School Psychology Review

Curriculum for Students With Autism

J. Gregory Olley

pp. 595-607

Mini-Series: Assessment and Treatment of Children With Autism in the Schools

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Abstract: For many years research on the nature of autism and teaching methods has overshadowed the development of effective curriculum. Nevertheless, a valuable body of knowledge is available that offers practical approaches to guide psychology consultation in schools. This article reviews (a) the theoretical approaches to curriculum and the recent integration of these approaches; (b) examples of the application of curriculum to reduce problem behavior and facilitate engagement and learning in areas such as social skills,communication, self-help, cognition, play, and vocational skills; and (c) the research that supports various elements of curriculum. Research in this field has not identified any approach that is universally effective. Therefore, the school psychologist must combine information from individual student assessments, family and student preferences, and a general knowledge of autism to design individualized curriculum and consult with educators to implement and to monitor the effectiveness of the curriculum. The result can be a comprehensive and individualized curriculum that promotes independence and skills needed for adult functioning.