August 17, 2016

Ten key recommendations for autism teacher practice 

A new two-year study of almost 1,500 educators, specialists, students and parents aims to help schools respond to the needs of students on the autism spectrum.

Conducted by researchers from the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), the study Australian Autism Educational Needs Analysis ­­­- What are the needs of schools, parents and students on the autism spectrum? has bulit a profile of the students and made ten key recommendations to assist teachers with their classroom practice. 

All groups identified the social and emotional needs of students on the autism spectrum (aged 5- to 18-years-old) as the top priority to ensure success at school. Strategies such as one-to-one or teacher aide support, working in small groups, calming or relaxation activities and the explicit teaching of prosocial behaviours were all cited as common ways to support students in this area. Sensory experiences had the greatest impact on the students’ ability to participate and learn and noise was identified as the highest rating sensory issue. 

The report also noted that a positive approach to behaviour support at school can make all the difference for students on the autism spectrum. 

The students who took part in the survey, who were all aged 11- to 18-years-old, were asked rate how they felt about school activities. The 10 they found most difficult were:

  • planning for assignments;
  • working as part of a group;
  • handwriting and being neat;
  • coping with change;
  • coping with bullying or teasing;
  • the speed at which they completed handwriting;
  • copying information from the board;
  • doing homework;
  • staying calm when other kids annoyed them; and
  • staying calm when the classroom is very noisy. (Saggers et al, 2015)

Maybo training for school settings

Read the full report