In order to increase access to education for children and young people with with ASD, teachers should receive specialized courses with highly structured content (McCrimmon, 2015; Auby, 2015), that address the foundation of the skills needed for working with students with ASD (Fernandez-Lopez, 2013; Koegel et al., 2012), that are easily accessible, and preferably based on ICT advanced technologies (Pollard et al., 2014, Fernandez-Lopez et al., 2013).
Throughout the e-learning modules, the teachers will receive general information on ASD and will be taught how to work with and involve parents of children with ASD for the purpose of building an inclusive classroom environment and reducing the risk of early school drop out of children with ASD. The project addresses topics aimed to increase competences and skills of teachers which do not only concern providing high quality and inclusive classroom teaching but also providing support in the transfer of capabilities from school to community life for students with ASD and in building a partnership with parents in educating the child .
a. Understanding and managing ASD in the classroom
Inclusive education challenges students with autism and their teachers. For a student with autism to be able to succeed in inclusive or regular education, it is essential that teachers have knowledge on autism and what this means for students in school settings. This module focuses on what autism is, how it shows in school settings and how teachers can analyse and decrease behaviours that affect the student’s functioning. After completing the module, teachers will be able to understand autism in the classroom, recognize the educational needs of students with autism, and to respond to them in order to help the students learn.
b. Curriculum adaptation for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This module focuses on adapting the school environment to pupils diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders by presenting the most commonly used methods of adapting teaching to classrooms and providing practical examples of what should be adapted and how adaptation should be done. It also presents the decision-making process in adapting the curriculum (how to decide the level of adaptation for the student with TSA, the steps in making an effective decision about the adaptation) and offers alternatives to prevent inappropriate behaviour in the classroom.
c. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
The role of technology in teaching children with ASD became a topic of discussion in educational system. The innovation that ICT has brought into education has made tremendous changes to the lives of individuals with ASD. Thus, the use of ICT to acquire knowledge and skill has become an essential element in ASD education. This module focusing on providing examples of general and newly developed strategies that teachers can use in the class to help children with ASD to develop effective learning strategies. After completing the training, teachers will be able to integrate different scientifically validated technology strategies into their teaching methods for children with ASD. The newly learned strategies, once applied, will have significant effects on the learning performance of children with ASD. The integration of technology in the class will ease the work of teachers, their teaching methods being of high quality, adapted to the new developments in the field.
d. Transition from school to adult life of ASD students
The process of transition is understood as crossing a certain threshold and starting a new stage in life. This module addresses the need of young students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders to go through a decision-making process about what happens after school. This module presents how to carry out the examination of the size and areas of independence of the student with ASD. After completing the training, teacher will be able to assess the student’s needs, knowledge, predisposition and skills using practical tools and to design an action plan together with the family in order to obtain the independence of the young adult living with an autism spectrum disorder.