“How can a special education teacher help a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) engage more in class activities."Literature ReviewInclusion remains a major challenge for global education systems. The word inclusion in itself is a broad and complex issue considering the increasing diversity of learners in education institutions (Goodall, 2015). It must, therefore, be viewed as complex rather than static in order to attain education objectives of not leaving any learner behind. The starting point in all this is the ability to reduce the exclusion of differently abled children or learners while at the same time celebrating these differences. In practical terms inclusion across learning institutions involves transforming of classroom whether structure-wise or by way of teaching methods to meet the needs of all children more so, those identified with special needs (Goodall, 2015). For instance, in most schools worldwide there is a new trend of placing autistic children in mainstream schools. This is on the premise of creating special schools for these special needs learner’s amounts to discrimination and exclusion. More so, there are proponents of placing autistic children in mainstream schools on the perception they are academically able thus they should cope in themainstream environment (Goodall, 2015). However, research shows this strategy results in the challenging behavior of these young learners. As such 8 to 20 times autistic children placed in the mainstream will be excluded from school thereby jeopardizing their future life opportunities (Goodall, 2015).
Numerous intervention measures can be introduced in these mainstream schools with autistic children. This includes creating structures to aid accommodation of the special needs (autisticdisorder learners). For example, use visual cueing and routine while ensuring there is significant parental participation (Goodall, 2015). Harnessing social skills of autistic children in mainstream classrooms is also essential. A class teacher can implement or encourage peer mentorship and learners working in social skill groups. Grey et al. (2007) further examine the use of cooperative learning among autistic children placed in both mainstream and special needs classroom. Cooperative learning refers to the instructional use of small groups so learners can work together to maximize each others and own learning. This method of teaching is important compared to learners working in usual group work due to the interdependence of learners in their task engagement. It promotes individual accountability, positive interdependence and contribution to targeted learning outcome (Grey et al., 2007). Thus, cooperative learning is a significant method of teaching due to its ability to harness inclusivity of learners especially in mainstream schools with special needs children including autistic learners. Noteworthy, the method is helpful for autistic learners because young ones living with autistic spectrum disorder will show impairment in communication and social interaction.