I feel the TEACCH workshop was beneficial to my future goal of becoming a special educator because it provided me with vital information about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and provided me with ideas on how to teach students with ASDs. It is no secret that the number of students with an ASD is on the rise. In 1996, studies showed that 1 in 160 children were diagnosed with an ASD. Not even a year ago, the number was 1 in 150; and today, a new study shows that the number is now 1 in 90 children are diagnosed. What this means to the education community is that all teachers must adapt their curriculum to include methods of reaching students with ASDs.
The TEACCH workshop provided me with concrete methods of teaching students on the autism spectrum. Gary Mesibov showed us how to use manipulatives and what types of manipulatives can be used. He showed us how to teach our students with ASDs to become more organized so they will be better prepared for their futures. The use of colors, lists, and schedules were stressed for this purpose. Mesibov taught us the importance of teaching new skills or skills to be mastered in context so the students with ASDs can generalize their skills from one setting to the other. He showed us how using real world situations to teach these students can be beneficial to their learning. Mesibov also talked to us about teaching social skills to students with ASDs.
What I enjoyed about the workshop is that all of the methods we were taught can be used to teach mainstream students as well. He provided me another method of differentiating instruction so that I may reach the educational needs for all of my students, not just my students with autism. I feel that all teachers should receive similar autism training because of the rise in the population of students diagnosed with ASDs. In order to provide my students with ASDs with an appropriate education, I do plan to use many, if not all, of the methods Mesibov has provided us with.