Are you looking for tips for autism back to school?
I follow a Facebook group for Special Education teachers. One teacher asked, “Does the ‘going back to school anxiety’ ever go away?!”
Then she added, “. . . my anxiety is through the roof.”
Is that how YOU feel?
I think about the many years I have spent as a speaker in front of hundreds and thousands of people.
"Butterflies" are normal before you go "on stage." It's a way of becoming ready and alert for the work you are going to do. Perhaps returning to a classroom is the same.
Deep anxiety is different
Anxiety comes from not feeling prepared. I’ve talked with thousands of teachers and support staff in the autism community. There are basically two groups.
Tons of experience
Some educators and therapists have spent years specializing in working with individuals with an ASD diagnosis. Autism is their expertise. That doesn’t mean they know all the answers, but they have the knowledge they need to find solutions to create success.
Most teachers and support staff feel like they fit into this group. Some have a little experience with autism. They may have had one or two or a handful autistic students. Others are totally new to the world of autism.
I sent a survey asking several thousand of my newsletter readers questions about in-service training. They all reported they need more training.
They want to learn
They report not enough autism in-service time. Unfortunately, I heard from too many teachers and those in support roles (para-professional, student assistant type jobs) who have been placed in their positions with no training. Zero.
That's not fair to the students and it's not fair to the staff.
The survey produced questions
The survey participants asked a lot of questions that I answered in AUTISM SUCCESS SECRETS.
I realize that random tips for autism back to school can be helpful, but understanding the “big picture” of autism is important, especially for beginners or those who do not have a lot of experience with ASD.
Back to that teacher with anxiety
She wrote something else. She said she worries about being a “good teacher.”
I wrote a message back to her with tips for autism back to school.
Being a good teacher
Remember, it's not about YOU. It's about your STUDENTS. It's about how you "serve" them.
The best teachers are those who go into their classrooms with the determination to get to know their students, love who they are, and help them learn.
In order to do that, the best teachers are observant, flexible and creative. The best teachers help their students love being in their classroom.
The way you accomplish this is to continue to learn more about their individual needs related to autism.
One more concern
The teacher with anxiety also wondered if her support staff would think she is good enough.
The best way for a teacher to bond with his/her staff is to make sure they have the information and training they need to do their job.
Teachers and support staff need to give each other grace. You all come to this place with different backgrounds and experiences.
Just remember that as teammates, each person on the team will have their own strengths and talents and areas of knowledge. Whatever your role, your job is to discover each teammate as an individual.
Work together, as a team, to learn more about autism. Then you will all feel more confident as you approach those unique situations which are guaranteed to emerge.
Don’t forget, you are not teaching math or reading or daily living skills. You are teaching children or teens. You're teaching people.
Remembering that will make all the difference. These are the most important tips for autism back to school.