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Not long ago, scientists and educators knew little about children on the autism spectrum. They assumed that these children could not be educated in the same setting as typically developing children. In the past, children with autism have been kept apart from their typical peers and placed in separate schools. Today, we have a much better understanding of the autism spectrum, and federal legislation mandates the inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms. More and more children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are participating and succeeding in general education classrooms.
While children with ASD are finding more success in general education classrooms, it is also important to educate both children and teachers about ASD. In general, research shows that placing a diverse group of students into the same classroom, without educating the children and teachers about their differences, can result in negative attitudes and less acceptance. The activities and handouts in this section provide techniques to help create supportive classroom environments for children with ASD, their classmates, and their teachers. Try using some of these ideas with your child or student’s class, sports team, or club.