Published on May 3rd, 2016 | by Home and Family0
How Teachers Can Provide Better Motivation for Autistic Learners
Autism is an increasingly prevalent issue in our secondary schools. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders increased every year from 2002 to 2010 by as much as 15%; today, many of those people diagnosed back then may be just now entering adolescence. What can teachers do to prepare for students who, despite their developmental disorder, have a high potential for learning and success in the classroom?
Teachers of any subject material and at any grade level ought to be aware of the effects of autism, as well as how to deal with it in a mixed-abilities classroom. While many people on the autism spectrum can excel in academics, 35% of high school graduates with autism will not go on to post-secondary education or be able to hold a steady job between the ages of 19 and 24. As influential role models in young students’ lives, teachers have the ability to help motivate autistic learners to achieve their full potential by understanding how the disorder can be treated and managed.
A visit to a local autism treatment center can provide insight as to how families and specialists deal with autistic learners. Sitting in on a support group or speaking with therapists in an autism treatment center will shed light on the daily lives and needs of autistic students. While every case varies, familiarization with the ways autism manifests can help teachers cope with it in the classroom in a natural, effective, and unobtrusive way. With programs like applied behavior analysis therapy, 50% of young people with autism have shown an improvement in verbal skills and standard intelligence measures, when started from an early age. The more time students spend with this kind of therapy, it seems, the better. Why not translate these tactics into a regular-learning classroom? Management strategies and coping mechanisms may prove beneficial for multiple kinds of learners.
We expect a lot from middle and high school teachers, and mandating additional expertise in dealing with students on the autism spectrum shouldn’t be an extra burden. After all, a specialized autism treatment center is the best resource for helping each individual succeed. But an awareness and understanding of the practical and effective methods used there might help the increasing number of autistic students struggling with standard textbook academics because of their developmental disorders.
Autism awareness might also help identify other students falling through the cracks for previously unknown or disregarded reasons. The more we understand about autism, the more we can do to reconcile it in our educational communities.