The article main purpose is to sensitize the need for new strategies that would harness inclusion of students with ASD into general classrooms. It creates awareness, promotes the need for familiarization of teachers to these strategies, which are categorized as preventive, supportive or corrective. The authors open by citing two main factors that influence teachers in general classrooms in their involvement with students suffering from autism (ASD). These factors, according to the authors, are influenced by the increasing emphasis on inclusion of affected students in general classrooms as well as their increasing rate of prevalence. The arguments are backed by monitoring data released by Center for Disease Control (CDC), regarding the same. The article affirms that even though these students have been segregated, there has been need for their inclusion in general classrooms. It argues that those involved have shown tremendous improvements in social activities, and in the processes increasing their social circles as opposed to those in segregated locations. The authors argue that more often than not, positive social development is usually achieved in autism students who learn side by side with their developing peers (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 2).
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They also admit that there is need for special approaches and strategies for ASD students in general classrooms, this poses further challenges to teachers who are not adequately familiarized with social, cognitive, communication and behavioral challenges, which that may act as barriers to their success. Among the supports required are those that improve their social integration in general classrooms. The article therefore proposes workable techniques and strategies that could harness social integration through improved behaviors, communication and academic engagement. Strategies named include preventive, supportive and corrective measures. It argues that most teaches naturally respond to corrective options rather than preventive or supportive techniques and therefore proposes change to the latter (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 4).
Preventive tips are usually done before lessons and ensures smooth flow of activities, supportive are employed in the process of teaching and are used to remind students of expectations in terms of their behaviors and responses. Corrective measures, on the other hand, are employed, whenever negative incidents occur, and are aimed at redirecting the students. The article sensitizes need for improved engagement of ASD students to avoid isolation. These can be done by providing different instructional formats in preventive tips as it would increase their options for participations, other ways include enhancing more active engagements in the lessons as supportive tips, and using prompting-fading method as correctional strategies (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 6).
This article brings out the need to integrate effectively, students with autism, in general classrooms as well as providing possible strategies and techniques that teachers would use to enhance and sustain this inclusion. It proposes several preventive, supportive and corrective measures that the authors think would spur this process of inclusion. They have used several relevant studies to support this thought, these include those from Williams, Fryxell, among others. The article is well-researched and brought out, with proposals specifically addressing their objectives, which is the inclusion of ASD students in regular classrooms. This they do, by identifying concrete strategies backed with data from valid sources like CDC, DSM-IV-TR among others (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 3).
Current conditions that includes teacher’s unfamiliarity with engagement techniques , rising prevalence of autism and the increasing need for their inclusion are conveyed, with changes such as teacher’s need to start by preventive and supportive strategies, rather than the usual corrective measure are also proposed. These changes are aimed at improving engagement of ASD students in their social, behavioral and academic progress. The authors also propose close monitoring and collaboration between parents, teachers, and practitioners at different levels of these students. Data and tables from valid sources have been used to give clear examples of strategies ranging from preventive to corrective. These are very essential as they address objectives of the authors in this article (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 8).
The article proposes strategies that would enhance successful inclusion of ASD students into classrooms. These strategies include preventive such as differentiate assessment, supportive like differential reinforcements, and corrective such as prompt-fading methods. However, some limitations have been noted for this research, they include its inability to point out specific interventions for each student, and therefore propose inclusion of other practitioners, teachers and parents (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 8).
Parents, practitioners and special schoolteachers should be included in process of integration to offer more support and enhancement of social, behavioral and cognitive development in children with ASD (Leach & Lou, 2009, p. 8)
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Leach D. & Lou D. M. (2009). Supporting Students With Autism Disorders in Inclusive Settings. Intervention in Schools and Clinics 2009 45: 31. Sage Publishers.