Another book that I read while researching mainstreaming autistic students into the general education classroom is called Autism: Advancing on the Spectrum. This was a great book to gain LOTS of information on Autism...and it's a newer book, so there are current practices included--which is great for novice and experienced teachers.
Let me give you a little background on my research project in order for you to more fully understand the dimensions of the project. Initially, I wanted to gauge teachers' views on mainstreaming students with autism into their general education classroom. I knew how I felt about it, but I wanted to see how others teachers felt in regard to their general education students. With classroom sizes becoming bigger each year, it is difficult enough to keep all students engaged, meet each child's needs, and deal with any discipline issues that arise. Mainstream a student with autism into that classroom...WHEW!
Saying that, I want to say this. In no way am I implying that I am not sympathetic to the behaviors that come with autistic spectrum disorders. I am also definitely not saying that I don't believe ALL students should have the chance to be in a classroom with their peers. I am simply speaking as a general education teacher and as an advocate for those "average" students who (let's face it) sometimes get pushed aside to deal with students with special needs. We (and I am guilty as well) get so involved in making accommodations that we often forget about the "sea" of students waiting for our attention as well. THAT breaks my heart for those students. I'm not sure that we are heading in the right direction in regard to EVERY student involved.
We have tons of laws and regulations safeguarding the rights of students with special needs, but when are we going to stand up for all of those other students who want to learn? And who is going to do it? That was the basis for my research.
In my next post, I will share a Prezi presentation on information from this book that will help you understand more about the Autism Spectrum Disorders. I will also present some data that I collected from my faculty about their attitudes' toward mainstreaming students with autism into the general education classroom.