The rate of autism has tripled in California, according to data released by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in February 2011. Since 2002 special education students with autisms has tripled from 2.6% to 8.8% percent. California is not alone. Across the nation the percentage of students in special education, identified as autistic, is increasing.
Here are three tips for parents and educators who work students with autism:
1. Easing Transitions - Before switching from one activity to another or moving from one environment to another, explain to your child or student what’s going to happen next and where you will be going. This helps alleviate anxiety and resistance.
2. Scripting - Coaching children with autism on ways to address their peers is a good way to help them develop functional language. For example: script for them on how to approach other students on the play ground. That is, tell them how they should greet other children and what they might talk about.
3. Visual Aids – Children with autism feel more secure with a set schedule. To ease anxiety make a visual schedule of the activities they will be involved in each day. For example: a picture of books for reading time, a picture of food for lunch time, a picture of singing for music.
Decades ago autisms was considered a rare disorder. Today, autism is the fastest growing disability category in special education. The cause of autism is still not clear. However, researchers have found numerous genetic links to autism. Sadly, the probability of parents having more than one child with autisms is not unusual.