Teaching of Children with Autism: a Comparative Study Essay

The McKenzie Centre is an early intervention institution which provides part-time training for children with special needs and their families; Patricia Avenue School is a special education school which provides full-day teaching or children with special needs; Woodstock School is a mainstream school which provides services for all children and children with special needs. I went to each school once a week for half a day each time, which was regarded as the best way to understand the teaching practice.

In addition, I interviewed 10 professional teachers who teach autistic students in order to find out their basic beliefs about teaching autistic children. Besides, I also completed informal interviews with one lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland to understand deeply the talent raining method of special education. Data was also collected in Changed from March 2011 to July 2011.

According to the original research design, the autistic teaching in three schools was investigated and observed in Changed. The participating centers were Examine Education Centre, Early Childhood Intervention Centre of Changed and Xi Mapping Primary School of Changed. They are an early respectively. Accordingly, a total 17 professional teachers who teach autistic students were interviewed in Changed and the teaching practices of 9 teachers were observed. All data was collected by the end of July 2011.

The findings Hamilton and Confounder each part of the researchers as follows: 1) The value of autism teaching is interesting to note that although there are some differences between the different teachers from different schools in two cities, the root belief is in common: all teachers threat the autistic child as the same as normal child. They think every child has developmental potential and Just needs more support and teaching guidance to explore their latent capacity. T is also worth noting that teachers working in all 3 types of school in Changed have similar teaching value with teachers irking in the special education school and the mainstream school in Hamilton. Specifically, promoting the children’s development and helping them to their own independent life as much as possible are the main values of autism teaching. Len their view,children’s parent’s and their families are not taken too much into account. By contrast, the teachers who work in an early intervention institution believe that the value of autistic teaching is to help the autistic children and their families have a better life.

In other words, they want to help autistic children through helping their parent’s. Inconsequently, it seems like the difference in values is mainly due to the type of school and its teaching philosophy. 2)The aims of autism teaching. There are 4 sub- questions for this part and more similarities rather than differences are found . Primarily, both sets of participants(teachers) in Hamilton and Changed hold the idea that the final aim of autistic teaching is to help the autistic child have normal life based on his ability.

Accordingly, almost all the participants said that they have concrete aims about every session for every autistic child which conforms with the individualized education plan of each child. However, that is not to say that they lack some common teaching aims for all children. By contrast, they all think some common teaching aims would help children with autism have better development, especially for their social development. Meanwhile, the differences cannot be ignored.

Firstly, teachers in the early intervention institutions in Hamilton and in Changed argue that parent’s can bring dominant and profound influences on their children’s father development and thereby parent’s should be regarded as an indispensable part in daily teaching. Teachers at the other centers claim that parent’s household not participate in the daily teaching because the teaching value emphasizes the development of children’s independence. Secondly, teachers have different ideas in terms of parent’s’ role in deciding their children’s placement.

Generally, teachers in Hamilton believe that parent’s’ decisions should be given priority in deciding their children’s future placement. In contrast, teachers in Changed claim that autistic children’s real developmental situation should be the most significant factor to determine whether the children should enter a mainstream school or a special education school. * 3)The skills and manners of teaching. Three main sub-questions are asked about this topic in the interviews. It is obvious that there is a striking difference in the field of the skills of problem-behavior management between Hamilton and Changed.

Specifically, early intervention teachers who work in the mainstream school and the special school in Hamilton have lots of effective skills and students’ reactions and behavior. However, teachers such as the speech therapist, occupational therapist and Para-professional teachers have few ideas of how to deal with the problem-behavior. As one of the participants said “if students have serious robber-behavior,’ usually ask the intervention teacher or psychologist for help”.

Compared with teachers in Hamilton, those who work in Changed have little skills and abilities to manage autistic children’s problem-behavior and predict their reactions and behavior (no matter what are their main roles). For example, one early childhood education teacher in Changed said “it is a really tough work for me to manage the children’s problem-behavior, I want to study more about this field”. In addition, an enormous difference is also found in terms of teaching theories about autistic teaching.

Most of the teachers in Hamilton are familiar with ABA(Applied Behavior Inalienability’s(Treatment and education of autistic and related communication handicapped children), PECS(Picture exchange communication system) and social story. They often use them together. That merman teachers prefer to use different theories in different teaching steps. Among the autistic teaching theories,PECS is the most popular one. Every teacher uses PECS everyday. However, most teachers in Changed Just know some of the theories and can not use them in an integrated way.

In other words, teachers rarely adopt more than 3 theories in their daily teaching. Among various teaching theories, PECS is still the most popular teaching method in their teaching. RD’ (Relationship development intervention) and another native teaching method developed by the Weep Hong society of Honking are the second and third monstrously teaching theories and methods respectively. Although lots of differences are found in this part there is one aspect in common,it is that everyone pays attention to the importance of cooperation. All the teachers agree with the view that team work plays a dominant role in autism teaching.

Almost all the participants both in Changed and Hamilton have team meetings every week, they live that those meetings can help them teach autistic children in a more effective and scientific way. One of the interviewees in Hamilton said “we have team meeting every week,and we share all the information about our teaching and children’s development so that anyone can take over my Job when I go outside or have an emergency. “4)Teaching practice: There are enormous differences in the teaching practices between the different kinds of school and between the two cities.

In this part, narratives of some teaching stories are presented in order to represent the character of the different teaching practices. The first story from Hamilton (in a special classroom in the mainstream school):Len the morning, the teacher showed the time-table to all the children when they arrived to school. The time-table included : Greeting, calendar months, daily exercises, Library,Toilet,Mortgaging, Reading,Math, Toilet, Lunch, Relaxation,Story time, Transport,Choosing,Duties,Buses, with the relevant pictures.

All the activities in that day conformed with the time-table. Two sessions are described as follows:Morning tea:Students used PECS in this part. Students chose the picture which represented their meaning first, then showed it to the teacher. The teacher supported them to do the things they wanted to do. For example, one student choose 3 pictures to express ‘l want my lunch box’,and then the teacher gave the lunch box to him. Let is also worth noting that the teacher made while they displayed the pictures, others Just needed to show the pictures. N addition, one girl, E did not want to eat anything and became angry. The teacher said ‘stop’, you must stop’,but E could not control herself very well. Consequently, teacher let her stand up and go to one of the corners of the classroom. The teacher said that sometimes autistic children need some time to release. Nearly five minutes later,E came back quietly and began to eat Hereford. Daily exercises: All the caustic children went to the playground playing with the other children. They swans together, they jumped on the trampoline and so on.

When the autistic children ran around the playground, the other children (non-autistic children) accompanied them voluntarily and encouraged them until they arrived at the destination. The first story from Changed is about an autistic child in the mainstream school: Considering the fact that there is no special classroom in the mainstream school in Changed, the story bout the autistic child in the mainstream school can be described in this part. The autistic child -L was welcomed by one of his classmates at the school gate in the morning (His classmates should welcome him in turn everyday).

After a short conversation, they went into the classroom together. L sat in the first row and his best friend sat next to him. When the class began, L began to play with his finger and did not concentrate on the class, making the teacher call his name several times in the class. The next class was mathematics, L suddenly shouted in the middle of the class. His best friend accompanied him to the teacher’s office where he released himself for a while under the supervision of another teacher. At the same time, other students continued to study in their classroom and were not disturbed by Line’s behavior.

When L calmed down, he returned to the classroom. But he could only play alone because it was the break time of the class. At that time, most his peers played outside of the classroom because they had 20 minutes to have a rest. Like the situation in the former classes, L still could not control himself very well during the later classes. It is worth noting that the response of the teachers were similar regarding L’s performance in the classroom which was Just calling his name. After the four classes, L and his classmates went to the dining room in the school for lunch. The second story from Hamilton (in the special education school): In the morning, when all the children sat in the classroom the teacher began to call the roll and gave different students different tasks, such as ‘give me five’, hug . Etc. ‘ Then the teacher demonstrated the timetable which included “Good morning, Individual time, What are we going to do today? Trace your name, Cutting skills, PECS, Toilet, Morning tea, Playtime, PL goals, TEACH, Reading and words, Songs and actions, Toilet, Lunch, Playtime, Toilet, Story, Walk, Put the chairs away, Pack your bag, Music and relax, Goodbye, Home-bus”.

When the teacher introduced the time-table to the students, one student was asked to do individual study in which the learning assistant became the individual’s teacher. According to the topic of the day and the level of the individual’s learning, different students had different tasks, some of them counted from 1 to 5 while others counted from 1 to 20. Trace your name: The teacher used the same music as the transition from one activity to another. Before beginning the new activity, teacher pointed to the timetable and told students: “we will do trace your name two minutes later” “we will do trace your name one minute later”. We are different tasks, some of them needed to write their name, some of them matched their names; others Just copied their first name. Len addition, J was a new student who had only been attending the school for one week. So it was reasonable that the teacher paid more attention to him, especially to his behavior. For example, when he ran away or could not sit very well, the teacher always used some simple words, like “sit down”, ‘stand up’, ‘l will count to 3, if you cannot stand up, I will pick you up’.

The teacher said: “It is significant for the children developing the habit which was to conform to the teacher’s order”. The second story from Changed (in the special education school): In the morning, when parent’s or minders sent the autistic child into the classroom, most children had time to play freely. It lasted until all the children arrived at the classroom. Then the teacher asked the children to do some ironing exercises, with their parent’s or minder’s help and guidance. The next stage was group teaching in which the teacher taught all the children with their parent’s’ help.

But it is worth noting that most of the time parent’s Just followed the teacher’s orders and kept their children quiet. The content of teaching was to know different voices of different merman of transportation, such as abuse, train and bicycle. After watching the television, the teacher asked a child to imitate the voices or the movement of different kinds of transport one by one and gave them different praise. Then it was individualized teaching time, some children went to different rooms to receive individualized education and others stayed in the classroom to complete some occupational tasks.

The teacher said “we cannot do individualized education for every child at the same time due to the insufficiency of teachers”. Nearly 45 minutes later, all the children returned to the classroom and lunch began. The third story from Hamilton (in the early intervention centre): Activity 1: A five year old girl named J came to the centre with her mother in the morning. Her work was to count from 1 to . Accordingly, 5 cushions were placed in a line with different heights in the play room. The task for J was to Jump up and down from the cushions while counting from 1 to 5 .

Although the teacher gave her clear instructions, J always forgot to count the first cushion and began to count with the second one. As guidance, the teacher kept emphasizing “one” when she Jumped on the first cushion. After several practices,] became impatient and then the teacher asked her to choose one game she liked while she talked with her mother. The teacher analyzed G’s performance and pointed UT the student’s progress and inadequate counting skills, then shared some teaching strategies with G’s mother for teaching her at home.

It is worth noting that G’s mother always participated in the class as a teacher assistant or participant. Activity 2: music time: All the children and their parent’s sat in a circle, one teacher stood in the middle, and let one student choose one of the cards from her hand which were the photos and names of the children. The one who was selected had the opportunity to choose the song which was played next, as well as pick the correct toy n a large box. Every toy represented a song.

Others sang a song while the child chose the toy, which is “What is in the box, what is in the box, what is in the box, what will xx choose, what will xx choose, what will xx choose”. Then all the children and parent’s and teachers would play the song. When they finished one song, a new cycle began again. The third story from Changed (in the early intervention centre): A 5 year His mother was not entitled to go into the room when L had his class. The work for L was to say some words of fruit, such as “apple”, “orange” and “grape”.

The teacher seed L to sit in a limited space where L could not move as he pleased. Some pictures of fruit were presented in front of Line turn and the teacher tried to pronounce the names clearly and repetitively. The prize “potato chip” was given as soon as possible if L pronounced the right word. Then the teacher asked L to watch the television where different fruit was presented in turn and L was required to pronounce these. Several times later, L became impatient. The teacher tried to use simple words to stop him from shouting such as “stop’ “be quiet”, “l will be fine”.

Several minutes eater, L calmed down and began to do the work again. Forty minutes later, L finished his class and went to the integrated sensory room to play. Some children were playing in the room individually. Although the teacher encouraged L to play with one of them, he seemed to prefer to play alone. So the teacher talked with his mother when he played in the room. He said “L can clearly say and distinguish “apple” from “grape”, but cannot say “orange” and “banana”. You should grasp every chance to train him to pronounce those two fruits”.

After playing for a while, Line and his mother left the centre. It is worth noting that no group work can be found in there. To conclude, it is clear that enormous differences can be found in the field of teaching Practices between the different schools and different cities. Firstly, clear instruction (time table) was used in the mainstream school and special education school in Hamilton when the students arrived at school in the morning This can help autistic children clearly know what they will do in the day and help their emotional stability to some extent.

Compared with the situation in Hamilton, no clear instruction can be found in the counterparts in Changed. Secondly, teachers in Hamilton paid more attention on students’ individualized teaching in group teaching – they were used to give different students different tasks while teachers in Changed Just adopted individualized teaching in the children’s individualized special training time. In addition, visual teaching aids were widely used in all kinds of school in Hamilton while they were widely used in the special education centre and early childhood intervention centre in Changed.

Moreover, more teaching strategies about students’ problem behavior were adopted in all kinds of school in Hamilton than that in Changed. Last but not the least, parent’s in early childhood intervention centre in Hamilton was the teachers’ cooperators while parent’s in the special education centre and early childhood intervention centre in Changed were the executable of teachers’ instructions.

It seems like the only similarity with different kinds of school and two cities is that all the teaching used simple words when they taught autistic children. 5) Assessment of learning: There is some common ground on the assessment of learning in Hamilton and Changed. First of all, all the teachers participate in the recess of assessment and the formulation of Peps (Individualized Education Plan) or PEPS (Personal Education Plan) and provide professional assessments for their students.

Secondly, all the teachers perceive their role in the assessment as “evaluators”, “participants”, “constitution” and plan makers. Moreover, all the teachers regarded the results of PEP or PEP as a mirror to reflect their teaching. Practically, they reflect their teaching according to the contents of PEP or PEP regularly; they also situations. Although all the teachers use professional formal assessment tools to purport their evaluation, the evaluation tools are diverse.

For example, The Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs-Third edition(Both the curriculum and its matched assessment are the third edition), the Assessment log and developmental progress chart, Assessment, Education and Programming system for infants and children, Preschool language scale (the fourth edition) can be found in Hamilton while Developmental Learning Package – Curriculum Guide and Development Assessment Chart (Revised Edition), Hong Kong Preschool Fine Motor Developmental Assessment (HECK-PANDA) Examiner’s Manual ; Tools and Psycho- educational Profile (Third Edition) (Chinese Edition with CD-ROOM) ; Training Package for Autistic Children(which was developed by Division TEACH of the University of North Carolina in the U. S. A and the Chinese Edition was translated by Weep Hong Society) are more popular in Changed. 6) Teacher’s professional development: The finding of this part is quite unexpected for the researcher; not only the opportunities for each teacher’s professional development but also on the attitude of each teacher toward the professional development between two cities.

Specifically, in Hamilton, every teacher has various chances to do further study every ear. Principally, only when the teacher submits his plan of further study, does the director of the centre or school support him and give him financial support. Compared with teachers in Hamilton, the teachers in Changed have relatively less opportunity to do further study. Generally, those opportunities were often given to the excellent teachers or seasoned teachers. In addition, the motivation for teachers to complete further study is quite different. Specifically, there are two main reasons for supporting teachers to do professional development, the first is love. All the teachers love their work.

For example, one of the interviewees said: “When I Just came to New Zealand and got this Job, I thought I should go back to mainstream school one day because I had rich experiences in teaching normal students, but now my mind is totally changed, I love this Job, I love all the children, I enjoy every tiny progress the students make. I think I need to go to university to do professional study of special education. I want to be the best one. The second reason is for the needs of work. With the rapid development of special education, teachers need to keep studying to help the students as much as possible. Unlike teachers in Hamilton, teachers in Changed may consider the continuing study as an effective way to enhancing their surviving ability. This is simply because most teachers teaching autistic children lack professional knowledge.

In other words, insufficient professional knowledge and skills, together with worry about losing their Job is the main reason to promote continuing study. However, it is also interesting to note that some teachers said they have a deep desire to do a better Job in their work. It is similar to the second reason in Hamilton. The only aspect in this part in common between the two cities is that cheers are interested in a diverse range of training courses: Some of them prefer to study teaching skills/teaching theory, some want to participate in some special programmers; others have a plan to attend university in order to study special education. ) Basic demographic data: Fifty percent of the participating teachers have worked as special education teachers for nearly 1 5 years, 30% teachers have this Job interviewees include 2 early intervention teachers, 2 specialists, 2 speech therapists, 2 Para-professional teachers, 1 physical therapist and 1 occupational therapist. Seven cheers have a Diploma of Special Education and relevant majors, For example, a Diploma of Speech Therapy, while three teachers have a Diploma of Education. It is also worth noting that only 3 interviewees graduated in New Zealand universities. Others gained diplomas in Australia, UK and South Africa. Compared with the situation in Hamilton, only 3 teachers from Changed have a Diploma of Special Education while others graduated from other majors, such as elementary education, Chinese language and literature and so on.

In terms of their professional roles, there are 6 early intervention teachers, 3 specialists, 4 speech therapists, 2 physical harpists and 2 occupational therapists. All of them have worked as special education teachers less than 10 years and most of them have worked in this field less than 5 years. Overall, it is clear that more similarities are found in terms of the value of teaching, the aims of autism teaching, assessment of learning while more differences are found in other fields when comparing the situation of autistic teaching in Hamilton and Changed. The teachers’ abilities of problem-management and using teaching strategies in Hamilton were more effective than those used in Changed.

This is simply because autistic children in Hamilton have less problem behavior and are calmer in the class when comparing with their counterparts in Changed. Obviously, various reasons can be taken into account. In this research, teachers’ learning background, teachers’ chances of professional development cannot be ignored. In the future, the researcher can do in-depth research to explore the root reason of those differences and similarities. | 2. | A description of your experience of the protectorate were the highlights? What went really well? What problems did you have? Did you meet your proposed timeshares? If you have disseminated your research, what feedback have you had?

I I In August 2010, before this project was approved, the principal researcher Zion CIA began to do observations in 3 the schools in Hamilton, so at the end of October, the observation lasted more than 2 months. After the project was approved by the Winter research office at the end of September, the researcher began to do interviews with teachers in 3 schools. At the end of October, the researcher had collected all the data and information that the project proposed. From November, the researcher began the data analysis and repaired to write the final report (New Sealant’s part). During the process, I received support from the School of Education and Winter Research Office, also from the 3 schools. With this help, the project could be carried out successfully. The observations in schools went very well.

During the process, the researcher and schools/teachers gradually built up a good relationship. The schools showed a lot of interest in the situation of special education in China. So we promised that the schools would have appropriate access to the information arising from this project. The interviews also went well. Most of participants told the researcher that the interview made them reflect on their own value of autism teaching, which helped them to build more concrete educational ideals. Like the situation in Hamilton, all the schools and teachers observed and interviewed in Changed said that the research helped them reflect on their teaching.

They also expected the outcome of the some problems about ethical issues, which was mainly because the principal researcher was not familiar with the regulations in New Zealand, but with the help of the Human Ethics Committee of Winter and School of Education, those problems were resolved. However, unfortunately, we did not meet our proposal timeshare. Although the research in Hamilton went very well in Hamilton, the part in Changed was not finished as expected. This is simply because the principal researcher had not enough time to analyze the data after collecting them in Changed. Consequently, the final report was delayed. | 3. | Your research output(s). Please clearly indicate what research output(s) you have obtained and whether it is the same as your planned output(s). Explain any difference. I I At present, the research output is the final report.