by Catherine Faherty, written in 2010, remains valid – in fact essential – today.
Treatment options and teaching strategies in the field of autism spectrum disorders abound, and most if not all dictate that individuals with ASD must ultimately change something about themselves: how they act, how they behave, how they respond to others, the way they think, what they think – how they interact and communicate. Most non-autistic people may not be aware of – nor acknowledge the courage it takes for children and adults on the spectrum to respond to a teacher’s or parent’s unquestioned expectations that they change something as basic as their natural way of interacting and communicating. On top of that, students more often than not, experience our teaching objectives and “their” educational goals as random, or even nonsensical demands. more “Make Agreements To Improve Mutual Communication”
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a highly controversial topic of conversation amongst parents and professionals was the question, “Should we tell our child that she has autism?”
Today most will agree that such self-knowledge is essential, that children need to understand how and why they may feel different from others around them…and what it means. In the absence of accurate information, all sorts of wrong conclusions may automatically fill in the gaps, which negatively affects a person’s self-knowledge. Now the question has changed to “How do I tell my child that she is on the spectrum?” I have developed these guidelines in the years since 1990 when I first tried to explain autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to a 10-year-old boy, one of my former students. The method must be autism-friendly! These ideas are visually clear and orderly, and features the familiar process of sorting concrete pieces of information into two categories. more “10 Guidelines for Telling Your Child about ASD”
A program to educate children about differences; to foster empathy and mutual understanding; with the option of supporting self-expression/self-advocacy by children on the spectrum.
Understanding Friends is designed to be presented to classes of students in the elementary and middle grades. Adaptations can be made for older classes. This article contains lesson plans and a list of supplies that you will need. After presenting this program in all its revisions, to thousands of students since 1985, I have found that usually it is most effective to go beyond the generic program (Option A) and to discuss specific issues, giving accurate information about real students in concrete situations. Options B and C will help you with this. Option D suggests ways to include the student with ASD in the presentation of this program, if so desired by the student. more “Understanding Friends”
About mentoring in general:
In some countries, finding a mentor is customary for teachers and therapists in their early years of practice. They typically seek out and ask an experienced professional to be their mentor – someone whom they have heard about, or have attended their lecture or seminar – someone whom they want engage in a learning relationship with. more “FAQ About Catherine Faherty’s Mentoring”
Everyday communication practice for children with autism.
Your child must learn that there is power in communication – that it is worthwhile to communicate, and that it can be fun! You must teach this intentionally and directly because typically, children with ASD do not automatically or easily engage in communication, and even if they speak (or type), they still do not initiate communication. Verbal skills often develop separately from communication skills. You will teach these important concepts by showing children that communication is an action; a “back-and-forth” action – a powerful action. They need to learn that they CAN make things happen, and HOW to make things happen!
Remember that visual learners learn most quickly and easily when teachers and parents use visual teaching strategies. So the key for teachers and parents is to teach in a way that their children can literally SEE reciprocity; the “back-and-forth” of communication. more “How To Teach The Power Of Communication”
Catherine Faherty has been creating autism teacher training models and speaking at conferences since the 1980’s. Below is a sampling of her most recent ideas from 2017 and 2018 speaking engagements, presentations, and professional training.
Catherine Faherty’s slide shown here, says:
There is an overabundance of information for autistic children and adults on “how to be social”…and it’s always from a non-autistic perspective.