Autism Resources for Elementary School Educators

Are you an educator or administrator wanting to better understand and support your autistic student? I’m glad you’re here!

I’ve pulled together some of my favorite resources with busy educators in mind! If you’re looking for more information, feel free to explore the websites I’ve chosen a little further. Most of them have fantastic blogs!

This list is divided into topics for your convenience. If there’s a topic not listed, let me know and I’ll put it up! I’ll continuously update these resources as I find more.

Click here for autistically-approved inclusive children’s books.

Come Learn with Us!

Understanding Autism

Understanding the Spectrum
A Printable Comic Strip by Rebecca Burgess

This is my go-to resource for explaining the autism spectrum and the problems with using outdated labels such as low/high functioning. Parents, educators, and professionals instead learn how to reference the child’s individual differences and support needs. This printable comic strip is also available in Spanish, French, and German.

Autism, Neurodiversity, and Acceptance: Everything You Need to Know
This is a massive, yet easily digestible list of resources compiled from and shared by the autistic community. It’s broken up into topics for accessibility.

Understanding the Autistic Mind
A Printable Resource by NeuroClastic

“We know that educating an autistic person is not an easy task. All previous beliefs about when, what, and how to teach a child are no longer valid in the face of our differences, and parents and teachers are left working on unsteady ground.” This is a guide to understanding, developing, and applying reasonable accommodations for autistic people.

Supporting Behaviorally Challenged and Neurodivergent Students in Education and Special Education – Dr. Mona Delahooke

“When disruptive behaviors increase, we should first ask if we are meeting and supporting the child’s emotional and/or physical needs. If a child’s behaviors are the only way he can signal the need for support, paying attention to the meanings underlying behaviors is critical to the child’s development of trust in relationships.”

Emotional Regulation Series:
Part One and Part Two by Reframing Autism

This two part series talks about what emotional regulation is and why it’s so hard for autistic children. It explains how teachers can use co-regulation strategies to teach emotional regulation.

Literalness, Uncertainty, and Perfection by Autistic Science Person
“No one tells you what good is. Ever.”

On Autism and Intelligence: Measuring and Understanding IQ by NeuroClastic
“While some autistic people may do extremely well on IQ tests, those same people may experience profound disability. Some autistic people may score poorly on IQ tests and still be wildly successful academically.”

Functioning Labels are Lazy and We Can Do Better by Meghan Ashburn
Functioning labels give absolutely no details of the child’s unique strengths and weaknesses. They don’t mention sensory needs or motor skills. They tell us nothing about how the child communicates or learns new information.

What Helped Me Most in School by Mikhaela Ackerman
This blog, Edge of the Playground, has some wonderful articles and insights about growing up autistic. In this article Mikhaela talks about what helped her succeed in school.

Sensory Resources

What Are the 8 Senses? by Growing Hands On Kids
We all know there are five senses, but what about eight? When these senses are underdeveloped or faulty, they can lead to challenging behavior. This article explains why.

Interoception: The New Topic in Autism – YouTube Video
This is my favorite video explaining the 8th sense, interoception. Many people associate high support needs with “severe autism.” This simply isn’t true. Severe autism isn’t actually a thing. Check out this video to learn more about interoception.

The Other Three Senses You Didn’t Know Existed by NeuroClastic
This is a fantastic article about the three senses you didn’t learn about in elementary school. It gives great insight into how those senses may affect your autistic student.

Communication and AAC Resources

Four Ways I help My Autistic Child Communicate Without Speaking Meghan Ashburn

This article goes over sign language, visual schedules, picture binders, robust AAC apps, and more. All of these strategies and accommodations can be used simultaneously for to improve communication between teachers and students.

Will AAC Stop a Person From Learning to Speak? by Assistiveware

It’s a common misconception that providing AAC will somehow deter a child from using oral language. This simply isn’t true.

Are There Prerequisites for AAC? by Assistiveware

There are no prerequisite skills for using AAC. Students don’t need to prove themselves capable of using low tech AAC before they’re introduced to higher tech systems.

AAC Devices: What They Are and How to Get One by Meghan Ashburn

This is a great article to share with parents.

Transitioning to 26 LettersA Resource List for Educators: We put together a list of resources for teachers who want to help their nonspeaking students transition from symbol-based AAC to spelling, typing, and pointing to communicate.

Reach Every Voice – REV provides virtual trainings and consultations for educators. Topics include adapting grade level curriculum for nonspeaking students, transitioning AAC users from symbol-based AAC to typing or spelling. I’ve taken the training and it’s fantastic! (No, I don’t get a commission for this recommendation.)

Communication Bill of Rights

Must-Read Books for Educators

Beyond Behaviors by Dr. Mona Delahooke

Uniquely Human by Dr. Barry Prizant

Inclusive Education for Autistic Children by Dr. Rebecca Wood

Communication Alternatives in Autism by Edlyn Peña

Comprehensive Literacy for All by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver

The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene

Lost at School and Lost and Found by Dr. Ross Greene

Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children by Dr. Luke Beardon

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar

More Titles to Explore

The Librarian’s Corner

A List of Inclusive Children’s Books These titles have been vetted by the members of That Au-Some Book Club, a diverse group of autistic adults, educators, parents, and other professionals who discuss books related to autism and neurodiversity.

A Novel Mind : A searchable database of over 1000 children’s books that touch on mental health and neurodiversity.

Making the School Library More Accessible – Meghan Ashburn
This article has simple and practical ideas for making the school library a more inclusive environment for students who are least likely to access it.

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