Celebrating National Autism Awareness Month with Instructional Ideas

Almost 25 years ago, the Autism Society established April as National Autism Awareness Month in the United States.

What began as an effort to promote autism awareness and inclusion has grown into a larger movement. Now, the Autism Society encourages all of us to actively work toward assuring acceptance and appreciation for the unique gifts that all people contribute to their communities.

In schools, that can mean incorporating unique needs, interests, and abilities of all of your students into learning experiences.

As you design lessons, consider using Discovery Education’s Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) series to help you capitalize on meaningful, effective, and practical instructional ideas to incorporate digital resources to support and celebrate students of all learning differences.

Be sure to share what you did and how it went using the hashtag #SpotlightOnStrategies so we can learn from you, too!

SOS: 25 Things You Didn’t Know

CDN Version

25 Things You Didn’t Know is a teaching strategy that allows students to explore resources and filter out important details. Students identify new information from media resources and share the information in order to create a collaborative list of facts. For students that are very verbal and enthusiastic about a topic, this strategy provides an opportunity to learn more while structuring conversation reciprocity.

SOS: Pause and Play

CDN Version

The Pause and Play strategy provides structure to help students apply comprehension strategies to make sense of digital material they are viewing. Through repeated viewing and chunking of information, it allows students additional processing time to interpret the information. Consider supporting students with images or cue cards to indicate questions about a topic or when a connection is made.

SOS: Eye Spy

CDN Version

Eye Spy helps students develop visual literacy through the structured and intentional close reading of an image. Using this strategy, students revisit an image multiple times, each time looking deeper for more information that helps them make sense of what they see. This strategy promotes the use of a carefully scaffolded process that helps students notice details and consider the point of view of its subject.

SOS: Collage

CDN Version

Collage is a teaching strategy that helps students make connections and predictions. When students are introduced to a new topic through a collection of images, they are challenged to make sense of how the images may relate to each other. As students continue to learn about the topic, having a visual image to refer back to helps students activate knowledge and frame what they want to learn.

SOS: Reminds Me Of

CDN Version

Reminds Me Of encourages students to make connections to multimodal texts by accessing prior knowledge so they can better understand content. After a topic is introduced, students draw a picture of what they know about the topic. Alternatively, teachers could provide a series of pictures and have students select images that they believe relate to the topic. Then, as students experience a video on the topic, they indicate through movement when they make a connection.

SOS: Paper Chat

CDN Version

Paper Chat is a teaching strategy that allows students to develop critical thinking and communication skills, while ensuring that every student’s thoughts and opinions are heard. Students respond to a question, and then continue the conversation, by communicating on paper about a selected topic. Paper Chat is a cooperative teaching and learning strategy that empowers students to take part in group activities and reciprocal conversation. Consider asking students to represent ideas with text, drawings, or provide a set of images or cue cards as verbal supports.

SOS: Multiple Perspectives

CDN Version

With Multiple Perspectives, students engage deeply with an image or video as they assume a perspective other than their own. By closely examining the details within the media, students can immerse themselves in a topic and express understanding according to their unique learning style. This strategy stimulates empathy and prompts communication of thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.

SOS: Picture It

CDN Version

Picture It is a teaching strategy that uses images as the basis for classification of content. Students study images, and then divide them into different classifications and groups based on their own meaning and interpretation.



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