Promoting Community Independence for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Center on Transition Innovations, CTI, at VCU)
Inclusion and participation in the community are not always easy for individuals with ASD. At times, members of the community may not be accepting or supportive. However, community participation can lead to a better quality of life for everyone and make all the difference in an individual’s life.
What do Teachers Need to Know?
One of the best ways to engage students and promote independence is to give opportunities for choice making and problem solving. This helps increase motivation and attention to task. The practice of giving students choices of rewards or free time activities that they earn by doing what we want them to do is of limited long-term benefit. As teachers, we need to build choices into our instruction and give students significant input into the activities we ask them to do.
Tips for Teachers
Some students struggle with being independent due to a lack of direct instruction and emotional development. Here are some strategies teachers might use to help students overcome challenges and become as independent as possible.