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Sep 042012


Back to school accommodations for autism spectrum kids, part 2

This time of year I am busy making suggestions for school accommodations for my clients on the autism spectrum. Getting the correct plan at school is one of the two most important interventions for autism spectrum children (the other being a good home behavior management plan, so stayed tuned for my soon to be released e-book on this topic: The Complete Paperless Point Plan for Special Needs Children and Teens).  Starting school can especially tough for those students making a big switch of some kind, such as to a new school, to junior high or to high school.

This suggestion is particularly for those students who struggle with emotional regulation problems, and may have frequent outbursts or meltdowns of some kind in the classroom. An outburst often leads to getting a break from the class — however, this inadvertently rewards many kids, who like getting a break from the classroom, for having an outburst. A solution to this is to recognize that many autism spectrum children and teens truly need more breaks from the classroom than a neurotypical child or teen, and to give them those breaks BEFORE they have a meltdown or outburst. The best way to do this is to have scheduled breaks of some kind, given that schedules and routines that are predictable are helpful for those on the spectrum. The break could take many forms: going to the library for some quiet reading time, going for a walk with an aide, bringing some papers down to the office for the teacher, listening to an audible book on an iPod, talking to a counselor. This means the child will miss some instruction time, but usually this is set up for a child who tends to miss some instruction time anyway, and by scheduling it, some thought can be put into it, and the timing can be optimized for both the child’s emotional and learning needs.

Let me know if this helps!

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