Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 Effective Special Education Methodologies For Children With Autism

Do you have a child with autism, pervasive developmental disorder, or Aspergers Syndrome? Have you been searching for specific methodologies that could benefit your child's education? This article will discuss 5 that are proven to help children with autism learn.

Curricula that are used to teach children are required by law to be research based which means that they are proven to work to teach children. The problem is that many school districts are sticking to antiquated curricula and methodologies, rather than looking for research based ones.

Below is a list of 7 that you can ask for to benefit your child's education:

1. Applied Behavioral Analysis has been researched since 1987 and is proven to help children with disabilities learn. ABA is intense 1-1 from 25-40 hours per week. Children are taught skills in a simple step by step manner such as teaching colors one at a time. ABA is extremely expensive; between $35,000 and $50,000 per year. For maximum benefit the child should start as close to age 3 as possible and continue for at least 4 years. Many states are beginning to cover autism treatment, so check and see if your state is one of them.

2. Reading should be taught using a multisensory reading instruction that is Orton-Gillingham based. Make sure that any teacher that teaches your child has received the appropriate amount of training. Also make sure that they are giving your child direct instruction, for the amount of time that the reading system prescribes. Many school districts may use a good multisensory reading program, but do not train the teachers, and do not give the child direct instruction for the prescribed amount.

A few names of multi sensory reading programs are: the Barton Reading and Spelling System, Lindamood Bell system, and the Wilson reading program.

3. Social Skills can be taught by using the SOS system (Social Skills in School) by Dunn. Also Building Social relationships by Bellim, or Social Skills interactive software. A new method for teaching children how to develop relationships is called the Relationship Development Intervention.

4. For Central Auditory Processing disorder there are several effective methods available; Fast ForWord, Earrobics, and Berard Auditory Integration Training (called Berard AIT). Also make sure that the method used is used for the correct amount of time, or progress may be minimal.

5. For children with sensory integration disorder there is a program called the Alert Program: How Does Your Engine Run? Occupational therapy is also used for children with sensory integration dysfunction (SID-which most children with autism have). If your child is receiving occupational therapy for SID, make sure that the schools OT has the correct training, to deal with sensory integration issues. Ask for proof that they are SIPT qualified, before they are allowed to work with your child.

By knowing these 5 methodologies you will be well on your way to helping your child with autism learn. The internet can be used to find more information on those methods that you feel will help your child. Good Luck!

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special eduation system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to:

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