This post originally appeared on the blog Simply Special Ed.
I am so happy to finally share about something I have been doing for the last 3 years in my classroom. Part of Autism Awareness is our duty to encourage acceptance in our own little bubble. For me, that means spreading the acceptance around my school.
The world has changed over the years. In the past, a general education teacher only had general education students. But today, the face of education is changing. General education teachers are seeing more and more children with Autism in their classrooms, and the acceptance of this is becoming more widespread. How can we keep this going and spread this acceptance out to ALL students too?
Host an Autism Acceptance Library!
It really is pretty simple. I have a library of books that promote differences, teach about Autism, stand up to bullies, and discuss disabilities. I put them in a bin outside my classroom door with a clipboard. Teachers fill out the clipboard to sign out a book, and I email them the link to download this file. (it’s free but please share the link so they can download themselves.)
Here is the link: http://bit.ly/AutismAcceptanceLibrary
The sign out sheet included has quick directions. It can easily be hooked on a door or just left in the bin. I like to keep the bin in my room so I can monitor easier, but you could put it in the library, office, or teachers lounge.
We also use these short fact sheets to explain Autism to students. There is also a fact sheet that you could send home to parents! They love that the school is teaching their children to love and accept all kids, and it really creates a more loving and accepting school community.
With each book, there is a worksheet to review. I also encourage teachers to talk as a class, make an anchor chart, and discuss if there ever times they felt they weren’t included and how it made them feel. This really opens the door to build classroom community and work on accepting all types of students.
The book companions ask comprehension questions, but also questions to make the kids think. I have heard of some teachers answering as a class on an interactive whiteboard too! This is just another way to get talking about the topics as a class.
Finally to wrap up the lesson, teachers can pass out these make a difference puzzle pieces. We like to have teachers decorate their door with them or make a train down the halls. Then everyone can read how to make a difference so it can become school culture.
Alyssa is a substantially separate special education teacher from Massachusetts and author of the blog, Simply Special Ed. Alyssa has a passion for creating resources to build independence in students with disabilities and adapting curriculum to meet the needs of all unique learners. Alyssa loves sharing simple ways to incorporate more into each day (& by more, she means teaching tips, puppies, and farmhouse furniture) @SimplySpecialEd on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.