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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This course focuses on helping educators develop a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Current statistics show that 1in 88 people in the United States are on the autism spectrum, so it is important that people are aware of these disorders and understand what they are. When asked what autism is, many people might say that it is a form of retardation. This is not true. Through this mini course, educators will learn facts about autism, causes, treatment, how it’s diagnosed, and the challenges people with autism face. Educators will gain a great deal of knowledge about ASD and will develop strategies to help students with autism succeed in the classroom.
Why do we need to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Many educators who do not have a degree in special education may be wondering why they need to learn about autism spectrum disorders. Not only will educators encounter people with autism outside of school, there is a good chance they will have students with autism in their classrooms. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990, all children deserve access to a “free and appropriate” education funded by the government, whether it is in a mainstream or special education classroom. Therefore, just because an educator may teach in a mainstream classroom, does not mean that he or she will not have students with autism. Educators that do have a degree in special education do not always have a deep understanding of ASD either. To earn a degree in special education, you often learn about the different disabilities students may have, but often in not great detail. Many special education courses focus more on developing lesson plans that involve strategies for working with students with disabilities rather than on the disabilities themselves. In order to develop appropriate strategies for working with students with disabilities, you first have to develop a deep understanding of the disabilities. It is important for all educators to be aware of ASD and understand the disorders so that they can help students with autism be successful in their classroom.
These guiding questions helped to shape this course:
- What do I need to know about autism spectrum disorder to effectively work with students on the spectrum?
- What are some common myths about autism?
- What are some strategies that can be used when working with students with autism?
- What is a lesson I could use when working with students with autism?
Intent of the Course
The intentions of this course are to help educators develop a deep understanding of autism and to create strategies to use in their classroom with students with autism to help them be successful.
Topics to be Addressed
- Understanding autism
- Common myths about autism
- Strategies for working with students with autism
- Lesson plans to use with students with autism
By the end of this mini-course, students will be able to:
- Define autism
- Describe the signs and symptoms of autism
- State the causes and risk factors of autism
- Explain the tests used to diagnose autism
- Explain the effect that autism has on a child's behavior and learning
- Discuss common myths about autism and provide the facts
- Provide strategies to help children with autism succeed in the classroom
- Implement a lesson in a classroom with students with autism
- Given a PowerPoint presentation on Understanding Autism Spectrum disorder, learners will demonstrate their knowledge of Autism by completing a quiz on autism.
- Given variety of media devices to deepen their understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, students will participate in a forum to discuss important concepts they have learned with peers to demonstrate their knowledge of ASD.
- Given assigned resources on autism spectrum disorders, learners will create a poster outlining ten or more strategies to use when working with students with Autism.
- Given assigned resources on autism spectrum disorders, learners will discuss with their peers strategies they have used with students with autism and their effectiveness.
- Given examples of a lessons plans that can be used with students with autism, learners will create and implement their own lesson plan to use with students with Autism.
- Given the opportunity to implement their lesson in a classroom with students with autism, learners will evaluate their lessons and their effectiveness in a written reflection.
1. Problem: Many people either have a lack of understanding or a misunderstanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are many stereotypes about people with autism that some may believe if they are not properly informed about the disorder. Educators of all backgrounds should understand ASD and should know how to work with students on the spectrum. Even educators that do not have a degree in special education will most likely encounter students with ASD. It’s important that all educators have a deep understanding of ASD so that they can help students on the spectrum succeed in their classrooms.
2. What is to be learned: Learners will become familiar with the signs and symptoms of autism along with the causes, treatments, how it’s diagnosed, and current statistics. Learners will also learn how autism can affect people’s behavior, social interactions, and progress in an educational setting. Learners will learn common myths about autism and will discuss these myths with their peers. Learners will learn a variety of strategies to use when working with students with autism and will have an opportunity to use these strategies in a classroom. At the end of the course, learners will use what they have learned about autism to create a lesson plan for students on the spectrum. Learners will then implement these lessons in an actual classroom and will evaluate their effectiveness in a written reflection.
3. The Learners: The learners will be teachers of any level, elementary through high school, that need to deepen their understanding of autism. These teachers do not have to hold a special education certificate in order to benefit from this course since students with autism are sometimes placed in mainstream classes.
4. Instructional Context: Most activities in this course will occur online and by the individual. Some of these activities involve worksheets that need to be printed out by the learner and filled in. The majority of the assessment in this course will be self-assessment. Learners will have an opportunity to discuss issues with their peers to help them deepen their understanding.
5. Exploring the problem and solution: Learners will have a chance to learn, practice, and reflect on course activities. Learners will learn a great deal about autism spectrum disorder and will create strategies for working with students with autism. Learners will also create and implement a lesson plan to use with students with autism.
6. Goals: For teachers to learn more about autism spectrum disorder and to learn helpful strategies to use when working with students on the spectrum. Even teachers who do not have a special education certification should feel comfortable when working with students with autism.
In order to determine which areas of autism people are less familiar with, please take the following survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NBHF3CP
What do I need to know about Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- The learner will begin to fill in a K-W-L chart by listing what they already know about autism and what they would like to learn about autism.
- The learner will view a PowerPoint presentation on autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- The learner will take a twenty-question quiz to test their knowledge on autism after viewing the PowerPoint presentation.
- The leaner will score their quiz based on the answer key given to self-assess their work.
- The learner will finish filling in a K-W-L chart by listing what they learned about autism.
Using Media to Deepen my Understanding of Autism'
- The learner will use a variety of media devices to deepen their understanding of autism
- The learner will participate in a discussion thread by sharing their ideas about autism
Strategies to Use With Students with Autism
- The learner will read assigned resources on common strategies to use when working with students with autism
- The learner will create a poster listing ten strategies
- The learner will discuss most effective strategies and hardest strategies to implement
- The learner will discuss strategies he or she has used before and their effectiveness
Creating a Lesson Plan
- The learner will view examples of lesson plans used with students with autism
- The learner will develop his or her own lesson plan to use with students with autism
- The learner will implement the lesson plan with students with autism
- The learner will write a reflection/evaluation on how the lesson plan went with students
References and Resources
Autism Speaks- http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism
Facts and Tips for Working with Students on the Autism Spectrum - http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/?pageId=359
Strategies for Teachers Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder- http://www.specialed.us/autism/05/strategies.htm
6 Strategies For Teaching Students With Autism - http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/autism-awareness-month-6-strategies-for-teaching-students-with-autism/
Free lesson plans for children with autism- http://autism.lovetoknow.com/Free_Lesson_Plans_for_Autistic_Kids
Back to Class Homepage: ETAP 623 Fall 2013 - Wilde