Inclusion practices are education models which enable children with autism to continue with their education among children without autism. Thanks to inclusive education practices, children with autism succeed more in adapting to their social environments. Starting at an early age, inclusive practices are substantially beneficial for children to have better social skills in their future life. For children who have difficulty in social adaptation, inclusive practices matter greatly as they become more successful through it.
Inclusion demands attention. Before inclusive practice, social and academic skills of autistic children should be observed in OÇEMs (Autistic Children Education Center) and only if they meet the necessary criteria the inclusive practice should be applied. The operation form of the practice is also crucial.
Precautions to Take and Necessary Information for a Successful Inclusion
- For an inclusive practice to succeed, first of all, teachers and personnel of the school that the practice will take place should be trained and have awareness on the subject.
- Besides general training, teachers should be given special trainings on learning types of children with autism.
- To have a successful inclusion, teachers should improve themselves on diversifying their curriculum depending on the needs of the children.
- Teachers should have a training from experts for at least 1 full day.
- Teachers should be able to give training developing an IEP.
- Co-teachers should also get training on in-service programs that include autism.
- It is beneficial for teachers and co-teachers to get a training together to better work with each other.
- Besides teachers, the success rate of inclusive programs increases with school administrator taking the training to gain awareness.
- After necessary training sessions are completed, child can be put in inclusive classroom. The child should sit in a place where he will feel comfortable, won’t feel alienated and not get distracted when he is put into the class.
Other students in the classroom should also be informed by the teachers and they should be aware that an individual with autism in their classroom. It is important for children to gain awareness in terms of communication. If the children know how to communicate with autistic children, there would be less problems relating to adaptation. When autistic children start to get closer with their class mates, they learn and develop social skills by taking their behaviors as models.
When developing their curriculum, teachers should specify the concepts and areas that might be complicated or rather abstract and teach accordingly. Also, it would be beneficial for teachers to make use of medical assessments, information taken from parents and educational assessments while they develop IEP.
Reinforcers that activate child should be detected and a reward system should be developed.
In learning, senses are important for children with autism. Thus, while taking the sense approach in teaching, it would be easier for children to grasp the concept if the senses they preferred are taken as basis.
Again, during education, for a child with autism to better grasp the subject, symbols, sounds and colors can be used while paying attention to child’s features.
Another factor to increase the success of inclusive practices is to familiarize the child with the education environment beforehand. It would be helpful to show the child the classroom at the school he would go to, at out of school time. Again, if possible, the child would be more comfortable with concreting the situation if he was shown the photographs of the teachers and other students he would be with. The child would be less stressful adapting the environment if he has a family member or a trusted person with him on the first day of classes. Depending on communication skills of the child, it would be efficient to develop symbols that concrete the first day of school before inclusive practice. It is important not to put pressure on the child if his participation is limited when he starts school. It would be more useful for inclusion in the long term if he shows participation on his own.
As stated above, for inclusive practices to succeed, there are many factors to be completed and need attention. When these criteria are met, children with autism can have a more productive life and a successful future.
- Inclusion in Edutaion of Children with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome Ass. Prof. Dr. Alev Girli