Creating an Autism Friendly Classroom
The purpose of the project was to create autism–friendly classrooms throughout the school. Initially, this endeavor began with a single classroom that was made over from floor to ceiling. The most observable change was adapting the classroom to be more sensory-friendly. This not only benefitted the students with ASD, but students with other exceptionalities. Additionally, other changes were implemented such as the use of added visual supports and enhanced behavioral supports. With all of these changes, observable differences were immediately made of increased on-task behavior and academic output from several of the students. Seeing this change was the catalyst to then “sell” the idea to general education teachers. Three other classrooms are now participating in adapting their classrooms for all their students, regardless if anyone has an ASD diagnosis or not. By offering these strategies to everyone, no one feels singled out or stigmatized for having any kind of special adaptation. The long-term goal is that this will eventually reduce the need for pull-out accommodations and services, which can be stigmatizing, and promote more inclusive classrooms.
1. Participants will be able to identify the sensory needs of their students.
2. Participants will be able to customize visual supports for students to increase the expectation that they will actually be used by the student.
3. Participants will be able to identify which adaptations made an observable positive difference in order to promote the concept to general education teachers/classrooms.