(Supplementary to Chapter 5, The Inner Sanctum, in Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Mainstream Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students With ASDs)

More Strategies for Engagement

→Experts On-Call: If you have students on the spectrum in your class who are expert historians, spellers, arithmeticians, or similarly skilled, keep them “on-call.” Make them aware that they may be consulted at any time. Remind them that this means they must be engaged and paying attention to lessons and conversations, because historical or spelling emergencies can pop up at any time.

→Make ’em Laugh: Use humor when you can to relieve anxiety and capture interest in a lighthearted context. Try to keep your witticisms concrete and always avoid sarcasm (for everyone).

Jolly Good: Speak with accents every now and then. But first, know your audience: Though many students on the spectrum find accents endlessly entertaining and engaging, others may find them disorienting or difficult to understand.

Define the Time: Students may not intuit that because you are up in front of the class discussing rules of vowels, it is not also the time to discuss the history of train accidents. Be very specific about what Time it is: This is not the time to be thinking or talking about trains; Now it is Time for Spelling.

If necessary, give a warning and a time frame to make the adjustment before changing topics: You may talk about trains for one more minute; then it will be Time for Spelling or We will focus on spelling for ten minutes and then you may go back to talking about trains.


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