Educators Course: "How to Be the Best Teacher for a Child with Autism (While Creating a Happy Classroom)"
This course has a number of overarching themes:
- The importance of the teacher’s attitude and approach to autism in general
- The autism’s neurological basis and validity
- Strategies for a more successful educational experience for the child with autism
- Strategies for a better overall classroom experience for everyone
- Strategies for supporting the functional growth of the child on the autism spectrum.
Who should take this course?
This course is designed for teachers and professionals who work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or anyone who wishes to have the ability to successfully understand and support children with autism of all levels of functionality.
This course is comprised of 8 Modules and 59 lessons of material that are available 24/7 on-line, through a password protected website. Each Module includes written instruction materials, audio recordings from Dr. Wahlberg, and a written exercise designed to help the student process and master the information in the module. There is a final written essay which can be used as an optional part of the training if desired.
- Virtual classroom live training calls can be added to this on-line format to enhance the experience of the student, or to provide a workshop opportunity.
- Office hours are provided for the student to call with questions.
- Questions received by email will be answered within 2 business days.
Overview and Basics
Module Benefits: This module provides specific perspectives that will serve as a guide for teachers in establishing a teaching protocol that will: 1) support the student’s success in the classroom, 2) increase confidence in working with and having a child with autism in the classroom, and 3) help leverage these strategies to support the entire class. This Module will cover these specific topics:
- Accepting the diagnosis and its meaning (even if the child seems like they should be able to manage)
- Can a Child with Autism Manipulate?
- Can’t vs. Won’t.
- The power of consistency/the need for all environments working together.
- The need for flexibility.
- Applying accommodations to the entire classroom vs. singling out the child with autism.
- The value of functional skills to a child with autism.
- Cognitive vs. associative tasks (eye contact, taking notes, etc.).
- Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement (punish vs. reteach).
- Allowing sensory breaks.
- How to find the teachable moment.
Understanding the Behavior of a Child with ASD (part 1)
Module Benefits: This module provides specific understanding of strategies to support helping the child with autism stay calm and regulated in the classroom, both neurologically and emotionally. This module will serve as a guide for teachers in understanding and managing difficult behavior in the classroom, creating more effective interventions, as well as delivering tips to leverage the same strategies to support the entire class. This Module will cover these specific topics:
- All Behavior Has Meaning.
- Birth to Behavior/The Control Theory (Part 1)
- Sensory Hypersensitivity/Neurological Regulation/The Control Theory (Part 2)
- Helping a Child Stay on Task in the Classroom.
- Allowing Sensory Breaks/Sensory Diets.
- Emotional Regulation, Managing Anger and Meltdowns.
- Managing Physical Aggression.
Understanding the Behavior of a Child with ASD (part 2)
Module Benefits: The purpose of this module is to provide understanding of common thinking patterns that arise as a result of the neurological architecture of the brain of children with autism, and through which their understanding of the world is filtered. We will discuss how those ways of thinking shape behavior. This will serve as a guide for you in understanding and managing behavior in the classroom, and help you create effective interventions.
- Black and White Thinking
- Rigid Thinking
- Getting Stuck
- Expert in Sameness
- Literal Thinking
The Social Database and Social Skills Development
Module Benefits: This module is designed to help you understand the types of difficulties prevalent in children with ASD, how those difficulties influence behavior, and how to overcome those challenges in the classroom.
- How is the social database developed?
- Why the aversion to social interaction?
- How do we develop social skills?
- How to practice using social skills.
- Seek environments where there are potential friends to be found.
- How do we get younger children to interact with in the classroom.
- Self advocacy as a social skill.
- Bullying and social skills.
Motivating the Child with Autism
Module Benefits: This module will provide the teacher with strategies to motivate a child with autism to complete tasks and follow rules. This will support the teacher’s efforts to stimulate interest and participation, gain cooperation, and increase compliance in general. This module will cover these topics:
- Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic motivation.
- Why doesn’t he/she respect authority?
- Why doesn’t he/she follow the rules?
- Gaining cooperation, increasing compliance with a child with autism
Executive Functioning and Accountability
Module Benefits: The purpose of this module is to provide specific perspectives that will help you understand the executive functioning deficit of children with autism, the many ways it influences behavior, and also serve as a guide for you in establishing teaching strategies that will increase your ASD student’s success in the classroom. This will support you by boosting your confidence in working with and having a child with autism in your classroom, and also help you to leverage the strategies to support the entire class.
- What is Executive Functioning and What does it do?
- Lack of Executive Function/Linear Thinking and Comprehension
- Accountability and Setting Boundaries
- With the Lack of Accountability How Do We Teach Rule Following?
- Stumbling Blocks related to Executive Functioning and Accountability
- Guidelines on How to Develop Accountability and Executive Functioning
- Strategies to Stimulate Executive Functioning and Accountability by Prompting Prior
- Teaching Metacognition and Problem Solving
- Prompt Dependency and Learned Helplessness
- Executive Functioning Stimulation Worksheet
Communicating Effectively, What Makes Communication So Difficult?
Module Benefits: This module will teach the educator specific strategies for effective communication, and how to teach abstract concepts so that the information is understood. This will improve the child’s overall comprehension, ability to respond, and help the child become a contributing member of the class.
This Module will cover these specific topics:
- What makes communication do difficult.
- Why is information MIA?
- Abstract Terms and the TEACH method.
- Comprehension Difficulties
- Making Language Linear and Non-Abstract
- 21 Tips for Better Communication.
- Communication in Summary.
Module Benefits: The purpose of this module is to provide twelve specific exercises that will improve your ability to apply the knowledge you have learned in the past 7 modules by planning ways to work with specific issues. This will support your success in applying this material in the classroom, increase your confidence in working with and having a child with autism in your classroom, and help you to leverage the strategies to support the entire class.
This module contains 12 case studies each one involving a different child with autism. In each case you will download and fill out a “Intervention Worksheet for Teachers.” After uploading your completed worksheet you will view a video from Dr. Wahlberg giving his analysis of the case study.