Chances are a child with autism in mainstream education will not require special education, which means they are unlikely to have obvious learning disabilities. But that said they will still have special needs.
The first thing as a teacher you should do is to speak to other members of staff including SENCO in your school. Make sure that everyone understands what autism is and that they are aware of how this will affect the child’s behavior. You should also make the other children in the class aware of their new class mate’s condition and explain that this may affect how the new member of class will act.
Probably one of the most significant issues you will need to address is to prepare all autism classroom accommodations before the child with autism begins school.
Generally a good start with addressing autism classroom accommodations is to prepare the class for the new student by adding visual prompts or cues, to areas of the classroom for example the coat pegs, toilet, art area etc. Ask the parents for a meeting and try to identify the autistic child’s strengths and weaknesses. You can build on the strengths and encourage these.
For many children with autism will prefer their own company, however older children and teens may feel left out or lonely. Sometimes it can be helpful to structure break times to avoid any problems. Sometimes it may be necessary to appoint a buddy system for the student with autism to help them cope with break times and recess.
Many parents will already be using visual aids for autism with their child before they begin school it is a good idea to carry on with these within the classroom also. Generally most children with autism will be visual learners and will respond well to visual aids for autism, such as visual timetables,
Try using visual aids for autism when teaching a subject that requires abstract thinking. You could maybe use photographs or pictures to help keep the autistic child’s attention. Even at secondary school, it is still possible to use visual aids for example illustrations or diagrams could be added to worksheets.
Visual timetables are used to help overcome problems in the classroom for autistic children with routine and any change to the routine. The autistic child can quickly recognize what is happening as has a visual cue for the various different times of the day, like break times, recess, P.E lessons, home time etc.
You may want to include time for the bathroom as this is a confusing time for most children with autism.
Many teachers find using autism social stories a significant advantage, as a tool for helping the autistic child keep on task and understand what is expected of them throughout the day and what they should expect from other’s.
Autism social stories are used with great affect in classrooms for all times of the day and all activities they are also invaluable for explaining classroom rules, personal space, assembly, recess and so on which are all areas many students with autism struggle to understand and cope with.
Developed to help teach social and communication skills to children with autism social stories are written in first person tense with visual images setting out a step by step visual plan that the autistic child can relate to and follow. By simply showing the autistic child the what, where, when and how for all areas and skills that they may struggle with. They are also used effectively for changes to routines, sport’s day and so on showing the autistic child what they can expect, and what others will expect from them.
Reports suggest autism social stories should be included in all autism classroom accommodations, experts agree students with autism DO benefit from the use of autism social stories within their daily routines and at home.
To download social stories for students with autism visit:
Alternatively social stories for students with autism can also be downloaded from http://www.autismsocialstories.com/school_resources
Other autism social stories can be downloaded from