Questions to Ask About Autism EducationThe National Institute of Mental Health suggests a list of questions parents can ask when planning for their child's autism education:
- How successful has the autism education program been for other children?
- How many children have gone on to placement in a regular school and how have they performed?
- Do staff members have training and experience in working with children and adolescents with autism?
- How are activities planned and organized?
- Are there predictable daily schedules and routines?
- How much individual attention will my child receive?
- How is progress measured? Will my child's behavior be closely observed and recorded?
- Will my child be given tasks and rewards that are personally motivating?
- Is the environment designed to minimize distractions?
- Will the autism education program prepare me to continue the therapy at home?
- What is the cost, time commitment, and location of the autism education program?
Autism Education Based on AgeAutism education should begin as soon as a child's disability has been identified. Effective programs will teach early communication and social interaction skills.
Younger Than Three
In children younger than three, appropriate autism education usually takes place in the home or a child care center. This education targets specific deficits in:
- Initiative of interaction.
Included are behavioral methods, communication, and occupational and physical therapy, along with social play interventions.
Often, the day will begin with a physical activity to help develop coordination and body awareness; children string beads, piece puzzles together, paint, and participate in other motor skills activities. At snack time, the teacher encourages social interaction and models how to use language to ask for more juice. The children learn by doing. Working with the children are students, behavioral therapists, and parents who have received extensive training. In teaching the children, positive reinforcement is used.