Archive for the ‘special needs students’ Category

Autism within the classroom

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Over recent years there has been a marked increase in special needs children being educated in mainstream schools. This increase means teachers are faced with new challenges to meet the needs of the special needs children in their classrooms. For many teachers the needs of special needs students can be quite challenging and up to 75% of mainstream teachers lack appropriate training and many lack constructive support.

The internet has become a good place for teachers to find alternative strategies that can help serve a diverse range of individual needs within a regular classroom environment. Such strategies are especially necessary in dealing with children with autism.


Some children with autism are high functioning and will have average or above intelligence. However those children with low functioning autism may also have other learning difficulties.


Generally special needs students with autism will struggle to express their needs, or when they do not understand something. For many special needs students with autism asking questions and understanding school rules can be frustrating and difficult, this may cause some students with autism to become anxious and stressed.  This lack of understanding is due to the student’s social skills deficits, this is common to autism.


Teachers can help special needs students with autism address their social skills deficits and help them cope better within the classroom and school through the use of visual support cues for special needs students.


For example, placing a visual support cue over the bathroom with the word written out clearly and a picture of a toilet will help the special needs student quickly identify the bathroom without feeling anxious.


Teachers are also finding benefits in using visual support cues such as social stories to help the student with autism understand and deal with situations and skills or behaviours that they may be struggling with, such as recess, assembly and joining in with classroom activities etc.


Social stories can be used a visual tool in the classroom for almost every situation the special needs student is finding difficult, teachers can use the internet to download social stories for students with autism


A social story is a simple short descriptive story that uses visual images and short pieces of text. The social story breaks the situation or skill being dealt with down into relevant cues and explains the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why ans what) as well as giving the autistic student an insight into the thoughts and emotions of others and what others may expect of them.


So for example if an autistic student is struggling with school assembly a social story would be implemented that helps the autistic student understand when assembly will take place, who will attend and why, as well as what they should expect will happen and how they will be expected to act during assembly.

The social story will take away any anxious feelings that the student with autism may have surrounding assembly.


To learn more about how social stories can benefit the special needs student with autism visit:


Alternatively for all other social stories visit:

Autism within the classroom

Monday, February 8th, 2010

With an ever increasing umber of special needs students joining mainstream classrooms, teachers face the challenges of meeting their needs whilst creating an inclusive and challenging learning environment for all students.


Teachers are able to use several alternative strategies that can help them deal affectively with those children with ASD.


After first establishing the student’s capabilities both verbally and intellectually a teacher can assess which strategies will best suit the student with ASD. 


Some special needs students with autism are high functioning and able to use language and cognitive abilities to express what they are thinking.


However some special needs students with autism may be non-verbal; in these cases children can communicate with visual supports aids for autism (PECS -Picture Exchange Communication System). These visual aids for autism have wide uses within the autism classroom.


For many students with autism trying to communicate and be understood is difficult, they may lack the ability to effectively communicate, which is a common problem in autism.  For example children with ASD can have difficulties asking questions, taking turns, sharing even forming friendships this can be frustrating and stressful, causing some special needs students with autism to become agitated.


Teachers are able to help by providing an organized classroom with specific areas that the student with autism may locate easily through the use of visual support aids for autism like verbal or visual clues for the autism classroom. For example visual supports cards can be placed in special areas such as the bathroom, coat pegs, pencil tray and so on, for easy identification taking away stresses.


The images used in visual supports cards are easily identifiable to all special needs students and can be used not only as visual supports cards placed around the autism classroom but also on visual schedules, now and next boards and as cues for social stories.


Teachers also find the use of social skills stories for students with autism beneficial and are now one of the major strategies used by teachers for helping student’s better cope within the autism classroom.


Social skills stories for students with autism are visually rich showing the student the how, why, where and when of the skill or behaviour that they are being used to teach or re-enforce. First developed almost twenty years ago to teach social and communication skills, social skills stories are used effectively by both parents and teachers to help children with ASD understand and cope with all skills and situations they struggle to understand and deal with.


To find out more about how social skills stories can be beneficial to children with ASD and in the autism classroom visit:

For all other social skills stories visit any of the following sites and gain immediate downloads:



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