ASD generally referred as autism, is a disorder of the brain development that causes the affected person to have different social behavior and a difficulty to interact and perform in social situations.
Children suffering from autism need exceptional care especially when the question is of their education. They need specialized methods of teaching. According to a new study carried out by the researcher Lindee Morgan it is observed that the children who are taught by the teachers who have specialized training for teaching the autism affected kids, tend to be more energetic, participate more in the class, are able to have conversations and are able to respond more effectively to their teachers as well as their fellow class mates.
SCERTS, the curriculum for autism affected children
The curriculum was specifically designed for the teachers of the autism affected students. This curriculum was called SCERTS. This curriculum was developed in 2006 and it was designed to meet the most sensitive challenges of teaching the ASD affected kids. It covers the issues spelled out in its name as ‘SC’ for social communication, ‘ER’ refers to the emotional regulation of the children and ‘TS’ covers the issue of transaction support, meaning creating a partnership between the people who can assist the children in their needs and understand their feelings.
The results of the curriculum were reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Wetherby, one of the researchers, said that there were a lot of treatments for the preschool autism affected children, however, this particular study focused on the school going children. The unique thing about this research was that it was conducted in the school classrooms in the presence of both general and the trained teachers.
The process of research
60 schools from 10 districts participated in the research. One from California, seven from Florida (Jackson, Volusia Leon, Gadsden, Taylor, Okaloosa, and Wakulla counties) and two schools from Georgia also participated in the research. The schools were randomly paired for the research.
In each pair, one of the member was referred to as ATM meaning ‘autism training modules’. In this school, the students received a regular classroom teaching using just a website which provided the teachers with the essential modules of autism.
On the other hand, the other member was assigned as CSI meaning ‘classroom SCERTS intervention’. In this school the teachers received training according the SCERTS curriculum for three days. In addition to the curriculum the teachers were also given the regular coaching and extra reference materials such as videos were also made available to the teachers for a better understanding. The teachers were also given their own videos when they are teaching in the classroom to make them better understand about what they were doing wrong and how they can make themselves better.
As expected the CSI’s performed better than the ATM’s. The classroom environment of the CSI’s was much better as compared to the ATM’s and the students of CSI’s were seen to be performing better too.
The research paper concluded that the there is a dire need to change the educational environment for the autism affected students. It further added that this work has the capability of providing a feasible educational environment.
Morgan, one of the researchers, said that the CSI has the capability for helping both the teachers and the students. She further added that in most states the general teachers are not specifically trained for autism affected students, however, they are still teaching such children. More than 70% of the ASD kids do not have any intellectual disability. Therefore, the schools must and are adopting ways to improve the teaching skills of the teachers which will benefit not only the autism affected kids but also all the general students.