And if you do, your way of interacting may be inappropriate. Both situations could lead to isolation and harassment in the classroom of said student.

To correctly address autism in the classroom and achieve a good inclusion of the student with ASD in class dynamics, the teacher must respect, value and understand the needs of said students; that he is involved in the work of the expert team and is flexible in his pedagogical work, with the sole purpose of covering all the needs of the student.

Among the activities and strategies that can be carried out in favour of the good adaptation of the autistic student, it is worth highlighting:

  • Structuring the environment so that it is predictable on the part of the student and feels emotionally safe. The creation of routines and the design of a plan with pictograms, photos or drawings, will help the autistic child anticipate and understand the sequence of actions that a task requires and the identification of one's own emotions those of peers.
  • Following the previous methodology, visual aids (comics, comics and videos) are vital to improving the student's understanding of social situations and promoting the imitation of appropriate behaviours.
  • The student worksheets should also include the sequence of tasks, step by step, with clarity and supporting drawings.
  • Finally, it is advisable to create a "circle of friends" around the student with ASD: a group of peers who interact and guide them in the most open environments (the playground, the school cafeteria or during class changes).

Without a doubt, autism in the ordinary classroom poses a challenge for the teacher; But we must not forget that the presence of the autistic child also contributes to the social, personal and emotional enrichment of the rest of the members of the educational community. Knowing how to treat this disorder and incorporate activities that allow the educational and social inclusion of the autistic student require specific training and skills to respond effectively to the demands posed by students with special educational needs.