April is National Autism Awareness Month. To highlight the importance of this month, we’ve compiled some tips and strategies from our leading expert in autism spectrum education.
According to Barbara Boroson, a nationally-recognized professional development provider with 25 years of experience in autism spectrum education, the mother of a teenage son with ASD and the author of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Inclusive Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students with ASD, it is especially important for teachers to believe in the potential of their students on the spectrum and to believe in their own potential to help their students.
Barbara has shared her insights across a number of media outlets and on social media. Here is a recap of highlights and important tips for parents and educators of kids on the spectrum:
In case you missed it, Barbara participated in a Facebook live hosted on the Scholastic Teachers Facebook page and offered educators tips and strategies for teaching students in inclusive classrooms, such as:
- Collaborate with parents to make sure everyone is on the same page to bring all of the pieces together and to help the whole child
- Lead with positivity and call out your students’ strengths whenever you can
- Present information in context and in an organized fashion to help students process and sort what they are learning. Use timelines or Venn diagrams to help students know where to file information in their minds
- Consider who students are sitting next to and try to make sure they are sitting by other students of a generous spirit who are willing to help
- Fill your classroom library with diverse books to help all of your students better understand one another
Barbara was also interviewed on Mom Talk Radio offering a dual perspective on autism for parents as both an autism spectrum education specialist and the parent of a child on the spectrum. In this interview, Barbara touches on how:
- Relationships between parents and teachers are so important. A collaborative relationship between home and school is essential for the success of every student. Share your wisdom with one another. Try facilitating a meeting with all relevant family members, faculty and staff at the child’s school to exchange your knowledge of the student. The more the school knows and the more parents know the better.
- The school should stretch kids out of their comfort zone but not stress them. With the right support, that is where learning and growth happens.
- One of every 68 kids today is being diagnosed with ASD. If you are the parent of a child on the spectrum, seek out a support network in your school district or your community. You can also find support communities on social media and you can reach out to Barbara at barbaraboroson.com for guidance.
In a recent article titled Inclusive Education: Lessons from History that was featured in ASCD’s Educational Leadership, Barbara writes about how education has evolved from exclusion to inclusion, from judgment to acceptance and from disability to difference. You can check it out online here.
You can find more resources for teaching students on the spectrum here.