According to data from Autism Speaks, the prevalence of this learning disorder is growing rapidly. The website wrote that at present, 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism, with boys being five times more likely than girls to be affected. As it relates to education, there is a high likelihood that teachers will have students who fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum.
Erin Hagey is a special education teacher in Northern California and was selected by her district to launch a pilot transitional academic program for autistic students. Her class is transitional, which means she has students from kindergarten up to third grade. In preparation, she partnered with the MIND Institute, as well as her district’s behavioral and occupational therapist to create a learning environment based on Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) principles, which are designed to help students with learning disabilities develop a variety of skills that will benefit them, both in learning and in life.
“I aim to create ‘realistic’ classroom experiences for my students in hopes that they can successfully mainstream for parts of the day,” Erin wrote on her personal blog, You Aut-aknow.com. “I love my job, my students, and most importantly my colleagues. They really help me a lot!”