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ESL and Autism

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by chereneonline, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. chereneonline

    chereneonline New commenter

    Help Please!

    I am an ESL teacher. I teach the following students:

    Once per week - 4yr old girl - Auditory Processing Disorder
    3 x per week - 4yr old boy - On autism spectrum, but cannot get details of his condition from the school. He displays no interest in class activities and is often violent towards the other three boys in his class (there are only four kids in this class) without provocation.
    In the same class, another boy is very vocal, uncooperative and disruptive.

    Now, I am new to teaching and I need all the help I can get.
    I have worked out a few ideas for the 4yr old girl, but how do I get a class of 4yr old boys to work with me. I only have 45minutes with them at a time.
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Special educational provision only works properly when all stakeholders, parents, teachers, outside agencies collaborate to meet a vulnerable learner's needs. If you are delivering your ESL lessons within a school that claims to meet the needs of every student regardless of age or ability, you need to insist on access to the educational history of the young learners in your charge, including details of the diagnosis of their SEN condition and the recommendations of the diagnostician regarding follow-up procedures and interventions.

    You are having to cope with a "double exceptionality" in the case of these children, their SEN condition and their ESL status, which means finding out what works for them. There is a very good booklet about teaching English to learners on the autistic spectrum, but the advice it gives may not always be age-appropriate as it relates to key stage 3 and 4. Still, it may be worth a look:
    The only other advice I can give is to try and identify each child's strengths rather than dwell on their weaknesses. Misbehaviour often results from latent frustration or fear of failure and in the case of children with ASD it may be best to find out first what appeals to them rather than impose a generic diet of subject matter.
  3. ClearAutism

    ClearAutism New commenter

    Just because you can't see the provocation (I prefer to use the term, 'trigger")doesn't mean it isn't there. Autism typically has longer processing time, especially in younger children, so he may be reacting to something that happened before you even entered the room.

    I wonder what you are expected to do/achieve in 45 minutes with four very different disabled children? Sounds like a bg ask. Have you been given any objectives?
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I imagine attitudes to SEN are similar in Thailand as to here in China where I am - 'let's not talk about it and just pretend it's not there'.

    What sort of school are you in? If it's an international school with a SENCO, I'd say talk to them. I imagine though that it's a local school with local kids, or an evening/weekend school. Do you have TAs in your classes? Do you have schemes of work that you have to follow? Do the kids have assessments? What are the parental expectations?

    Depending on your restraints (according to your school), try to have a classroom routine. I used to teach kindergarten, and we'd start off sitting down and I'd ask them each 'How are you today?' and draw smiley/sad faces on the board, which amused them (one girl always grinned and told me she was sad today, because she loved it when I drew a sad face with tears streaming down). Then I'd teach them some new vocab or review old vocab using some flashcards, then we'd play a flashcard game (run and touch the apple, go and find the banana, etc). Trying to make the lessons as fun as possible, as active as possible, so they can move about, but not touch each other or push each other over.

    Then we'd have a chill out section of the lesson - sit down and colour in a bowl of fruit. As they were doing it I'd ask 'what colour is your banana' etc.

    Then I'd play a song from the British Council website and they'd run around, and leave the class happy.

    If you have a TA, then have them focus on the kids who need attention.

    I used to make these reward boards, which showed a picture of some coconut trees, then the sky with a rocket in it - all the kids had their own monkeys, which they'd coloured in, and the monkeys moved up the trees towards the rocket (if they reached the rocket they got to fly home in the rocket, haha). At the end of the lesson they lined up according to where their monkeys were, and I'd let them choose a sticker (best sticker went first, obviously).

    What do other teachers at your school do?

    Will the parents get involved? Can someone help you communicate with the parents when the kids do something naughty, such as hit each other.

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