Academic Modifications for the Inclusive Classroom
There are numerous ways for teachers to modify activities and materials to meet the needs of students with ASD. In many cases, modifications that are appropriate for students with learning disabilities can also be useful for students with ASD. For example, adjusting the number of items that the student must complete can be helpful. This helps maintain the student’s attention without overwhelming her, while giving the teacher enough data to determine if the student has mastered the skill.
The time allowed for completing assignments can also be adjusted, giving extra time if needed to accommodate fine-motor deficits. Another useful modification is varying the response modes for the student. For example, a student who struggles with writing may be allowed to type responses or verbally answer questions.
Modifying the student’s environment so that he or she can learn successfully is another consideration. The location of the student’s desk and materials is important. The desk should be as close to the teacher as possible and should face the front of the room. A quiet zone in the classroom is helpful when the student becomes “overloaded” with stimuli. Sensory materials, like a bean bag or stress ball, and sensory-blocking materials, like earplugs or earphones, can increase the student’s level of engagement by occupying or isolating a particular sense. Some students with ASD do not tolerate noise very well, so having the option for the student to request using the quiet zone with earplugs may calm the student if he’s feeling overloaded.
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