Implementing Rules in Autism Classrooms
Which Rules Are the Right Rules?
Seems like the one thing you know you need is some good rules for students in your classroom to follow… but what rules do you even pick? Truth is, this question is harder than you think. Students with Autism tend to be very concrete thinkers and, because they struggle with interpreting social cues, can also misconstrue rules.
Think of it this way. If you make a rule like NO RUNNING and really work hard to make sure that rule is followed, what happens when the student goes to gym? Or is at home playing with their brothers and sisters? What happens to the rule now?
So Which Rules Should I Have?
When you pick the rules you want to use in your classroom… what SHOULD you choose? You can pick whatever rules you’d like- it will really depend on instructional level and severity of student disabilities. Either way, I suggest phrasing the rules in a positive way (like Walk in Class as opposed to No Running). I love the rules attached in the Freebie you can score on the bottom of this post.
BUT, when it comes to implementing rules in Autism classrooms, what you really need is some great explicit instruction.
Explicit Instruction How?
When you teach students the rules for your classroom, you will have to really think about how you want them to follow your rules. THEN you will want to model the rule by showing students what it looks like in your classroom. Students will have to generalize the rule to other environments, so you will have to practice that too (for example, is listening ears just for teacher talk, or other student talk too). Finally, you will have to stay consistent when it comes to implementing rules in Autism classrooms… and adding visuals helps too.
So What Now?
Well, best bet is to get some rules posted in your room somewhere. You may also benefit from smaller desk sized visuals/rules in certain individual student’s area. You can work in large group to discuss what the rules look like, model, and practice them too. Then, when you have small group or 1:1 time, really reinforce the rules, review the visuals, and ask the student to model the target behavior. Over time, all your students will know the rules. You may also want to add physical gestures when you reference each rule as an additional layer of visual cueing for students to see.
So, stay strong and teach on!
Don’t forget to snag your FREE Printable Rule Cards!
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