5 tips for working within the ASD setting

5 tips for working within the ASD setting

Deborah has worked in the areas of special needs for many years and has recently retrained to become a teacher. She shares with us some tips for those working in this specialised area in the future.

Deborah’s background

I worked with pupils with a diagnosis of ASD for 12 years in a school-specific to pupils with a diagnosis of ASD and/or complex needs. During my initial years there I worked as an Applied Behaviour Analysis Tutor and received extensive training in ABA. I also worked with a pupil both privately and under the Home Tuition Scheme for several years and participated in the July Provision Scheme.  For various reasons, I decided to undergo a career change and completed the PME in Primary teaching and qualified recently.


Tip #1 - Teamwork

First and foremost, your team are your rock. There are days you are challenged both mentally and physically and you need the support of people around you. In my experience, while you were friendlier with some people more than others in your team, when the going got tough you always had the support of the people around you and that was crucial. Typically, there was for or five of us in a team in a classroom. So, while you don't have to best friends with everyone, everyone does need to have each other's back.


Tip #2 - It’s ok to share when you’re having a bad day

Secondly, do not be afraid to say I am having a bad day! Like I said, the job can be tough in many ways. You are not a superhero and there is no shame in needing to gather yourself for a few minutes or have a quick cry in the bathroom. Always grab a friend for a few minutes before or after school to debrief and have a chat, trust me, you will feel better!


Tip #3 – Remember each child is unique

Thirdly, no child with ASD is the same. There is no textbook definition of ASD and what works best for one kid might backfire for the next child. It is a case of trial and error. Always discuss things with your peers for a pair of fresh eyes!


Tip #4 - Record Keeping

Fourthly, data is key! Always keep data on behaviours, a simple ABC chart can show you so much information in relation to behaviours!

Antecedent: What was happening before the behaviour, time of day etc.

Behaviour: What was the behaviour?

Consequence: What happened after the behaviour?

Tools such as the VB-MAPP also are helpful for assessment to see what skills a child has gained or lost. 

Tip #5 - Clear Communication

Finally, correspondence between staff and parents is crucial and can offer great insight into the pupil.  Home School Correspondence diaries are great. You could have a child come into school and engage in loads of behaviours. You might be pushing through work with them but what you do not know is that the child was up all night and didn't sleep well. If you had known this, you would have reduced their workload and perhaps seen a reduction in behaviours. So, parents keeping you in the loop is really important, both for you and the child to have as a successful day as possible! 

Thank You Deborah

A special thank you to Deborah for sharing with us her insight into working within the ASD setting. It is clear that she is very knowledgeable in this area and that she has developed a great number of skills that can be used in the mainstream classroom e.g. assessment, providing a child-centred environment, record keeping, teamwork, empathy and communication and more. Thanks for sharing your tips Deborah!



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