Inclusion Support

Structured Teaching to Support Inclusion

One of the myths of structured teaching methods is that it is a program in and of itself.  Some people who have been exposed to limited training come away thinking that structured teaching is about teaching children with autism in isolation. The source of this misconception is, perhaps, due to the structure of the training module itself.

Structured teaching is a system of supports around which a comprehensive and quality program can be built.

To put it into perspective, one could consider visual supports and environmental structure forms of prostheses. Giving hearing aids to a child with hearing impairment does not substitute for quality programming. However, without the hearing aids, the child is far less likely to benefit from the curriculum regardless of quality. 

Structured teaching facilitates access to the curriculum by clarifying instructions, reducing distractions, alleviating stress and by decreasing behaviors that interfere with learning.

Through the early and systematic use of structured teaching principles, children with autism can be much more successful in an inclusionary setting. These children are less likely to develop behaviors that make inclusion increasingly more difficult as their bodies get bigger or as the demands of education become more rigorous. 

Structured teaching supports must be selected through systematic planning practices that analyze the individual needs of the learner. Stay tuned for more information on this.



Common Issues

 Possible solutions



The most important ( and sometimes challenging) component of a quality program.  Planning requires time and good collaboration skills. 

Time constraints frequently hinder quality planning. Collaboration can be tricky among colleagues, especially around children with such intensive needs. 
Quality systems for planning facilitate effective communication, make the use of time effective and most of all, improve the child's program. 


 Assessment and data collection
   come back for more later!


 In an inclusion setting children tend to have multiple transitions and schedule changes throughout the week.

 We know that transitions and schedule changes are difficult for children on the autism spectrum. Heightened anxiety reduces the child's ability to gain meaning from his or her environment and to benefit from instruction to the fullest extent possible.

Children with autism whose schedules and systems are not properly designed often depend on adults to help make sense of the world. 

 In an inclusion setting, special considerations need to be made to support multiple transitions across school environments (different rooms, etc.), explain changes in schedule and promote flexibility. Schedules must also be designed to foster maximum independence.

Use a systematic process to determine the orientation and  length of the schedule, representational format (objects, photos, drawings, symbols, text), size of icons, portability, whether or not a ticket system is necessary, etc. Forms for guiding these decisions are available upon request.

  Click on slide show below to go to large view and see captions that show examples of how each schedule could be used. This is not all-inclusive, just representations of a few.

PicasaWeb Slideshow


Clutter and boundaries

 In an inclusion setting, there is often limited control of the physical environment of the classroom. Shelves of brightly colored objects, posters on the wall, unclear physical boundaries, highly tempting or preferential items in view, etc.


 come back for more later, including a slide show of ideas.