Teaching approaches that are effective for all students can also be used in implementing education programmes for students with ASDs.
A range of ASD-specific approaches has been developed and a selection of the most commonly used approaches is detailed below. A decision to use a particular approach or combination of approaches should be based on the individual needs of each child and be concerned with furthering the holistic development of the child.
This combined-skills approach is often referred to as an eclectic approach. The focus is on adopting a child-centred approach, which provides individualised learning and teaching programmes based on the assessed needs and strengths of each child.
Details of practical teaching strategies for students with ASDs are also detailed below. Links to nine video scenarios illustrating different teaching for pupils with ASDs are provided.
These videos were uploaded from the learning zone of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder - A Teacher's Toolkit CD. This is a joint initiative produced by the DES, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland), the Irish Society for Autism, and PAPA (Parents and Professionals and Autism) (Northern Ireland). All schools were forwarded copies of this CD.
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- Scroll to the bottom of this page and link to video scenarios illustrating different teaching for pupils with ASDs and the key messages in relation to learning and teaching.
The TEACCH programme for children with Autism originated in North Carolina. It has become recognised in Ireland as a successful teaching approach in the field of ASD. This site outlines the structured approach in detail. Very useful for teachers.
Autism and ABA Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
The Cambridge Center behavior.org web site includes many sections on behavioral solutions to human challenges as well as a number of on-line journals. It provides a good introduction and overview of the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach to autism treatment.
Lámh – Language Alternative for the Mentally Handicapped Manual Signing System. Lámh is a manual sign system designed for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and communication needs in Ireland.
Social Stories The Gray Center
A social story is a short story written in a specific style and format. The story describes what happens in a specific social situation. It describes what is obvious to most of us, but not obvious to those with impaired social understanding. It describes what people do, why they do it and what the common responses are. General information on social stories can be accessed here.
PECS Pyramid Educational Consultants
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). In this system, pupils are taught to communicate a need by exchanging an image, thus helping to enhance the pupil’s communication abilities and understanding of the function of communication. The method also encourages the pupil to initiate spontaneous communication. It was designed for young and preverbal children and follows eight defined stages. Information on PECS can be accessed here.
In this programme, parents and staff are videotaped interacting with the pupil and these are conjointly analysed to identify communicative intent and teach the adults to respond to the pupil’s lead, and to ‘observe, wait and listen’ in order to allow the pupil the opportunity to communicate.
This is an approach to teaching the pre-speech fundamentals of communication, in this instance to pupils with autism who are still at an early stage of communication development.
Floortime is a form of therapeutic play and involves working with pupils at their current developmental level and inducing them to interact and engage with others. This often requires the parent or professional to get down on the floor with the pupil - hence the term “Floortime.”
Autistic Spectrum Disorder - A Teachers Toolkit CD
This contains links to video scenarios illustrating different teaching for pupils with ASDs and the key messages in relation to learning and teaching. This is a joint initiative produced by the DES, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland), the Irish Society for Autism, and PAPA (Parents and Professionals and Autism) (Northern Ireland). All schools were forwarded copies of this CD.