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Autistic Student



I'm getting a new student who has autism. He has an aide, but because parents wont sign paperwork, he gets no other special support. Any one who has worked with autistic children have any advice?



The sped board can give more...


Make sure the child knows what is expected: rules as well as schedule. Any changes are (usually) very upsetting. The world is (usually) very black and white, and dealing with the grays or the unknowns is extremely anxiety producing. Any changes in schedule, such as assemblies or 1/2 days will have to be prepared for in advance.

Social skills are usually an issue, and whereas objects or schedules are predictable, other people are not and this is very confusing. I don't know the age of the student, that would help too.

How does this kid get an aide with no signed paperwork?


Senior Member
Autistic child

I had an autistic student last year and as much as I was not prepared for him, I learned a lot throughout the year. He also became one of my most polite, independent and friendly students with a lot of support and being consistent.

A few things we did:
1) Make Social Stories for his day, so he can read in advance what to do
2) Have pictures on his desk that represent what he will do throughout the day. FOr example, if it is reading time, have a picture of a book. His aid or you can go though his day in advance. You show him the pictures and tell him what comes next.
3) Talk to the other students so they are prepared for him. Students LOVE to help read the social stories.
4) Be VERY consistent especially with what is expected of him.

Enjoy yourself and learn from him. I remember my autistic student at the end of the year was a totally different kid then what he was at the beginning. One day I said to him....hey buddy....you need to do your MAth.....he looked at me and said...No thank you!

Got to love that!


I have experience w/autistic students. How to handle student depends
on degree of autism...verbal or non? Does student spin/spit/self-inflict?
There are so many ranges of behaviors in autistic students...if severe,
he/she is going to be an isolationist type anyway...seat him/her and
the aide along an open row of desks, not in the middle..less distraction
and more maneuverability for the aid. If non-verbal, have a picture exchange board available (you can get the Universal PECS system
graphics from speech and language specialist, or from a special ed
teacher in your school if they have it). If parents won't sign paperwork
(assuming NOREP?) then no services can begin...throw as much of
his behavior issues into the aid's lap as you can...if you are teaching
reg. ed and this is an inclusion situation, the kid will have to keep up
w/o accommodations or fail, obviously...and if kid fails, your best
hope is that parents realize they should sign paperwork..or...get
him in a self-contained sp.ed. AS support class and out of yours.
Do not lose sleep over this. Delegate as much as you can to aid,
and fail the kid if you must...do not feel sorry for him/her...ultimately
it is the parents' foot dragging preventing you from giving the kid
maximum opportunities to succeed in your room. Parents will need
a reality check and a bad report card will do it.
Good luck.


Full Member
Lots of good advice so far! :)

One thing you may want is for this child to have a "fidget" for him to fiddle with. I've had kids use koosh balls, stress balls, squishy toys, and once we had a ;girl that had a small piece of sandpaper glued into her desk so she could rub her fingers on it if needed. It's a stimulus that may help to focus them. Bubble wrap is also good but I wouldn[t use that regularly due to noise...maybe in really stressfull situations you could give the child a small piece to sit and pop when he needs to calm down or relax.


I missed the age of the autistic student that you will be working with this year. These children absolutely fascinate me and I hope you see God's design in that child as well as your other students. An autistic child will "stem" in some way--rocking, pulling their hair, eating a sock, --and I try to allow it only for a little while and then try to distract them to something else. Autistic children have sensory integration problems and do not like someone to touch them very strongly, do not like tags in their clothing, etc. So look for the things that present a sensory problem and try to eliminate it if possible. These students do well with a weighted lap or neck cloth. It is a pad that is weighted and you can put it on their lap or around their neck for a few minutes as it encourges them to be still for a few minutes. CPI training is crucial for you if you have a student who tends to become aggressive to you or the class. Hope you enjoy your student as much as I have over the years.