Understanding Autism in Children

Pre-School Inclusive Education for Children with Autism: A Teacher’s Guide to Better Practice

Understanding Autism in Children

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects individuals throughout their lives. It is among the most common types of disabilities affecting learners at a tender age.

Autism is characterized by problems communicating and engaging with people, as well as confined or repetitive interests and activities, and an aversion to new experiences (Raudeliūnaitė & Steponėnienė, 2020). These individuals often encounter abnormalities with their senses, such as:

increased or decreased sensitivity to sounds

sensitivity to odors

sensitivity to touch

often miss developmental milestones

struggle with verbal and nonverbal communication

regression of developmental milestones


strange eating habits

temper tantrums

Due to these factors, some persons may struggle with their behavior. The word “spectrum” is used to emphasize the fact that autism presents differently in each person. People with autism have a wide range of difficulties, but they also possess a great array of abilities. Autism, often known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), presents differently in each autistic child (Sukkar, Dunst, & Kirkby, 2016). Typically, the disease is identified in children when they are two years old, however it may be detected as early as age five.

Specific Traits of ASD

If a child reaches all of the expected developmental milestones at the typical age, then pauses between 12 and 18 months, this is reason for worry. If they stop smiling, cooing, pointing, etc., this might be an indication that something is wrong. Also, if a child engages in repetitive behaviors such as head flapping, eyelid jerking, whirling, hand flapping, or spinning in circles, the child’s carer should seek medical counsel. Pica, which is the unusual desire to consume non-food items such as dirt, mud, ice, or hair; eating only certain sorts of food, such as sweet or salty food, or only a specific-colored meal; and eating only specific colors of food are all factors to consider. Lastly, children between the ages of two and five are most prone to temper tantrums. It is possible that the child is anxious and hitting their head on the ground to calm themselves. They may have unusual sensitivities to non-threatening scents and sounds.

Teaching and Learning Practices that are Inclusive for Pre-School Children with Autism

In order to appropriately include a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), teachers need to have knowledge of both inclusive practice and ASD, in addition to a willingness to work with other people. In the context of education, the idea of inclusion refers to a mode of operation that promotes feelings among all students of being included, respected, and safeguarded (Cologon, 2014). Autism is a neurological condition that is characterized by a number of symptoms, some of which include difficulties speaking and connecting with people, as well as engaging in repetitive behaviors (Cologon, 2020). In order for these children to have a sense of belonging and appreciation for who they are as people, their educators need to make sure that they get an education. This is of utmost importance for children who have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings with other people, as well as for younger children who engage in peculiar patterns of repeated behavior. It is essential for a school team to work together in order to determine the specific therapies and adaptations that a child may require in order for an inclusive education to be successful. This is because a student with autism spectrum condition may exhibit a great deal of complication, and because of this, it is critical that the team work together.

Need for Learner-Specific Profiles

The first stage in developing a comprehensive plan for an inclusive education program for a student who has been identified as having autism is to build a comprehensive learner profile with the assistance of other members of the team (Sandall, Schwartz, & Joseph, 2001). Every child who has autism is an individual with their own set of needs. Working with a child who has autism will provide you with experience that is unique to working with autistic children. As a result of the fact that every autistic student is an individual, it is very necessary to construct an accurate profile of the student in order to come up with suitable instructional methods. Although taking a holistic approach is a good way to get started, it isn’t always enough on its own (Poed, Cologon, & Jackson, 2020). The staff will have a greater grasp of the child thanks to the learner profile, which they will have access to (Dunst, 2002). On a learner profile, the student’s capabilities in areas such as social skills, communication, repetitive behaviors, sensory, anxiety, and other health difficulties might be recorded (McKay, Carrington, & Iyer, 2014). It is much easier to devise a method of instruction with a certain objective in mind if one first conducts an in-depth analysis of these skills. In order for a learner profile to operate well, everyone involved has to work closely together. This is particularly important when figuring out how to include the child in the process.

A learner-specific plan is helpful to the school team in coming up with excellent objectives for each student, and these goals need to be reviewed at on a regular basis by the school team (Webster & Forster, 2012). When developing objectives for a child who falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, it is important to take into consideration the individual characteristics of the child, including the child’s particular needs and talents. However, since autistic children often do not want to participate in the activities, it might be challenging for the professionals at the school to put their ideas into effect. If an autistic youngster is given the opportunity to try something new, they may exhibit any of the indicators that have been discussed above. They could, for instance, stand up from their seats, move about the classroom while talking extremely loudly, and then sit back down. When an adult is attempting to engage a child in a particular activity, the youngster could take it, tear it to pieces, and then hurl it at the adult. This can be frustrating for the adult. It is necessary to conduct an assessment of the learning objectives of each student in order to ensure that each student will participate in learning activities and advance in a manner that is consistent with his or her learning objectives (Mackenzie, Cologon, & Fenech, 2016). If the only requirement for the child is to share a place with children from the normal classroom, and if they are not required to work toward any objectives, then the child will not be properly integrated (Stone, Mills, & Saggers, 2019). The student has to have the ability to care about his or her education and make progress toward the educational objectives that they have set for themselves (Samadi & McConkey, 2018). When working with a child who has autism, the most effective strategy is to include the activities that the child enjoys doing most into the child’s education. Therefore, inclusive practices will be successful if the learner-specific profile is used in such a manner as to ensure that the child who has autism spectrum disorder is actively engaged in his or her own education.

Appropriate Inclusionary Measures in Learning for Children with ASD

In spite of the fact that there are a number of benefits associated with inclusion, the collaborative team must be aware that certain children may not be prepared for full inclusion (Mukkiri et al., 2021). Children with autism who participate in social activities with children of the same age may acquire a deeper understanding of empathy and acceptance if they are given the opportunity (Cologon,2020). The faculty must determine if the potential advantages of include the child outweigh the potential drawbacks of having the child present in a typical classroom setting (McKay, Carrington, & Iyer, 2014). Students who have autism may, depending on their individual needs, spend part of the school day in a traditional classroom and the rest of the day in a more individualized learning environment (Poed, Cologon, & Jackson, 2020). Studies have shown that a child who spends a significant amount of time socializing outside of the school setting does not need to be in the typical classroom setting. This is especially the case if the child is having a difficult time concentrating in the typical school setting. When deciding how often a child with autism should participate in activities in a classroom with typically developing students, the teaching staff at the school may take a number of different considerations into account.

Autism is characterized by children having difficulty maintaining self-control, which may make it challenging for them to transition between activities, interact with people, and complete tasks (Early Childhood Intervention Australia, 2016). One way to think about self-regulation is as a person’s ability to recover quickly after being put in stressful conditions (Cologon, 2020). Some children are more prone than others to be impacted by these things that have the potential to be stressful, and a normal school day is full with things that have the potential to be problematic. When the child is in school, the primary caregiver has the extremely essential responsibility of guiding them through the phases of developing their ability to self-regulate.

When it comes to teaching children how to manage their own conduct, there are five extremely critical stages to take:

The first thing that has to be done is to find out how the child responds to stress, and then the second thing that needs to be done is to attempt to modify how the child reacts to stress. An attentive adult will be able to observe a little shift in a child’s conduct when the learner is stressed, and the adult may be able to assist the child in changing their behavior by suggesting other activities (Early Childhood Intervention Australia, 2016).

The second stage is to identify the factors that contribute to the child’s anxious feelings.

The third phase is to reduce the child’s sense of urgency and anxiety in the present moment.

The fourth phase is to reflect on what was happened and devise a strategy for how to prevent future occurrences of events that are similar to those that occurred in the past. There are several aspects of a child’s existence in which it is not always feasible to totally eliminate stress (Cologon,2020). Some of these aspects include: If, on the other side, the child is having a challenging day, the primary caregiver or the team may determine what actions should be taken to help the child feel better.

After removing the youngster from the stressful circumstance, the following step is to instruct them on how to return to their regular state. Because children with ASD often struggle with self-regulation, the assistance of an adult is required to ensure that these five components of self-regulation are carried out successfully.

It’s possible for a child to struggle with regulating in situations when they’re going from one area to another, interacting with other people, or completing activities (Raudeliūnaitė & Steponėnienė, 2020). Because of the inherent nature of the school day, it is very necessary for children to be equipped with the means by which they may manage the anxiety that is brought on by the aforementioned factors. Students will be able to make seamless transitions and complete the most essential activities with the assistance of visual schedules, which may be extremely beneficial (Poed, Cologon, & Jackson, 2020). Children who have autism spectrum disorder may learn how to connect with their classmates and instructors via the use of visual cue cards, films, or visual social tales. The use of antecedent behaviors, such as “priming” the learner with written or visual schedules so they are aware of what is coming up next, may also assist a youngster in maintaining their capacity to self-regulate (Cologon,2020). Due to the fact that transitions, communication, and completing activities may all result in dysregulation, it is essential to be aware of this in order to ensure that the appropriate interventions are put into place to assist the student.

Inclusion and not Intrusion

People have a strong need for social validation in the form of approval, love, and acceptance. In this regard, children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are similar to other children. When they attend a social gathering, many children who have autism have the impression that they are participating in a game for which they are not aware of the rules or the objectives. Children diagnosed with autism are often subjected to the unreasonable expectation that they would behave in a manner that is acceptable in a society in which all individuals are valued and respected. Instead, instructors should work to expand their students’ conceptions of what it means to be involved in the classroom (Raudeliūnaitė & Steponėnienė, 2020). Poor language skills, difficulty interpreting social signs, and a lack of interest in typical activities are just some of the factors that may make it challenging for children with ASD to develop and maintain friendships. Because of this, these children have a difficult time getting along with the other children their age. In inclusive classrooms, children with and without disabilities have the opportunity to meet and form friendships with one another. These classrooms are one setting in which these connections may take hold and flourish. However, placing children with impairments in the same classes as their classmates who are developing normally does not always guarantee that the children with disabilities will form friendships with their peers.

It is essential to provide children with autism with assistance, activities, and programs that do not interfere with their learning too much in order to provide an educational environment that is inclusive of their needs. It is frequently necessary to assist a child with ASD in achieving success because they do not see themselves as different (Cologon,2020). However, paraprofessionals or other adult assistants should be educated to step in only when it is absolutely required, and they should be encouraged to help other children as well. This will ensure that children get the best possible care. A youngster who has autism spectrum disorder may benefit from this since it encourages them to become more typical and autonomous (Poed, Cologon, & Jackson, 2020). It is critical for educators to give some consideration to holding a gathering in which students who do not have ASD may discuss the condition with others who do not have the disease. During the meeting with the class, there should be as little discussion as possible regarding the things that children who have ASD are unable to accomplish or that set them apart from their classmates. Instead, you should concentrate on the children’s strengths, interests, and activities that they like doing, as well as any hobbies, sports, or other activities that they may have in common with other children in the class.


For a child with ASD to have an effective educational plan, no one strategy must be employed in the same manner. Every child with autism is unique, with their own set of abilities and challenges. Because of these distinct advantages and disadvantages, ensuring that a child with ASD receives the best education possible requires the collaboration of a number of individuals. Despite the need to follow standards and standard operating procedures, the learner must be the primary focus of the preparation. If a child learns that being in a classroom causes them a great deal of anxiety, they should not be compelled to attend lessons with other learners merely to be included. It does, however, imply that the child should be given the opportunity to learn how to cope with or reduce stress while still receiving a good and valuable education. Teachers will be able to choose the best strategy to implement inclusive education with a child who has been diagnosed with ASD based on the individual requirements of that child.


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