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No Child Should Be Left Behind and the Education Act for Children with Disabilities

Two pieces of legislation, demand that students with disabilities not only be exposed to the mainstream education system but also provide evidence of their academic development. These requirements cover youngsters with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). About 110 students are tested for ASD as part of the school program, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, more students diagnosed with ASD are included in the general curriculum system of education hence teachers are tasked with developing strategies that will assist such students in the general classrooms (Grandin, 2006). Some schools decided to employ special teachers to be present in classes during general learning to help students with ASD, although most teachers find the task daunting, it is evident that such students can also learn.

Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

ASD is known as a spectrum because it has got symptoms which vary in severity. ASD also acts as an umbrella term for children who experience different types of disorders such as;


A neurologic condition that mainly reveals itself before three years old and affects the development of communication and social skills.

Asperger Autism

It functions highest in the sub-category. Students who experience Asperger autism do not have delays in their language, but they face difficulties in interacting socially.

Rett Condition

This type of disorder is mostly experienced by girls who lose their communication skills at a later age.

Childhood DE-compositional Condition

It is experienced by children at an early age with significant loss of communication skills and increased chances of having mental disabilities.

Social Issues for students with ASD's

Students with ASD's may experience difficulties in comprehending social cues and analyzing nonverbal gestures from other students. During school games, such students may experience problems with sharing or waiting. They experience self-regulatory strategy by not having eye contact with teachers and other classmates. These students also lack the ability, understanding, and skills to maintain social contact and interactions (Schopler & Mesibov, 1994). Such students may show less or no interest in people and their fellow students but may only be interested in 'things'.

Communication Issues for students with ASD's

Most of these students are echolalia with a tendency of repeating the words spoken by another person. About 40 to 45 percent of such students have nonverbal communication method and those with verbal communication experience difficulties in the 'give and take' communication, instead, they prefer to have a conversation that revolves around their obsessions. Most of these students may also demonstrate hyperlexia, an ability above-average in reading and ability below-average in understanding written or spoken the language.

Behavioral Issues for Students with ASD's

Students with ASD's are usually obsessed with objects, and they are very hypersensitive to emotional or physical touch. In several observations, most of this students develop a behavior of inflicting self-injury for example, by biting themselves (Schopler & Mesibov, 1994). It is also common for such students to have different types of skills, especially in one area, for example, painting.

Communication Strategies

The most critical strategy that may assist students with ASD in communication is the knowledge from the teacher. Teachers must be aware of the communication abilities of the particular student. It is necessary to understand that every behavior from a student diagnosed with ASD is an attempt at communicating. If the student communicates through nonverbal skills, it is the responsibility of the teachers to communicate using nonverbal skills like using gestures to prove a point or give an illustration. Teachers should be in a position to analyze the attempts made by such students in communication through their behaviors (Cooper et al., 2007). For example, if an ASD student who only communicates using nonverbal skills screams during a literature instruction and the student is permitted by the teacher to stop the activity, that student will have escaped the unwanted activity successfully through screaming.

Another example might require the teacher to instruct the student to use a symbol for 'break' as a form of communicating expecting the student to be given a break by the teacher. However, the teacher is obligated to make sure the student continues with the activity after the break to prevent the student from escaping the activity. Through reinforcement, the appropriate behavior by asking for a break and the inappropriate behavior by the student through screaming which was ignored by the teacher, can all be considered as a successful strategy (Cooper et al., 2007). Sometimes teachers find it difficult to identify the meaning of a student's behavior. Therefore, teachers are advised to have a behavior plan that uses the A-B-C form (Sherer et al., 2001). The A-B-C format includes an Antecedent (activities that took place prior to the behavior), the Behavior (what was the actual thing done by the student), and Consequence (what activities followed that maintained the actual behavior).

Finally, most teachers should employ the use of simple language to do away with abstract attributes. Many students diagnosed with ASD are poor in literacy, and a misunderstanding may occur when a teacher employs the use of abstract thoughts. For example, if a teacher gives a comment concerning the weather by stating, "It might rain cats and dogs tomorrow," the student might find this impossible and might be confused as to what the teacher meant.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis. 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Grandin, T. (2006). Thinking in pictures, expanded edition: My life with autism. New York: Random House, Inc.

Schopler, E., & Mesibov, G. (1994). Behavioral issues in autism. New York: Plenum, 1st Ed. 

Sherer, M., Pierce, K., Parades, S., Kisacky, K., Ingersoll, B., & Schreibman, L. (2001). Enhancing conversation skills in children with autism via video technology: Which is better, "self" or "other" as a model? Journal of Behavioral Modification, 25(2): 140-158

March 10, 2023

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