The role of education for a child with Autism is paramount. From early intervention to school age special education, educational services provide the tools and opportunities for academic, social, behavioral and vocational growth. Educating children with Autism comes with its rewards along with challenges. The educational settings may range from self contained to inclusive classrooms, and with each setting unique teaching challenges may present themselves. Finding meaningful and appropriate curriculum support materials, fostering social growth and dealing with challenging behaviors may all be a part of the experience of teaching and supporting a student with autism.
Throughout a child’s education, a team of professionals alongside the family collaborate through the IEP process to ensure appropriate goals are being set and services are being provided to meet the changing needs of the student with Autism, while taking into account the unique strengths each child possesses. In addition to speech and language services and occupational and physical therapies, assistive technology can be an important related service provided to a student with Autism. Advances in assistive technology are exciting. Forging ahead through research findings in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders paired with technology developments, assistive technologies, such as Boardmaker are providing innovative and often invaluable tools for students to meet growth in all educational domains along with at home and in the community.
Individual goals will vary based on age and the specific strengths and needs of the child. The overall goals of educating a student with Autism are the same – to help the child reach his or her potential in all areas – academics, social skills, behavior and overall independence.
Special education are those services provided to all students (ages 3-22) with disabilities. In this section you will find general information about special education law (IDEA), services, student eligibility, and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law which mandates special education services for children (ages 3-22) and infants (ages 0-3) with special needs. In this section you will find more in-depth information about the law, how it helps children with disabilities, the 9 step process for accessing services, and your child’s rights.
Individual Education Plans
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are the programs written for children with disabilities which drive their special education services. In this section you will find information about what information needs to be included in these plans, how they are developed and how they can be changed.
Least Restrictive Environment
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the label used to describe a child’s educational placement (i.e. where do they receive their education services) and is the part of the law which dictates how the placement is determined. In this section you will find information on available placement options and inclusion.
Assistive Technology (AT) is any kind of technology (low-tech or high-tech) that can be used to enhance the functional independence and quality of life for a person with a disability. In this section you will find information about how AT can help students with writing, reading, communication, learning, access, daily living and behavioral support.
An integral component of a child’s success is parent participation. In this section you will find information on how parents can get involved in their child’s educational and social success through participation in school services, community services, educational advocacy, and intervention implementation.
A variety of teaching strategies will need to be employed when teaching children with autism. The strategies chosen will depend on the individual’s specific learning characteristics and areas of need. In this section you will find information on how to structure the learning environment and routines, use preferences to teach, use peer-mediated techniques and other specific teaching strategies to teach a variety of skills.
Children with autism have the best opportunity for success when intervention services start early. The specific interventions you start will depend on the child and their specific areas of need. In this section you will find information on when and why to start early intervention services, how much your child should receive, goals of intervention, effective interventions, how to determine if interventions are effective, how to be involved in your child’s interventions and how to pay for services.