Helping the Teacher to Understand Your Autistic Child

"Are there certain things that I should tell my son's new teacher before he starts the new school year in order to help her make any necessary adjustments or accommodations?"

You have had several years of experience figuring-out what works and what doesn’t work in managing your son. 
 
While his teacher understands the fundamentals of teaching, he/she may be lacking in crucial information about ASD [[High-Functioning Autism], and what works best in certain circumstances.

This means that you have information to share with the teacher, and the time to do that is before (or very near) the time your son enters the classroom.

Here are the basics to discuss with your son's teacher:
  • You’ll want to share information on your son’s diagnosis and his  normal level of functioning.
  • If your son has a normal or above normal IQ, tell the teacher that he has the cognitive ability to succeed under the right circumstances.
  • Talk about visual learning and the fact that children on the autism spectrum learn through pictures and are less likely to learn through auditory awareness or through letters and words.
  • You’ll also want to talk to the teacher about those things that set your son off, including any obsessions or compulsive behavior he exhibits. 
  • If your child still has temper tantrums, talk about how to manage them and how to avoid them, if possible. If he has meltdowns, be sure to talk about that too.
  • Ease the teacher’s possible discomfort about your son’s repetitive or strange actions by telling him/her that it has to do with how his brain processes information.
  • Explain that your son's inappropriate behavior often comes from misunderstanding, not insubordination. 
  • Tell the teacher about different skills your son finds challenging (e.g., making eye contact, accepting change, showing appropriate emotions, etc.).
  • Educate the nature of the disorder. It's neurological, not psychological or behavioral. It has an organic origin.

Also, if possible, copy and paste the link to this video and email it to the teacher: https://youtu.be/EGMcthxpsTw




In addition, tell the teacher that you can be available as a resource if needed. Try to have a phone number at which you can be reached for any impromptu issues that arise during the course of the day. 

Make a deal with the teacher that allows you to attend class on the first few days of school or when things get difficult. Not only will that help your son adjust to school, it will aid the teacher in the process of getting to know him.

Maintain that teacher-parent alliance throughout the school year in order to have the best chance of your son learning and thriving within the structure of the mainstream classroom. 
 
As one mother stated: "My daughter puts her head down on the desk when she has to much input. This gives her a moment to process all that she is hearing. Now that her teacher knows this, she is no longer getting in trouble for not paying attention. Sharing these cues with teachers will greatly help your child AND the teacher!"

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