Who Needs to Take Autism Training Before Working With Autistic Students?

“Knowledge empowers. Having a child with autism necessitates finding out as much as possible about all aspects of the condition, treatments, and services that are available in order to ensure that you are getting the most appropriate ones for your child\’s needs.  Having autism training also helps parents to converse on a more equal footing with professionals and service providers” (Special Learning). This is also beneficial for instructors, teachers, school staff, teacher’s aids, and other educators as well. Being aware of what it is like for autistic children to be in a school setting is critical to helping them be as successful as they can be in their pursuit of education. This is why the NSY Autism Education Training Workshop is recommended for everyone in the school or educational field.

Why We Cannot Ignore Autism in Our Students

It is imperative that the individuals who are educating autistic children to understand the behavioral challenges our children face in a classroom setting. Students with autism can experience issues in verbal fluency that makes it hard to ask questions in the class room. Their attention spans are shorter so paying attention can be a struggle as well. They may lack a firm grasp on understanding various social cues and differentiated responses which makes group work and peer interaction difficult.  They can be unresponsive to questions, tasks, or demands simply because they do not understand or know how to respond. For students on the spectrum, school is often a huge problem area and presents real challenges, especially when teachers are unaware of how to work with those on the spectrum. We must make it our priority to enable teachers and instructors in our schools with knowledge and to help them learn to utilize different teaching styles that fit the strengths of children on all areas of the spectrum.

“In the United States we are just now looking at introducing more of a mandatory ASD training for teachers. One federal education law called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) requires that each state provide eligible children with a free public education geared toward special needs. This law means that children, regardless if they are on the spectrum or not, must be given an education that is suitable for their special needs… This sort of legislation is important because there is a rising incidence of ASD diagnoses all over the world. In fact, there is a new government study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 1 in 45 children ages 3-17 will be diagnosed on the spectrum in 2016, which is a far higher incidence than their previous estimate of 1 in 68 children” (Sails Group). These are staggering statistics and sere to highlight why this is such a necessary set that has to be taken. We can argue about why autism seems to be on the rise but the truth is the children suffering from autistic disorders are suffering because of the education system’s failure to embrace their unique needs. This must change!

Importance of Autism Training for Teachers

In many states today “any special education teacher can teach autism support. Yes, teachers still need to be highly qualified to teach. But districts can basically call a classroom an “autism support class” without the special education teacher having any specified experience or education in autism. The teacher does not need to demonstrate to the state that they understand autism, behavior, social skills, etc. in order to start teaching an autism support class. It is falsely assumed that because a teacher has special education certification, he/she should be able to teach children with autism” (Psychology Today).  This is why it is recommended that anyone involved in the educational process that works with children gets training in autism awareness and instruction. Teachers, inductors, school staff, teacher’s aids, and anyone else who has frequent encounters which autistic children in a school setting all should get some form of autism awareness training. The NYS Autism Education Training Workshop is a great place to get started!

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