Despite there being recognised core characteristics of ASD, it is the blend of a student's individual characteristics, the individual impact of 'ASD characteristics' and how they engage with the environment that produces the myriad of individual presentations.
As with teaching any student, motivating, engaging and challenging your student with ASD will rely upon discovering and utilising their individual:
- life experiences
- any co-existing health or well being concerns.
Developing an individual profile
Developing an individual profile of your student involves collating the following information:
- what your student likes (motivators, strengths, interests, calming activities)
- what your student dislikes (stress triggers, challenges)
- any strong interests, obsessions or fascinations (these may be calming or may trigger stress)
- strategies that have been useful in the past for calming the student
- social, sensory or communicative concerns, supports and successes
- any 'top tips' from people who already know the student
- information about the student's home and family life which is useful for building relationships
- what type of schedule or list of tasks your student is familiar with so you may visually plan their first day/sessions.
Information collated via an individual profile may be used to develop a timetable or schedule of events or activities for the new student that incorporates some known and preferred activities throughout the day to support a successful start to Prep. This also helps to plan and manage activities which may be stressful, such as scheduling them between breaks and preferred tasks.
As student's preferences are individualised and may change, it would be useful to update information each term or as new information arises.
It is important to remember that all students respond to their environment; both the physical environment and events or learning that may have happened in their past. Some students may appear to demonstrate behaviours and or skills in one environment and not in others. An individual profile can provide some information about the student and give some strategies which have been useful for specific environments, however it is important to note that an individual student's profile can change depending on the environment, and of course, the skills they have developed or generalised.
Example of an individual profile
Likes / interests:
| Cars, books, transport, animals, talking to others about cars, making books, being able to predict what will happen, or listening to audio stories with headphones
|Noise, changing activities, finishing, waiting, dirty hands, others touching possessions such as cars, books, or mat time
Obesssions & habits
Calming strategies/routines/ strategies that work
|Reading books, following a list, reading to get calm, playing with cars alone, being in control of routine by having some choice, small group or individual work initially, quiet area at back of room for breaks, audio stories, or visual information
Learning style / motivators
|Use of books, routine, lists, cars, reading, car expert, developing car books, time alone to play with cars or read books, limit changes of activities each session, same desk to sit at with box for books and cars, some choices in routine/schedule. Use of visuals
Information gathering tools
A number of planning tools useful for gathering information about a student have been provided to ensure the individual student, family and educators needs and experiences may be considered.