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Peace77777's Message:

I have been using some form of art with kids with ASd. I have tried with a group of younger childrne age 5 plus.. with music and art. To me art is a great tool to enhance social awareness in a group. Children are able to paint out of their boundaries, cross into someone else's boundary when the paint on one big long sheet of paper.. ! Try also foot printing and hand printing and follow it with a theme of "Together" (u can use other words that you want to teach the class about Teambuilding etc.) pasting them up onto the wall and get each to bring a photo of themselves and paste inside the palm ---- those feet... walking togehter , increase literacy with short poems for the feet (coupled with songs with words that teach social skills... ) u can expand it in so many ways...
I am from singapore , where are u from Annml, ,, maybe our classes are quite different from that in USA,, we have minimal integration and Special kids children are in Special schools . If yours is integrated it will be much fun as you can involved the typical kids by building them together as one despite of our differences in our "Hand Prints - lines"

If they are very verbal , give them chance to write on someone's elses hand something wonderful or what they like about the person .

Happy printing and building these little lives

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
michelle1234 02-20-2016 06:16 PM

First before they even come to your class. The teacher and aids from the program they are in could conduct some trails to find out what kids of things these students are able to do and can tolerate. Many students with Autism have sensory issues. These activities can then be introduced in an environment they are more comfortable in, (area they normally work play)

As there are three students there may well be three different types of activities that are preferred by each.

Once successful in participating in activity in there comfort zone area they could be backwards chained into coming into the art class i.e. joining for last ten min and gradually increasing time as build tolerance. five minutes of a craft followed by five minutes of most preferred. IE tracing a preferred picture then painting.

These students also need visuals to communicate, do they have picture exchange books or another method to communicate.

What is the goal of having them come to art?

perhaps you could just place out a variety of materials and see if the gravitate towards something. Often it takes many exposures to new situation and new materials for the students to feel comfortable. Sensory overload in a new environment is huge.

Its wonderful that you have tried to put together projects for these students. If you look at is as they are there more for the process of figuring things out and there doesn't need to be an end result you would probably come up with some wonderful ideas. Hope this helps.

Multispec 02-07-2016 06:17 PM

What some parents fail to see is that their child is not perfect and some kids really don't belong in a regular ed classroom. Some special needs are mildly or highly disruptive to the learning environment and process.

Truth be told, most teachers, especially Sped, understand this, but administrators are more often blinded by the distance a desk job creates and guarded over what some parents believe to be the right thing for their child.

So don't get offended at words you may not like. You don't live in a teacher's world on a daily basis spending countless hours if your own time developing lesson plans only to have them derailed by even one students misbehavior, whether or not it's special needs.

Indiana DSP 06-08-2013 10:35 AM

I have made baby oil water bottles w/a variety of beads or glitter or anything inside. They love to turn them every which way and watch the items inside float around. They love to shake them too.

you can dye the water before adding the oil and that makes it more exciting. You can add beads with letters or numbers on them too and the students that are verbal can have fun trying to identify the letters or numbers.

When it comes to the aides helping the students, before you start the project explain to the aides that you would like for the students to do as much of the project on their own as possible. They shouldn't need much assistance putting beads or glitter into a water bottle.

You can also take clay and cookie cutters and let the students make fun shapes with the clay. they will enjoy the feeling of the squishy, cold clay in their hands. Let the clay dry out for a few days then let the students paint them or glue beads, glitter, felt shapes, or other interesting items onto the clay.

I hope this helps!

soyappojoe 03-10-2013 06:58 PM

I work with ASP children and I have a student who is in high school who is the same way. She is a big girl who weighs about 250 lbs and when she gets frustrated or upset she starts by grabbing your arms and try's dig her nails in as hard as she can then goes to slap me in the face and has even grabbed other students necks. Its very stressful when this happens cause you never know what is going to happen each time. We have started using self soothing sensory techniques to help calm her down when she gets like this and now have started using them also in the day when she has not acted up to help her stay calm before she gets stressed out. It's hard to say what those techniques will work because what works for one person might not be the same for another. You'll just have to get to know the child and see what calms them down. As for my student we have taken old plastic water bottles and filled them with glitter glue and water and then super glued the lid so they don't reopen them and it makes a snowball like effect that she likes to watch and it calms her down. Another thing we do is square dance with her. Well we do most of the moving and drag her along but she seems to really like it. She also likes certain songs. My ringtone is "hey ya" by outkast and whenever that plays she stands up and rocks back and forth. (her version of dancing) and she really likes that.

At my work we have a no hands on policy when the students act up. So, if a student grabs our hair then we are to grab their wrist and push our head to their hand until the hand bends back and releases the hair then get out and get away or leave the classroom with the other kids and let the student have a tantrum unless they hurt themselves.

Not sure if any of this helps but good luck and know that when you are helping these kids, you are helping God's children and your service will not go unnoticed in the next life.
, here I can't promise you anything.

aaav 08-28-2012 05:36 PM

First of all, if they are non-verbal and in middle school, they should be using some kind of communication system (Is PECS in the picture?). Give them a choice of 2 or 3 simple projects that simply involves using fine motor skills (i.e - painting circles or squares and filling them in - abstract art) - it is not always the outcome that is important but the process by which they can carry out and complete a project with some assistance. They are more brilliant than you may realize.

Myart 06-27-2012 09:08 PM

Hello I'm an art teacher as well and used to teach at a Charter school. I now teach privately at my art studio and am currently working one on one with a highly functioning autistic student. He is sixteen and at a 3rd grade level, nevertheless I came across a wonderful lesson on these posts such as marble painting. I had my student use the primary colors to mix the secondary colors, as well do math with the marbles, plus writing. I used a cheap aluminum foil baking pan and pre cut 4 pieces(3 for outcome secondary colors and one extra to mix up of his own choice) of paper to fit the pan. Stuck two pieces of paper tape underneath so the paper wouldn't move. I had three cups, one with yellow, red and blue in which my student placed the marbles and 3 spoons. As he was doing that he had to count the marbles and write down the number and color. Then he shook the cup to completely cover the marbles with paint, which he loved seeing turn all colored. He then scooped the marbles with a spoon onto the paper, one color at the time and began rolling. Then he scooped them out and in with the second color. Voila, magic happened. He loved seeing the colors turn into the secondary colors. As he took out the second batch of marbles he had to count and do the math on how many marbles he used in total. We did that with every color he mixed. It was such a success so thank you! Does anyone have any other wonderful ideas? Please be sure your student won't put the marbles in their mouth though.

Tammy D 05-28-2012 02:41 PM

Hello. I am a teacher in the United States. I always search the web for different ideas so that I may keep up with new and innovative ideas to help my students. I came across your post and thought it was amazing. Maybe the discripancie is due to the different types of schooliing. None the less, I will be incoorporating your ideas. Thank You! Respectfully, Tammy

RF123 03-02-2012 08:13 AM

Please remember that Autism affects the brains development of social and communication skills, not the entire brain. Just because an individual can't express to you that they are enjoying an activity doesnt mean that they aren't getting anything from it. A lot of individuals with Autism who have been able to communicate indicate that they don't have control over what their bodies do at times, however their brains can often process things "normally" they just can't export that information. To say that a child with severe autism (which is the group of individuals I work with on a daily basis) don't get anything from these activities is pretty unfair. We can't understand whats going on in their minds but we should still give them every opportunity to enjoy the life that they are given. To everyone who is working with these individuals you are amazing and keep doing what you're doing. I go into work everyday with the mindset of treating these people how I would want my child treated in this situation. We owe it to them to work even harder at finding something they enjoy.
Some things that I find the individuals that I support like to do are:

Painting - you can make edible paint with kool-aid ( a lot of my individuals are very scent sensitive so they love the different smells)
Playdoh - I make the homemade kind and then let them mix the colours in themselves
colouring - scented markers are always a hit!
Playing with fluff - you can buy bags of the stuff they put into pillows - just watch in young children that they don't try to eat it.
Cars - some of our individuals are very visual and love things to go in straight lines - they will drive the cars on the straight lines of the tiles, or line the cars up
music! - try different kinds, pop, country, classical etc. You will know when you find what they prefer
sensory slime - mix cornstarch and water and it makes a very cool feeling slime in the water

Hope some of these ideas help!!

H.G. Shafton 01-02-2012 07:29 AM

I would begin by finding out his interests, either using photographs to which he can respond, or asking people close to him. Working within his interests will be engaging. Next, it is important to know how much he can do on his own. A simple fine motor assessment could include creating shapes using a variety of supplies, such as pencil, marker, brushes/paint, scissors/scraps and stencils, if needed. Depending on his skills, you can provide a variety of activities that can yield beautiful results. For lots of suggestions, visit my facebook page, I have posted some art activities with photos. Also, there are many useful links to other sites with loads of ideas. I hope you enjoy exploring and experimenting with your student. Good luck!

art heals 01-01-2012 08:24 PM

I just read an excerpt from your book as I ordered from amazon. In it you share that as you were researching there was no information on dealing with how to work with art and children with disabilities. I am sure that you are very knowlegeable at this point, but I thought you might want to try looking into art therapy. Art education and art therapy can go hand in hand when trying to differentiate in the artroom and adapt lessons for for students with disabilities. You may find it very interesting. Can't wait to get your book!

Kevin2730 12-28-2011 09:42 AM

I work with a 53 yr old autistic adult. What are some projects i can do with him. He is nonverbal but is able to do different things with assistance

H.G. Shafton 11-17-2011 05:57 AM

The art room is a place where all children can be successful, regardless of ability. If we can focus on the students' strengths, we can design lessons that will be engaging and expressive. The classroom teacher can provide critical information to help develop lessons for the students. The instructional assistants can provide much needed extra hands and input to help create successful lessons. There are many art lessons on the web and in books that can be easily adapted to meet the needs of learners with special needs. Whatever you devise, think about how you can break the activity into small steps, include sensory experiences that are engaging and, if possible, provide choices for materials and opportunities for decision-making. All students need and deserve opportunities to express themselves freely and artistically.

Sandy West 09-26-2011 10:57 PM

Hi Joanne
I am working with preschoolers with asd and am trying a Me theme. I wonder if you could give me some of your ideas to try out as well. I could return the favour with what I have so far. Regards Sandy

annimul 08-08-2011 04:22 AM

Hey, i have been working in an ABA preschool in Ireland since november and we had a child with similiar behaviours; slapping, biting, hair pulling, etc.

what we used to do for any projects was keep something that he really really loved (biscuits) for tasks or tricky activities (ie. group time, art, circle time) we had a 'first and then' card in front of him where you place a picture of the activity on one side and the biscuit (reinforcer) on the other, gradually he began to learn to when he completes the task (aided or unaided) he got some of the biscuit.

this gradually began to reduce his behaviours too. not overly sure about activities though because we use ABA, so lots of fine motor and play.

SPED Teach 20 08-07-2011 08:26 PM

Try having the aids use what we call hand over hand. I have a problem with this too and the aids really have to be patient with the kids. Hand over hand is having the student hold the marker while you hold the students hand or marker (depending on how much they can do by themselves) and making the marks with them. I would definatly suggest lowering the level if the students are struggling. For example if its to paint a picture of a flower you might have the student pick a flower (by giving them a choice of two pictures) and then paint inside the flower already outlined. You can eventually work toward having them paint it themselves, but I would suggest this especially if the aids are just doing this for them. What is the Special Education teacher doing with them or telling the aids to do with them? They would be a great source also.

SPS PARA 07-12-2011 02:55 PM

This message is in response to the art seems that you need to familiarize yourself with what it is like to work with autistic children. You may have the tools to help them but you need to want to help these kids. For many of these kids, school is their only outlet to express themselves and by using art and music these kids can do it. Please be patient with this process. They need to know that people care....thanks for involving those kids in your classroom but it seems to me that you are doing this because you have to and not because you WANT to...Educate to the SPED the aides work with the students to get ideas...

PARA 07-12-2011 07:23 AM

First off, I want to say thank you for allowing them to participate in your classroom. You would be surprised at the staff that generally does not want the "SPED" kids to be included!

I have been a para with HS kids for going on four years. Through different trainings and hands on work I have learned so much!Often times, with autisitc kids it is repeat, repeat, repeat until one day a break through. One day they may want to use yellow instead of green or they may not yell as much. if it is something relatively new to them you will see them possibly act out or yell or not want to do anything. That is why it is inportant to repeat needs to become par tof their everyday schedule. There is a student that I work with that we are teaching to learn the names of teachers she works with by looknig at pictures. We have been doing this all year...everyday(even for a few minutes)Repeat, repeat, repeat...until one day she pulled out the pictures herself and just started naming them! There is a process to these kids learning..please be patient. If it happens in your classroom and you are able to witness it, you will smile ear from ear!!

xeebs 07-05-2011 05:21 PM

i teach art in a special school. i have found that my autistic children enjoy everything tactile in nature..spreading shaving cream on the table, messing around doodling with fingers and hands, and noses too.. water is another star..make coloured water, dropping/fetching objects at the bottom of the bucket, using a spray bottle to spray smeared paint on the wall (on paper hung on wall)

some refuse to get 'messy' so usually these activities need to be modified

happy messing about!

Rob B 06-17-2011 01:29 PM

I work in a Psych Hospital on the unit that work with patients on the Autistic spectrum. If bathroom times are hampering your groups you could structure a bathroom break before the activity to ensure nobody else tries that maneuver either.

Linda66 05-15-2011 05:31 PM

I have been working with a severe autistic child. I love it!
He would use the bathroom as an, rarely.
4 things:
(1) I wrote out "I want to go to the restroom, please."
He can read that and he can now say that on his own. I don't respond to "Potty, please"
(2) He has to do EVERY skill in the process ON HIS makes it so much more work for him.
(3)Set a timer and followed a schedule for his bathroom time(doesn't ALWAYS work, but does 99% of the time).
(4)Eliminated as much toxins in his food as possible.
I Don't let him eat anything with red food coloring
I put all his food on an energy mat which somehow negates the effects of coloring, pesticides and even neutralizes the red dyes.

H.G.Shafton 04-20-2011 03:57 PM

Making Art Special - A Curriculum for Special Education Art is a new resource for parents and teachers of children with disabilities. It contains 50 illustrated art lessons as well as tips for designing your own lessons. It is available on Amazon and at You can also find helpful information at my facebook page, facebook/

Helen Goren Shafton

Vijaya Mohan 02-01-2011 07:03 PM

I am Vijaya Mohan living in Singapore,a qualified Art Therapist and have15 years of experience in dealing with children with AUTISM and all other disabilities. I have specialised in ART & AUTISM, how art is helping the children to communicate, reduce anxiety and modify behavior and also some of them are very talented in art skills. I am helping them to expand their skills in learning the art techniques. My e-mail is and my HP 94595756.I can help/teach the special children from the age of 3 because i feel early intervention is very important.I also run workshops for school teachers, parents, counselors, pshychologists as introduction to art therapy,how to use art in their field and help the children to face and overcome their day to day anxieties and expectations. I am also running art therapy groups for mothers of special children to accept/adapt as of today and how to plan /help for tomorrow(themselves and their children).

ldale 12-13-2010 11:14 AM

I am struggling with a similar situation. I find the best way to have the aids back down is if the project is paaaainfully simple. Lots of smearing of paint using either fingers or sponges, or something else if you like. We've torn up colored tissue paper and glued it to paper to make a collage. My main goal, and from what I gather yours too, is to make the project theirs. I don't care what it looks like, or how long it takes, but I want them to have a tangible end-product that they can take some pride in.
That said, I could use some other ideas for similarly easy projects.

sharissa 12-06-2010 09:50 AM

i just recently started my job as a one-on-one instructor for an autistic child. I abs. love it, but it can be hard coming up with ideas that aren't repetitive. The reason this is, is because I work with that child every day. I see everyone is talking about art projects the child that I have isn't to into table work and is often distracted while doing crafts. Please help with ideas to improve speech development and simply activities that I could do.

Teach. 08-29-2010 09:05 AM

You need to replace that behaviour with something that is more functional. Offer the child a "Break" PEC (if you are using PECs) and let them opt out of the activity that way. It will tke some time for the child to learn to use the "Break" consistently - anywhere from 2 week to 2 months. Get them ask for a break, hand-over-hand if necessary, and reward them with a 5 min (of whatever time you choose) break. Then bring them back to the activity. A lot of autistic kids have high anxiety because they are scared of new things, so if you can implement the break, that will decrease their anxiety which usually ends up which them working harder during the activity. You just have to make sure that you reward the break everytime they ask for one at the beginning. You need to teach them what it means before you can regulate how often it is used.

Bobbi Jo 07-12-2010 05:27 PM

My son is 12 but has loved art for years. He is not the greatest, he has bad motter skills, but he tells every one it's abstract. He loves oil pastels.The thing he hate is when he has to be a carbon copy.He made a sky that was multi colored it looked like a sun set. He brought it home and said they told me it was to be blue...I didn't want it blue. The sky might not be blue but we framed it. It is a good pic. but all kids are difrent, but kids like my sone like to use their visions not ours,but thats what art is about,Right? Glad to know thier are people taking care of our kids some where.Thanks.

jujachiautis 05-25-2010 06:06 PM

I am a parent seeking advice on creative activities, and i was very amazed at the way you have constucted your words about this child in your class. I think you could have found a friendlier way to decribe your frustrations. Hence I have found your message to be very offensive!!!

Autism_Aide 01-07-2010 09:21 PM

I work in a room where we had one student that was in the same situation you are in now. She would hit, pinch, bite, kick, etc. when she was told no or if she had to do something she didn't want to do. The biggest help has been getting things in the room to challenge her. A doctor and his assistant, came in. They work with the ABA program and we are using the ABLLS kit and in 6 months, she is now out in the classroom with the other self-contained kids, with few relapses. Getting a functional behavior plan developed for her specifically has been a great help also.

Some of the activities we did with her was shaving cream painting (put it on the desk and let her draw in it), she loves playing with beads (stringing them), play doh and she absolutely loves puzzles. Find what he likes to do and develop activities from that. Tactile activities seem to help calm the most.

Getting the behavior help was immensely helpful because, as you refer to in your post, you are almost terrified to get near them for fear of being hurt. I would not presume to take a professional's place in developing and understanding his behavior, but I think the biggest breakthrough came when we ignored her behavior. Instead of reacting to her by time out or removing to another room, we moved away from her a little bit, made sure nothing around would hurt her and sat quietly, looking around the room at anything but her. As for the different methods, that should be set by your IEP team and a therapist, but I think the lack of attention for the behavior made it less worthwhile for her to do it. We reinforced the good behavior and while not totally ignoring her, we didn't reinforce her need to have our reaction to the behavior and the attention it brought.

She is in 6th grade and up until this year, her behavior has been wild. Last year was the worst, but this year has gotten so much better, so hang in there. If they can get a behavior plan worked up and see if they will get a program like ABA or work using the ABLLS program, it will get better.
Good luck!!!

mom of snc 01-07-2010 11:19 AM

I have a son with asperger's syndrome and one of the ways to keep him occupied is art time.
we use shaped and arrange the shapes on a piece of cardboard to create new and extravagant designs. you would be surprised at what is created.

kids1st 09-29-2009 11:37 AM

I've been working 18 years with an aggressive autistic child and I love it. I used to have nightmares, but not anymore. The child is trying to communicate. Does the child talk...if not s/he needs PECs pictures and they need to be used faithfully. Start small and give choices. If s/he wants to play with something put a coloring page out (offer two different colors) let the child pick, so s/he feels like s/he has a choice. Sometimes it helps if you are coloring the same thing, so they can see how to do it. Have fun too...make faces and weird sounds (the stranger the better).
Relax too...children know when you are scared and will hurt you. Be firm, but positive. Say hands down instead of no pinching, etc. And when the child puts hands down, give a reward like tickels or high 5's. Back to pecs pictures....when the child is done with the matter how much gets done (even if you have to do it hand over hand from behind) then let the student play. Make sure you have the coloring picture pec's picture(or work) and then the play(toy) pec's picture on the table one on top of the other (so the child can see both). Later on you can even have a 3rd picture....what they can do after play.
That's a whole different story. Use a timer too if the child hates transitions. I love this stuff.
Wish I could find more work in this field. I'm suprised the speech person hasn't suggested this. If you don't have pecs use a camera or even draw your own pictures. Good

rjuxtar 09-25-2009 08:07 AM

i work with some highly aggressive students as well.
Is there any material you can think of that the student enjoys working with or even stimming off of?
I have an aggressive student who loves to play with sand (it seems to relax him) so i will often make his art activity center around sand. I also have one that loves to stim off of string and he did really well with yarn painting. Sometimes playing the students' favorite songs seems to help put them into a good mood as well.
good luck!

babyambi06@ao 09-07-2009 04:45 AM

I am a paraprofessional in a single classroom with one child who has autism. He has a classroom to himself because he is so violent and aggressive. Does anyone have any idea's on any activities that i could possibly do with this child. It s a very complicated situation, because it's almost scary to sit beside him for the fear that he will grab you by your hair and headbutt your face until it bleeds. Any idea's or thoughts would be apprciated by me and my face. Thanks

lmariucci 06-17-2009 12:36 PM

I have been working with children with autism for about 2 years, and while I do in-home therapy, and you are in a school setting, I can empathize with your frustration. I would give you this advice: what you are doing is NOT a formality, unless you pay them absolutely NO attention what-so-ever. The fact that you actually have supplies for them is good, many people just write these children off, believing they can't do anything, so why bother giving them anything to do. Many times, the aid knows the child very well, and knows what he/she is capable of, so they let the child do what they can, and help when the child gets frustrated, or cannot execute a specific task.
I hate to say it like this, but the child may possibly be getting more from the aid than from you, for the simple reason that they get 1-on-1 attention from the aid, but that is ok, and don't feel bad about that. These children have aids because they need that 1-on-1 attention, that most other children dont need.
what you are doing is a good thing, and just remember that!

shellieleigh 05-19-2009 12:17 PM

Hi, I also am a paraprofessional for autistic children. We just finished a fantastic unit on farms. You can stay as basic as you want or you can get into details as to why we have farms, what we grow, why, how we use the things from farms, etc. As for the art, water painted pink pigs, well they are kind of rainbowed, we glued cotton balls to various sheep pictures, colored donkeys, cows, tractors, barns, trees, and we made a very large collage of a farm. (Rolling hills on plain green paper, add all the farm things you made in various spots, duck pond, road, pigs mud hole, rabbits, chickens, any and every thing. I printed up crosswords, find awords, mazes, and other activites from spelling to math. We laminated all the farm pages on construction paper and made scrapbooks. Fun unit and you can just go on and on with it. Good luck and most of all have fun, your making such a big difference!!

rjuxtar 04-17-2009 11:32 AM

if separation is like categorizing, you could always do a collage of different material (sand, cloth, strings) in different colors and have the kids separate the like colors into piles?

i wanted to share a fun spring sensory art project we tried today.
we made bird nest out of small brown paper bags that we rolled down over itself into a nest shape, we painted them brownish gold and stuck grass and hay on with glue. it was messy but really fun. we decorated little paper birds and put them into the nests when they were dry. we encouraged the kids to make bird chirps or whistle and we talked about what great builders birds are. they came out great.

next week were making litterbugs out of trash objects for earth day. they'll be 2-d and 3-d depending upon how high functioning the student is. has anyone done this before? i'd love to get some input.

GBC 04-14-2009 05:15 PM

I am a 2nd year Child and Youth Worker student and I was hoping if anyone could help me out with a separation activity, the children i work with are autistic and non-verbal any ideas would be very helpful

tarawings 12-08-2008 10:36 PM

I am currently creating a curriculum for and after school art and social skills program specifically designed for students with autism and mainstream peers. When the curriculum is complete I will be happy to post a link to it.

For the time being, here are some suggestion for low functioning/young children:

In any project that you plan, think about it on two levels, the process (the experience of the child) and the product (what viewers such as parents, principles, and yourself will experience when looking at the project).

Let the process be open ended, so that students can explore the materials that you provide, and are not asked to make something that you think should look a certain way in the end. Select tools and materials that are appropriate and that they can use as independently as possible. Vary these materials often.

To get a product that you and parents will enjoy, select materials that will automatically create enjoyable products when explored in an open ended way. For example, if you are allowing your students to mix colors, only give them colors that will mix well together (yellow, green, blue and white OR yellow, red, orange and white OR pink, purple, blue and white, etc.). Vary the background color, shape and material that they are working on top of (try painting on foil!) and when it is all over, put the finished product on a white, black or complementary color backing paper. It makes everything look better.

Have fun!

trayjaye5 11-09-2008 06:10 PM

Having the children with autism come into your classroom is a wonderful opportunity for all. Although you think they are not getting anything out of it they are. Even if it is just for social interaction and not the art project. As for the the child who yells, I understand this can be disruptive in your classroom, your other students in your room will learn to have an understand of who these children are. They will learn to except then rather than just stare at them. The aids should let the child do as much of the project as possible. Some art projects ive done in the past.. the gen. ed class was supposed to draw and outdoor seen. I had my student collect leafs and sticks from the outside and make a collage with them. If the student is supposed to draw a picture of themself.. have premade eyes ears and nose cut out so the student who needs it modified can just glue them on. One project i do with my kids that they LOVE is a stained glass project. We cut out *teacher does this what ever shape it is we want.. we have done the sun, snowflakes, trees, raindrops etc. Cut it out so it is almost a stencil. Put wax paper down and the children just glue tissue paper on the wax paper. Put it up to the window and its great! The kids can do this pretty much ind. We incorporate art in my classroom almost every day.. my children are all very low, and non verbal, having visuals from boardmaker help too... but they can do it!

misstchg 10-28-2008 11:58 AM

I am an office assistant but I used to teach and miss it very much!!
With the not using the bathroom to get out of work I was wondering if just giving them breaks throughout the day so they don't feel as though they are continously working. They could have breaks where they get to pick what they do for an allotted period of time and then they go back to their work.

JoanneB. 09-23-2008 05:51 PM

Hi, I believe I can help you a little. I, too, am a paraprofessional working with autistic children, we actually have an ABA classroom. I am in charge of "Art" in our room, and I find that even the severely autistic children I work with can do almost any art project that any other child could do as long as I break the steps down to very small ones that take no more than 5 to 7 minutes. Presently we are working on a project that involves many steps that will be done over the course of a week. It's called "All about me" and I am doing this with children ages 8 to 14, it is probably on a 5 yr old level realisiticly. It will have pictures of the kids, things they like and things about their family. One day we will work on foods then the next pets...etc. Keep it simple. I will add this site to my favs and check in to see if you have more specific questions

jujujen 07-27-2008 03:38 PM

Thank you so much! You gave great suggestions for art with students with ASD. I am going to definitly try and use some of these.

rjuxtar 06-02-2008 11:55 AM

I just began teaching art in a private school for children with developmental disabilities (primarily autism). The biggest hurdle I'm experiencing is coming up with the right activities for the lower functioning students. So far I've had the best luck with sensory based art - finger painting, tactile collages, clay, foam stickers. My favorite has been the tactile collages - we used sticky back paper and stuck different materials to it - lots of cut up pieces of fabric, string, pom pom balls, feathers, sand or whatever the child seemed the least bit interested in. When they were finished we hole punched it and hung it up with some string. They came out great and staff involvement was minimal b/c it was such an easy task.
Another simple on is crayon resist - students scribble on paper with crayons and when finished, brush over it with water colors. The kids seem to really like the way the water colors bead up over the crayon. it's a neat visual.
last week we did bubble painting outside. we mixed some water colors in with bubbles and blew them at paper on easels (you could tape the paper to walls too - the bubbles wash off easily). we had bubble shooting guns and even a bubble maching for the lower functioning kids to hold and aim.
There is a great book by tina flowers (i'm 90% sure of that's the right name) on art and autism. she has lots of great ideas that are primarily sensory based.
hope this helps a bit.

apa 04-30-2008 07:31 AM

Hi, I am teaching art to a class where I have two students with autism. I usually print out a picture having blurred outlines (example rainbow) We finger paint these and since they have an inspiration to follow it usually comes out well and uniquely their own art work. I have one child who is accompanied by a caregiver. In the earlier classes I noticed that this child was being heavily helped by the caregiver. It was purely by chance that I realised that this child was capable of so much more when the caregiver was absent. My student not only managed to work independently...he also finished the painting! Therefore I suggest you have a word with the caregiver and make him or her understand that its the child's own effort that counts. It doesnt matter if the work is unfinished. I feel it has also helped that we follow a set routine. I always give an inspiration piece, usually have the same calming music in the background. We end with the same snack and juice every time. Good luck. I hope this has been useful.

r8che1111 04-28-2008 11:25 AM

I am a middle school art teacher. We have an autism program here with about 7 very low-functioning autistic children. 3 of them have been coming to my class every other day. They are unable to participate in what the other students are doing, and have 2 aids with them, so I usually have supplies, examples and steps written out for them, and I go over and help when I can. I always feel like the aids do most of the work for them, no matter how simple it is. I see them trying to get the kids to create the projects, but they really are not capable of much. They like to use dry erase markers. The one student will only use green. The other one just yells while the aid makes his projects. I am really at a loss, b/c I feel that what I'm doing is a formality. I can't imagine they are actually getting anything from this. Any comments; suggestions??? Ideas for projects that would be appropriate. And just so you know, they are 99% non-verbal.

twinkies 04-10-2008 06:57 AM

heyy heping autisitc children is very dam helpfull god bless all of you

urwelcome 04-10-2008 06:54 AM

Stacking different colored blocks, or reading them books are games that Autistic children enjoy playing

Ericacat 04-06-2008 08:51 AM

Hi, I too was looking for art projects for young children with Autism. I work with teens and adults who are somewhat verbal. We use visual pictures to assist in the student making personal choice such as choosing a tool from a our picture catalogue like a brush then pointing to what type they want, and color charts all geared toward painting it works pretty well.

Peace77777 02-15-2007 08:56 PM

I have been using some form of art with kids with ASd. I have tried with a group of younger childrne age 5 plus.. with music and art. To me art is a great tool to enhance social awareness in a group. Children are able to paint out of their boundaries, cross into someone else's boundary when the paint on one big long sheet of paper.. ! Try also foot printing and hand printing and follow it with a theme of "Together" (u can use other words that you want to teach the class about Teambuilding etc.) pasting them up onto the wall and get each to bring a photo of themselves and paste inside the palm ---- those feet... walking togehter , increase literacy with short poems for the feet (coupled with songs with words that teach social skills... ) u can expand it in so many ways...
I am from singapore , where are u from Annml, ,, maybe our classes are quite different from that in USA,, we have minimal integration and Special kids children are in Special schools . If yours is integrated it will be much fun as you can involved the typical kids by building them together as one despite of our differences in our "Hand Prints - lines"

If they are very verbal , give them chance to write on someone's elses hand something wonderful or what they like about the person .

Happy printing and building these little lives

Peace77777 02-15-2007 08:42 PM

Hi there, i would like to give some suggestions to your question about the child avoiding task by going to toilet and he is non-vebal.
Observe the duration of his attention span (if he can sit for 10 mins before he gets up - give him task that is 8mins completion and give him a break card to do something with your permission)
Note that Autistic kids are very routine,, so if he goes toilet once during work time,, he will do it the next , and the next,, . A shedule would help him to self regulate.
Observe if the toilet has some "stim" objects (ie:toilet flushing etc... ) he may like to go in there as it has been "nice spot" to self-regulate so do observe his sensory needs (go to an occupational therapy for consultation) - do u have that in your school ? He may have some other areas of needs to be addressed too.
Observe what are some activities that he likes, (modify his task to a level that he can understand and interest him - you goal would be to start and complete a sequence of task - not so much of the content of learning yet.. since he cannot even sit thru his task.)
Give him understanding:
Teach him to understand starting / ending of a task before going for toilet (do u have a schedule for him in which he can understand what is next in the class/ a personal one is needed if he is unable to follow the general class type)
I usually will find out :"why" the child did what he did, than you can at least try to make your transition time engagement at his rhythm.

I hope it helps somehow - and it is better to shorten you work time ,give in between breaks and come back to it again . Stretch it slowly.

autt923 02-06-2007 02:31 PM

This is also my first year working as a paraprofessional. I work with 5th and 6th graders. The girl I primarily work with is autistic and uses pecs to communicate. Some things we do is make pudding, you can use it to paint or eat. It can also be used as a math project because you can measure. They also like to use shaving cream. If you mix a little bit of paint, glue and shaving cream together, they can paint with their hands and it makes a foam type paint. Best wishes, and God bless you for being special and working with special children.

Riley2 09-03-2006 06:20 PM

I am new to teaching Autistic children in a self-contained classroom. I too am doing a calendar that involves all the components you mentioned. My questions to you are the following for my 3rd-5th grade class. How much down time should I give in between activites and do you have any ideas for getting a non-verbal child to not use "bathroom" as an excuse to get out of work?

Amyburke5 08-23-2006 06:44 PM

I also do "circle time", students go in half a cirlce and the teacher will do the moring routine... calendar, Sing songs... SUnday, M, T W, TH, F Saturdaaaaay... these are the days of the week. clap...

Amyburke5 08-23-2006 06:42 PM

How about Reading, "the very hungry caterpillar" by eric carle... make all the items that the caterpillar eats... leaf, 4 plums.... have someone hold the items and make a caterpillar out of a green sock or something,, have the caterpillar eat them..then make a butterfly,, you can doa butterfly theme... butterfly out of clothespins and coffee filters... if you wet the coffe filters then dab it with markers.. its looks neat!

Ther was an old woman who swallowed a fly... do the same..

Have a ? for you..

I teach autistic kids too k-4.. but most are nonverbal.. how do you start your first day? I need help with that if you can.. ideas? I dont want the day to drag... u know what i mean?

jessgar 02-25-2006 09:58 PM

It's odd that your post was the top of this board. I just signed on here looking for art project ideas.. I have been working with children who have autism for about a year and a half now. I worked preformal and now grades 1-3rd. In both cases I have been in charge of the art projects.

I guess the first question is , how old are your kids? Any type of theme would be ok. Personally I like to add different textures , just to challenge the tactile defensiveness. Some days we finger paint, some days we glue , some days we color.

In the next few weeks our themes are outerspace and transportation. Sometimes I even incorporate the books we are reading that week. No David is a good one, we made a David once, they turned out very cute.

Or try a letter of the week theme and have all projects follow that letter. But I am all about incorporating literacy in the projects. Tricking kids into learning

annml 02-23-2006 09:36 AM


I am a paraprofessional in an autistic classroom. This is a new experience for me. Does anyone have any suggestions for art projects or themes that you might use in your classroom?

Thank you

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