Subbing in a new school or a new classroom can be daunting at first, and the same goes for working in an ASD Class for the first time.
It can be difficult to prepare for subbing in an ASD class if you haven’t spoken to the class teacher before hand , which is often the case. It is not like subbing in say, first class where you can look at the curriculum and have age and class appropriate resources in your sub bag ready to go! No two autism classes are the same, you will also always have a wide range of abilities within one class.
There are a few things you can do to ensure you are as prepared as you can be however.
Arrive early to allow for time to look at the teacher’s plans or IEPs, and more importantly to have a chat with the SNAs in the room about the structure of the day and the timetables and so on.
It can be hard to remember everything but try use visuals if you can, and signs. This will help the pre-verbal children in your class.
Keep your lessons short and snappy. You may only get five minutes out of a lesson, you may get twenty but just be prepared for this!
Sensory play is one lesson which any class will enjoy, although some children have aversions to certain textures and smells so never force it! Classrooms are usually well equipped for sensory lessons, but it is something you could easily prepare for, it could be as simple as a bag of flour for writing letters in, porridge oats and water, anything like that for a younger class at least.
There’s a number of interactive websites my class really enjoy, the following are sites which I use daily.
Topmarks ( I use this for maths)
Starfall ( I use this for reading and maths)
I use the ones below sometimes for a change:
I also like to use active, movement songs on youtube for my class but again I have a junior class so that’s the point of view I am coming from.
Get to know the children but don’t infringe on their personal space too much. Some children need to know you a while before allowing you in to their space, so always be respectful of this!
Give the children time to process what you say. Mainstream is so busy and hectic, you may often be giving five instructions at once, at least I used to! One thing I learned is to SLOW DOWN. Give the children time to respond. It takes them longer to process language, it is that simple. So just be more mindful of the speed which with you speak, and the amount of words you use in a sentence. It goes without saying but avoid figurative language too!
Above all, enjoy the experience, you will learn so much. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work in an ASD class. I know many teachers go through their whole careers without doing so, but I have learned so much and have grown so much as a teacher since I started working with my class.