So if you have been reading this week’s post and been like “Okay… but what about lil’ ole m in the inclusion setting?” How do I utilize all of these theories in my classroom without completely turning it upside down? Never fear! No need to complete redesign your room. You can utilize these same ideas and interventions in a way that is not intrusive and can fit in seamlessly into your classroom.
Early childhood classrooms lend itself to this set up. Many are typically are center based. Adding a few visuals might help make this already structured setting be even more predictable for our kids. You could also set up separate areas based on type of academics. For example, for math we sit at your desk and for reading we sit at this table. Create rules. Children with autism are often very rule governed – use this to your advantage!
Carpet time can be challenging for our students sometimes. It’s less structured and children with autism may not know what to expect. Find a specific spot that is that student’s ‘spot’ – that way they always know where to go and know when they are sitting there what they will do. I love this idea from First Year Teaching Tales. She used bath mats in her reading idea. This is an easy and cheap was to designate exactly where your student should be sitting.
If same desks/tables used for multiple subjects: pick a different spot for each of those activities. Use different colored tape on the floor to designate certain areas without disrupting the whole room. Utilize more visuals to ‘switch’ the areas. Keep a pack of visuals for each subject area. When you switch subjects, switch the visual posted in the front of the room.
Utilize cubbies, folders, and other small dividers around the student’s desk. This might help limit distractions and enable your student to focus. Try to add these interventions but not ostracize the student. I hate walking into classrooms and seeing the lone island student floating with in his desk all alone while everyone else is in groups or tables. Structure doesn’t mean isolation. These interventions may be helpful for more than just your student with autism!