School activities that may be particularly challenging for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), previously referred to as Asperger's disorder, include social interactions, noisy or disordered environments, intense sensory stimulation, and changes in expected routines. The unstructured parts of the school day, such as lunch, may present the greatest challenges. Many students with ASD have difficulty using a pencil and paper for writing. Some have difficulty with organization and schedules.
Although each individual is unique and the student and family should be consulted regarding accommodations, the following accommodations may be helpful to students with ASD:
- clearly established and ordered routines
- warning and preparation when changes are anticipated
- planning and practicing of communication strategies and social routines
- earplugs or noise-canceling headsets in hallways or lunchroom
- a quiet area where the student can take a time-out if necessary
- visual schedules and graphic organizers
- visual or written, rather than auditory, instructions
- computer use, especially word processing for writing
- note taker
For additional information and resources on working with students with ASD, consult the Guide for Working with Students with Asperger's Syndrome.