It’s the last day of April so I’d like to publish one more blog post on an Autism-related topic in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Check out my previous Autism posts this month on early diagnosis and the best toys for language development.
In the school setting, one of the biggest challenges in working with students with Autism is behavior management. One strategy that has worked really well this year for my team is a “5 star reward system.” This simple visual, available for free in my TpT store, is versatile enough to target any activity or academic task. We laminate the visuals on card stock and if the child is able to write, he or she writes what he or she is working for with expo marker, and if they are not able to write, we write it for them. For students without literacy skills, I also provide some kind of visual support to motivate them to continue working for their reward (a picture of the toy or activity they are working for). It is also easy to increase the demands on the student using this system by increasing the work they must do for each star. Instead of labeling one picture, for example, an older student with better attention and regulation skills may be required to label 3 pictures for each star, totaling 15 trials before a reward instead of 5. There are many other ways to improve behavior in the school setting and each child responds differently. This is just one simple strategy we have found to be effective, easy, and versatile.
What strategies are working for you in your classroom?