Florida's First Choice for Autism Support

Posts tagged ‘Teachers’

To the School Districts: Kudos to You!

Blue Speech Bubble World Health Day Facebook Post(2)

CARD-USF’s catchment area covers 14 counties here in Florida. We work closely with all 14 counties’ school districts and district personnel. As a professional at CARD, I see the great work that CARD-USF and all of our districts put in each and every day through out the year for  constituents and teachers to be successful. However today, I am writing as an appreciative mom.

As a mom of two children who are currently in public schools (1 in Hillsborough, 1 in Pasco who has an IEP for Autism) I had a moment today where I stopped and took a moment to reflect on just how great the school districts (not just the 14 we cover; across the state) have been trying to navigate this crazy time.

What would have been a leisurely Spring Break quickly turned into a mad dash to get set up for distance learning. The districts quickly went to work and were timely setting up the meal program which allowed them to distribute meals to children. I’ve seen many parents report how simple it has been pulling up in the car line at their local school, picking up the bag lunch and carrying on with their day.

Additionally, the districts have been hard at work preparing laptops and other devices to hand out to students for remote learning. Again, another enormous task that has transpired quickly and effectively. School districts, in my case, Hillsborough & Pasco, have been emailing, robocalling, and using social media to get information out as much as possible. It can be a bit of information overload but a necessary evil as they are trying to do so much, in so little time and trying to reach every parent they can.

For me, I am fortunate enough to work remotely during this crisis and while that is taking place, I’m also working to get the kids set up for their new online education. My son’s teachers in Hillsborough County have been absolutely amazing. Through emails, Classtag App and even phone calls (yes, just got off the phone with one as I’m writing this) they have been so helpful and positive during this time.

Schools and teachers have been doing parades through their local neighborhoods just to see the kids and provide some fun. My neighborhood’s parade was today and teachers were honking their horns, waving and the kids in the neighborhood absolutely loved it as they waved and displayed their signs they made for their teachers.

During this crisis, I know much emphasis is on the medical professionals fighting the virus head on in our hospitals. As well they should be! I can’t even imagine the chaos in hospitals right now. However, I just wanted to give praise and kudos to the teachers and district personnel who are working hard as well in order to help our children adjust, stay positive and be successful.

So to ALL the school districts, the leaders seeing these plans through and to the teachers… THANK YOU!

 

Adrian Ruiz

CARD-USF, Communications & Marketing Specialist

 

A Note to High School Teachers about Autism

It’s no big secret that high school can be a challenge for anyone, not just those on the spectrum, but for many of them, the struggle is greater than any other. They’re still growing up, many have yet to learn any true applicable life skills, and classes can be a challenge if the teacher is incapable of keeping the pace of their lessons at an acceptable level for all of their students. Many go through that phase where everything their parents say is wrong and they’re always right (don’t worry we all do it). These are just some of the many issues which can make high school so difficult. I know for me personally, high school had its ups sure, but on the whole I barely made it through at times, often only passing due to the intervention of my mom or dad chatting with my teachers and getting me back on the right track. Here, I want to discuss some issues facing students with autism in high school, and perhaps some solutions that can help resolve the main issues.

Nowadays, students with ASD participating in general education classrooms is trending. Many are beginning to feel that just because a kid has autism, doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t receive the same knowledge as everyone else. For those who may not be “in-the-know” about what autism is, some of the most common characteristics are difficulty in social situations, an inability to spot sarcasm or tone of voice, repetitious actions, and a general aversion to change. According to Veronica Fleury of UNC’s Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, “Many educators find that they’re not prepared to adapt their instruction methods to meet both state standards and the diverse needs of students with autism.” In a similar study, it was noted that students on the spectrum had a disproportionately high participation in the STEM fields compared to the general populace, regardless of gender or income. If that’s really the case, then it’s apparent that high schools need to prepare these students with the necessary skills for achieving their goals, as STEM fields are some of the most difficult to succeed in.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially if you are a teacher, is that a lot of individuals on the spectrum have unique (or at least different) learning styles. When planning for instruction, keep in mind that for the most part, students with ASD are visual learners, literal learners, and require consistency, according to this resource. For example, out-of-nowhere pop quizzes and numerous hands-on activities aren’t going to be very effective for most, as they’ll quickly lose interest and won’t absorb a single word coming out of your mouth. Be forthcoming and explicit with your expectations, don’t leave anything up for interpretation or else the student may not understand what they’re supposed to do in a given situation.

Additionally, try to keep the student engaged with other members of the classroom. If given the chance, many with autism will clam up and not want to socialize at all. This simply isn’t going to cut it in the real world, so try to prepare them by having them participate in group work. If you follow these tips, dealing with your student should be much easier.

> G. Sosso

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