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Autism In Schools

Autistic children are an important part of the school population with special learning and care needs. Autism in schools is dealt with in a number of ways, often depending on the severity of the autistic child's symptoms. There are some autistic children who are able to take normal classes with a little extra help or watch, and other autistic children cannot function in a normal social learning environment. Autistic children have just as much of a right to public education that is suited toward their needs as any other children. It is important to understand how we currently deal with autism in schools.

Individuals With Disabilities Act On Autism In Schools

The Individuals With Disabilities Act was recently passed to strengthen and expand the rights of all children to a suitable education, free of charge. It is now unequivocally required that children with special needs get an education to meet those needs. Special instruction for autism in schools would fall under this category.

Under this act it is also necessary that children are placed in the least restrictive learning environment suitable for them. In other words, when dealing with autism in schools we can no longer group all of the autistic or disabled children together in one room all day. We must make proper assessments of each child's abilities and allow them to integrate with regular school children as much as possible.

IEPs For Autism In Schools

Assessments can be requested by either the parents or school officials. In many cases the legal guardian of the autistic child must sign a permission form to allow the assessments. These assessments are typically centered on learning disabilities, mental capacities, and behavioral issues. Typically an assessment specialist from the school will schedule a follow up with you after the assessment is completed to recommend a program customized to help your child deal with autism in school environments and to learn to function as much as possible in a normal learning environment.

Your child's program is called an IEP. It is assembled by those in charge of each aspect of the child's evaluation. As a guardian of the autistic child you can also have significant input in the IEP. The IEP essentially includes the special needs of the child and how they will be dealt with. IEPs are of course tailored specifically to the needs of each child. The IEP may be re-evaluated either annually or at the request of the guardian.

As the guardian of an autistic child it is up to you to make sure that autism in schools in your area is properly assessed and proper plans are made for helping your child. While all schools are required to provide these services, you are the only one who can assure that they are properly provided to your child. You have the right to question and get a reasonable and complete explanation of the IEP made for your autistic child.

Autism Fact #1

Because of the special way autistic minds function, normal teaching methods don't work. Understanding how the autistic mind functions, allows you to take advantage of this functionality to provide specialized teaching that will help young autistic minds learn much more rapidly than they could with standard teaching methods.

Autism Fact #2

The autistic mind tends to function in a visual manner. Specialized teaching for autism makes heavy use of pictures. Using words to describe something is nearly useless. Providing pictures of what you are describing is much more successful. Even better though is taking the child to see the actual item or place being described.

Autism Fact #3

Take advantage of the natural skills an autistic child may have, instead of focusing on weaker points. It is interesting to note that although autistic children tend to be visual and are often very good at drawing, they can also be very good with music. Take advantage of this by creatively using music and art as part of teaching other topics.

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