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Parma
Parma asks:
Q:

If you have a student in your classroom who is autistic and screams loudly, how do you as a classroom teacher help the other students to deal w/this?

In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Oct 15, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello Parma and thank you so much for asking this question.

As a School Psychologist I have met many teachers who have children in their classrooms that have significant learning challenges.  There are a number of ways to help your students understand why this student screams and to perhaps ease the situation.  Keep in mind there are a variety of reasons, known and unknown, why your student with autism is screaming.  You may wish to consult with the special educators in the school for their assistance.  Also, the parent may have good strategies to help you, as well.  I also suggest the following:

1-  Reading to the class a new book that was developed to assist children with learning how to be a friend and fellow student to a child with autism who is in their school/classroom/neighborhood.  The book is titled, "The Friendship Puzzle" by Julie Coe and Jennifer Maloni.  The Friendship Puzzle tells the story of how two children, one with autism and without, become friends despite some developmental and behavioral differences. The forward is by Dr Rebecca Landa who is the Director of the Center of Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy-Krieger Institute).  The back of the book includes a section of classroom interventions and ideas for teachers /parents.  I am making this recommendation based on my assumption that you teach students from 3-12 years of age?

2- You also can ask for assistance by the special education team to prompt the young person with autism to not yell by either 1) communicating what he wants or needs by using either speech, sign language and/or assistive technology. 2) having you (and other teachers) prompt him/her to settle by raising a small graphic in the form of a sign that signals this student to relax and use another form of communication  3) Also you can use sign language in the room to prompt the student to self calm or ask in another manner what he needs or wants.

3) Ask for help.  Like I said previously, others may have suggestions and strategies to assist you.  Please keep in mind that some students with Autism simply yell for what seems like no apparent reason.  If the screaming is interruptive throughout the day then you may need to reconvene the entire special education team and ask for assistance, such as in the form of a teacher's aide who can help this child by perhaps taking extra breaks (e.g. walking about the halls), going to another quieter section of the classroom, etc.  This may mean changes to his current IEP.

I have added some helpful websites for you that you may find helpful.  Best of luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
http://www.SigningFamilies.com
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Additional Answers (2)

LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
I would use this as a wonderful teaching lesson to the entire class.  I would sit the entire class down and talk about disabilities - and how some people have disabilities that you can't see and some people have disabilities that you can see.  We all have something about us that is different. And that is OK!  There is a great book called "Don't Laugh At Me."  It comes with a CD song.  You could use this book and song as a teaching lesson with a great discussion at the end.  Promote a discussion and praise the children for all their understanding and that we are all here together in the world and we all must work together as a community - helping each other.
> 60 days ago

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ilovechefwilliam
ilovechefwi... , Teacher, Caregiver writes:
I teach children with autism in a mostly self-contained classroom.  This year, however, we have started the Stallion H.E.R.D. (Hearts Empowering and Rewarding Diversity)  It is just a program where we go in and educate the students about how students with autism might act.  All parents understood that we would be giving this presentation.  There have been so many students that have really helped out with some different friendship needs since this program has been done.    We read the book "Since We're Friends" and I used some of the information from "The Autism Acceptance Book"  It is also a good idea to talk to the special educaiton teachers about some different non-verbal prompts you might be able to give this student.

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