Last October I attended the NCSE's Introduction to Autism course for teachers who were beginning their first year in an ASD class. I was so motivated and impressed after that course and decided to apply for a support visit to get one of the experts out to my classroom! We were told that they were very busy and that we weren't guaranteed to get a visit but I applied anyway in October and had my visit this week.
It was so helpful- I would recommend any teacher in an ASD class to apply for one, whether you are with your class for six months or six years. I had a good feeling about the work I have been doing with my class, they are making progress and are responding well to my lessons. I did however need to have this clarified because being in a new setting meant I wasn't quite as sure of myself as I normally am in the classroom. So, I showed the lovely visitor my plans, assessments, resources, etc and she was really happy with everything! It was such a relief to hear that and to get such positive feedback. I had a long list of questions prepared to ask , and I had a few strategies in mind which I wanted to find out more about, so we went through those and she had brilliant suggestions and answers for every question I had. I am much more confident in my teaching after the visit but most importantly of all the boys in my class will benefit hugely from all the advice and resources I received. So I would 100% recommend you apply for an NCSE visit if you haven't already!
I was scribbling down notes frantically and I will list below some information I found helpful.
- Assess every stage of play- always ensure play is purposeful and can be assessed. Remember lots of children need to learn how to play.
- There's a really good document on Advancing Social Communications and Play Skills from the University of North Carolina which will help a lot!
- For children to be able to be regulated and learn, there are three steps which need to be reached- the visual timetable/object- does the child know where to go?, the work station and the task. The task must be clear- what I have to do, how much I have to do, when am I finished and what is next. This is where the 'I am working for' boards come into play. Always start the task for success so make it slightly easier than they are able for to ensure success is reached first time round!
- The Middletown website has a great section for sensory work, with different activities per sense.
- Colourful Semantics is a good resource for sentence expansion.
There was so much more but I might do a video on it rather than a blog post!