In part 1 of this post, I spoke about my experience teaching in a nonverbal autistic classroom and its most meaningful takeaways. Part 2 explores respectful, useful resources for people on the autism spectrum, their family members, and educators.
My final semester as an undergrad was crammed with experiences you might expect of someone full of excitement, optimism, and a lot of what-am-I-going-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life thoughts. Aside from the typical pre-graduation nerves, I—as a childhood education major—was about to reach the height of all of the lesson plan and unit plan writing, fieldwork observations, and hours of late-night studying: the student teaching experience.
In this guest post by special education teacher and Jay and Ben co-author Katharine Swanson, she explains how the book can be used as a tool when reading with children with autism.
During Autism Awareness Month (and all year round), teachers and parents alike think about the importance of educating their child with autism in the most effective way. The most effective method of instruction varies from student to student and is as wide as the spectrum itself. However, one universal method revolves around written words being broken down into picture symbols to represent words and sentences.
In my experience in the classroom, students benefit from texts and questions being broken down into pictures to make them more visual and concrete. People with autism tend to think in visual, concrete ways. The added visual element enhances their comprehension of the material being presented to them. Therein lies the main benefit of a book like Jay and Ben. The story is simple and already broken down into manipulative picture symbols to help students of all levels comprehend. The picture symbols with the book are removable and can be manipulated as needed for different students.