This unit helps students understand that Autism affects the brain and social communication skills, and introduces the concept of a spectrum. The students also learn about Asperger’s syndrome.

Key themes:

  •  Individuals with Autism have a wide range of abilities and each individual is unique, with a combination of strengths and challenges.
  • Individuals with Autism often have difficulties with social communication skills, or the ways we interact and exchange information.
  • Many individuals with Autism, but not all, have sensory processing issues, or difficulty taking in and managing information from their five senses.
  • Some individuals with Autism may exhibit repetitive behaviors to cope with stress and may have intense interest in a specific topic.

Program implementation is flexible and can be adapted for your classroom, but a typical 2-hour session includes:

Informational Video presentation Students learn the term spectrum. Information is presented about the challenges and strengths of people with Autism, and suggestions for how to be an inclusive friend are covered.
Two small group activities A cooperative puzzle activity demonstrates social communication challenges. An emotion charades exercise helps students understand how facial expression and body language help us understand each other.
Video: “Intricate Minds II: Understanding Elementary School Classmates With Asperger Syndrome.” The video highlights children with Asperger’s syndrome talking about their interests and what it is like going to school.
Guest Speaker Students meet a guest speaker who shares the experience of living with autism.