I recently observed an autism classroom. Instruction in this room is very specific to each individual. The hope standard that this reflects is, P2 – Practice differentiated instruction. There were five students in this class the day I observed. The evidence for this post shows the classroom configuration.
The classroom set up was very instrumental in allowing for the differentiated instructional needs of each student. The class functioned around different stations with each person rotating through the stations. For some students, this meant receiving one on one attention. The stations that I observed were reading, writing with new vocab words, and computer assisted reading programs. One student, who is non-verbal, had assisted technology to help him communicate with the teacher during his reading time. The entire structure of the classroom was designed to cater to each specific students needs as listed in their IEP’s. This was ideal for focusing instruction for each student’s unique learning goal as stated in their IEP’s. The students each have their schedule attached to their locker for each day. The activities are shown in picture form for most of the students with two of them having word descriptors. As one activity is finished the students return the sticker to an envelope and then grab the next picture down the line. For the reading time, a couple of students were working on curriculum based measures (CBM) for words correctly read per minute. This number was recorded on a weekly basis for particular passages. These same students also had six vocab words that were introduced each week. The reading for these students was pretty good. The teacher noted that the struggle came with comprehension. The teacher at another station worked with these students on comprehension questions. A set of flash cards was used to ask students very general questions about the seasons and holidays. Another student was also working on reading a very simple book about pumpkins and how many pumpkins were in each picture. The teacher would read the story and try and get the student to pronounce some of the words. Then the teacher would ask the student simple questions and the student would attempt to answer them using the assistive technology. For this particular student, they were also working on developing fine motor skills by having the student work with button fasteners and attaching cloth to buttons. I hope to spend some more time in this class and see how the students are progressing at a different time of the year. This is a new program at my school. I worked with some of these students last year in a self-contained classroom. It was great to see this new model of service that they were receiving. The teacher has put in a great amount of effort and it really shows.