Friday, October 12, 2012

Education Friday - Guest Expert Linda Hodgdon M. Ed., CCC-SLP

12 Essentials Every Classroom Must Have for Autism Success
Students with autism can achieve great success in environments that help them succeed. How does that work? Settings that are “autism communication friendly” provide a variety of little things that result in big positive changes in student participation.
Of course, there will be variations, depending on age and skill level of students. Classrooms will have differences. But these essentials are essential. We have learned so much about what students on the autism spectrum need to be successful.
One thing that we know is that the majority of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and lots of other students, too) are visual learners. You’ll see lots of visual tools on my essentials list.
The problem is that we don’t always use what we know. That’s human nature. So here’s my challenge and here’s my list.
12 Essentials
(1) Camera
This can be one of your most powerful communication tools. 
They are so common now. You probably have a camera on your phone that you carry in your pocket. Teachers can take pictures or you can teach students to use the cameras on their own phones.
Take pictures of everything. Use them in the phone or print the pictures as needed. Use your photos for conversation starters, demonstration tools or reminders to help students remember what to bring to school tomorrow.
(2) Calendar
Posted on a wall, written in a notebook or accessed on a smart phone, the calendar is an essential tool for helping students orient to their flow of life. Calendars can focus on group information at school. But many students need a personal calendar for school info or one that also includes home and family information. Does that mean one for a classroom and one for personal needs? Possibly yes.
(3) Schedule
The daily schedule has finally become one of the most used visual tools. That’s because they work really well to help students follow their daily routines. Everyone benefits from knowing what is going to be happening today.
Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Here's the link to Linda's other nine essentials. I think teachers largely forget the camera. One year his SLP gave my son photos of all his classmates. Another use could be making social stories and even illustrations for student writing.
Linda Hodgdon is the author of the best seller, Visual Strategies for Improving Communication. To learn more or to sign up for her FREE E-newsletter, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment