In the recent years, there has been an increase with the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007), 1 in 150 children are said to be autistic and according to many states ASD is seen as an epidemic. The problem with these numbers is how to teach these children affectively in the best academic environment. In 2005-2006 it was reported that 31% of autistic students were placed in general education classrooms and around 40% in separate classes, typically referred as autistic support classrooms (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Characteristically, the student will be placed in an autistic support (AS) room because the general education room is not the least restricted environment for that child.
Most children with severe and pervasive disabilities need a classroom that will start at their unique skill levels. The children need to learn numerous and diverse behavior changes, probably different in each of their cases that cumulatively, would enable each child to enter and benefit from the general curriculum. To assign children with autism who do not possess those skills to the usual public school classroom is to assign them to regression. (Baer, 2005, p.9)
I was given the opportunity to experience how an autistic support class operates. Most importantly, I was able to view some of the techniques are that used on a daily basis. During the 2009–2010 school year, I worked as a therapeutic staff support (TSS) in Mrs. F’s kindergarten autistic support classroom. During the current school year (2010), I became a Blended Case Manager (BCM) where I was also given the opportunity to visit Mrs. F’s classroom on a bi-weekly basis. Over the past year and a half I have seen a magnitude of techniques, theories, and strategies used to increase the successfulness of Mrs. F’s students. In this paper, I will discuss the instruction Mrs. F uses, the aspects of Bloom’s Taxonomy that are exhibited, some of the best practices used according to Santrock (2008), different types of technology used, and how this classroom has introduced the primary elements as my future role as a school psychologist.
I. Instruction Style
Through my observations, Mrs. F uses a Teacher-Centered model, which allows her to select the material that the students will learn (Santrock, 2008). Since all of Mrs. F’s students contain an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) it is important for her to control and closely monitor what is being taught. When a teacher has a student with an IEP it is significant to maintain the unique educational goals and help the child achieve the highest benefit from learning (Heward, 2009). In Mrs. F’s class she is able to center her students goals around the curriculum or lesson plan for the day. On several occasions, I have witnessed Mrs. F asking the student’s different questions based off a story the class read, that pertains to their specific goals. An example of...