After discussing the IEP and alternate plans for education, I thought I should bring in a professional parent who can discuss her experience operating outside of the traditional education system. Jenny Wise is passionate about giving her children the best education possible, and doing so from home. As a home educator, Jenny has an arsenal of resources for parents, therapists and teachers alike. I know I will be using many of these resources to create interventions for my clients! You can find even more ideas from Jenny on her website, Special Home Educator.
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As a special education teacher, parent or therapist, your time and resources are stretched thin. Fortunately, there’s a bevy of free curriculum, lesson plans, and planning tools available. Don’t reinvent the wheel when your colleagues and experts on teaching to the autism spectrum have done the tough work for you. The less time you have to spend making materials from scratch, the more you can dedicate to active teaching and building a relationship with your students.
Before the spring term begins, bookmark these sites and have a variety of lesson plans ready to go:
LoveToKnow: This site is a fantastic source for a wide variety of industries and demographics, and you’ll find a selection of lesson plans with short descriptions, examples and templates that are printer-friendly. From “Make a Social Skills Superhero Comic Book” to “The Red Stoplight Personal Space Game,” each lesson plan is designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum.
Pinterest: The site that taught you to make mason jar stacked salads is also a great place to find autism lesson plans. If you prefer visual lesson plans as inspiration, join 8,000 other followers who discovered over 1,000 simple autism spectrum lesson plans. Get inspiration for “Spelling LEGOs,” create your own “Eye Dropper Dot Counting” game and conduct your own “Dancing Raisins Experiment” in class.
Teachers.net. This classic site for educators also has a section for special education. Peruse the site and discover tips like Lesson #4507: Lessons for Young Children with Autism. Here, you’ll sort through task goals like play skills, communication and self-help skills so you can plan a variety of activities for your next session.
The Autism Teacher. You’re in good company with this blog, created and maintained by an “autism teacher” just like you. Nicole regularly archives her lesson plans because she knows how difficult it can sometimes be for special education teachers to come up with new and exciting ideas. Whether you replicate her curriculum exactly or simply use them as templates, you’ll never run out of options.
Positively Autism. Discover a plethora of free lesson plans, templates, resources and teaching materials crafted especially for teachers working on the autism spectrum. Always free and complete with a complimentary subscription so you can have the latest materials delivered directly to you, it’s a game changer (and often lifesaver!) for special education teachers.
Model Me Kids. This site is aimed at teachers of all demographics, but there are special videos specifically for those on the autism spectrum. Modeling behavior is an important tool for all students, but especially visual learners and those on the spectrum. The next time you’re tackling social skills, consider using a free video from this site.
Practical Autism Resources. This no-fuss, straightforward site has a style special education teachers can appreciate. To the point and easy, you have access to plenty of downloadable templates and lesson plans. With new pieces constantly added, you’ll never run out of ideas again.
BONUS: Zac Browser. It’s not a site for free lesson plans, but it is a browser designed just for children on the autism spectrum. If you’re an educator and your students need to use the internet in class, Zac Browser is an absolute must. It requires an invitation to download, but the process is quick and simple.
Teaching students on the autism spectrum requires a very special kind of teacher. Sometimes it can feel lonely, especially if you’re one of just a few special educators on the team (or the only one!), but don’t worry. There are many colleagues out there to support you—starting with offering free teaching tools. And don’t forget, it never hurts to think outside the box when it comes to learning activities. Real-life experience can prove very beneficial to any student, regardless of age or skill level.
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