For many teachers, tenured or new, navigating the world of an inclusive environment can be a confusing experience. However, inclusivity can be a unique opportunity — it can be an enlightening endeavor that brings educators and students closer in favor of education. Teaching children acceptance and awareness about their autistic peers has never been easier with these toolkits.
The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has launched A Guide to Adaptations for kindergarten and pre-K classrooms to facilitate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning for young children with disabilities. The guide encourages educators to consider the classroom’s environment, materials, and instruction, paying attention to adaptations such as noise level, room set-up, assistive technology, support for communication, and visual cues, among others.
OAR’s Kit for Kids raises awareness about autism for K-8 students. The booklet that is the centerpiece of the kit, “What’s Up with Nick?”, teaches kids about the importance of accepting and celebrating their peers with differences. A lesson plan, classroom poster, and online resources are included with the kit.
Finally, OAR’s Curriculum in a Box is great resource for secondary school teachers to learn about autism either independently or in larger professional development sessions. Curriculum in a Box comes packaged with PowerPoint presentations, video clips, handouts/activity sheets, and scripted notes for the facilitator. This comprehensive resource provides teachers with the knowledge and evidence-based strategies they can use to support their autistic students.
With these resources, educators can take the steps necessary to teach children the acceptance and understanding of autism and better support autistic children in their classroom. Together, we can all strive to make progress toward inclusivity in our children’s classrooms.