Robertsmom asks:

Is there any research that shows what the best learning environment is for kids with autism?

I've heard it is in classes with just autistic students.
Question asked after reading:
In Topics: School and Academics, Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago



Aug 26, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to your question because the "best" learning environment for each child is really dependent upon the unique needs of the child. As you have most likely experienced, there is a great deal of variability between children diagnosed with autism. Some children with Autism may do very well in a mainstreamed or inclusive classroom, while others require a more restrictive or separate class.

That said, in a 2006 survey, Autism and Education Alternatives, parents, behavior specialists, and therapists were asked about their greatest concerns regarding the educational environment and their preferences regarding placement. Respondents indicated that they believe teacher training, smaller class size, teacher aides and technology were very important. Parents identified teachers who specialize in Autism as a top priority.

Thus, I invite you to make a list of your child's educational and behavior needs and think about the sort of classroom environment that would best suit his needs. Some mainstream classrooms may provide the right environment for your son with structure and supports for behavior management. However, if this is not available, and your child's needs are too great, then you can begin the process of advocating for your child and the right classroom. I have included a link to the Autism Society's state resources page. If you find that you and your child's school do not agree on placement, you may need some additional support.

Warm regards,

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist JustAsk Expert
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