Three Ways Teachers Can Support Kids With Autism
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Three Ways Teachers Can Support Kids With Autism

(gentle piano music) (playful humming) – This is Julia. She is a four year-old autistic Muppet. (chuckling) The first of her kind. She has a stuffed bunny
that she is very fond of. – There’s lots of ways friends can play. Where’s Baby David? Peekaboo! (laughing) – [Laura] And she likes to paint. – Well, who’s this? – Oh, this is our friend, Julia. – Oh, hi, Julia. I’m Big Bird. Nice to meet you. – [Laura] But one of her
favorite things to do is to sing. – Let’s sing together. ♫ Twinkle twinkle little star ♫ How I wonder – If somebody has a
limited verbal ability, from autism or from something else, we kind of can’t help it,
but we automatically assume that they know less or that
they certainly can show us less about what they know. (gasping) (blowing) – Bubbles? Bubbles? Bubbles! – I’m trying, but well,
blowing doesn’t always work. – Teachers need to
understand that their kids probably know a lot
more than they can show, and if you take the assumption that your students are
competent and eager to learn, want to learn, if you
work from that assumption, the students are gonna do a
lot better in your classroom. – Thanks for that tip, Julia. You were a big help. – One of the mistakes that
teachers and kids both make with autism is assuming that
if the student with autism isn’t able to answer you immediately or doesn’t make eye contact
or follow you around on the playground, then
they don’t wanna play or they don’t wanna be friends. And so peers and teachers
sometimes just give up and leave the child with autism alone. (laughing) – Hi, Julia. Well, you seem excited. What’s going on? – Play, play, play! – Oh, you wanna play? Well, sure! What should we play? Kickball? (sighing) Oh, okay, maybe not. Well, how about hide and seek? – So if the peers understand,
oh, she does wanna play with you, she just doesn’t know how, or you might wanna wait a little longer for her to answer before you run off and do your own thing. That is active teaching of acceptance and is good not only
for the kid with autism, but also for their peers. – It’s okay. (breathing deeply) Sometimes
friends like different things, so it can be hard to figure
out what to play together, – Some young kids may be
very sensitive to sound. Some kids with autism are very sensitive to having too many people in their room. They might cover their ears
or not be able to speak in front of a lot of people. If you have a student that’s
experiencing some overload, the first thing to do is to ask
the student what might help. – [Man] “So what should
we do next?” asks Elmo “Snack!” says Julia. So the three friends go to Hooper’s Store. But inside Hooper’s
Store, Julia seems scared. She claps her hands over her ear. – Often teachers will have
a little beanbag chair that’s maybe under a large table so you’re kind of blocking the
lights and some of the sound and the student can kind of take a break. I think Julia has a really
unique message to give and a really unique place in our society. She’s gonna hopefully be a member of our community now for a long time. – See that? We helped each other, Julia. And that’s what friends are for. – Friends are for. (playful shrieking) – (sighing) Oh, Julia.

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2 thoughts on “Three Ways Teachers Can Support Kids With Autism

  1. Exercise balls, noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses to help sensory overload help children with autism. Also like all children positive reinforcement of engaging in the activities. Especially exclamatory words, and emotion identification. Very important for the early development of skills, self esteem, and social skill efforts.

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