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Class Participation in ASD Students

Effects of Response Cards on Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disability. By Bondy and Tincani, in Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2018, 53(1).

One thing I have noted in my work with ASD individuals is that many of them struggle to participate in conversations, and especially group conversations. Without going into it, I have surmised that groups conversations may be the most challenging activity our brains can attempt in day to day living. Consider the pace, the special demands on language use, and the impulse control and active ignoring of irrelevant information, among other things, of a group conversation. I could legitimately never stop being amazed watching people perform a conversation successfully.

With that said, it is not hard to imagine the veracity of the author's arguments that kids with ASD often participate less in group lessons compared to their peers. This makes sense as group lessons often use the format and many features of the typical conversation. The authors were interested in interventions that might close the gap in "active student responding", or ASR (a research term) in ASD kids in group lessons.

Response Cards (RCs), when described, feel a little like how people answer questions in Final Jeopardy on the show Jeopardy! Alex asks a question and everyone is expected to respond, but without speaking over each other. RCs, it turns out, can dramatically increase ASR in kids with ASD, at least in the sample tested for this study. This is yet another research study that is identifying techniques for increasing the engagement of Spectrum students with not only the material but also the social aspect of the traditional academic curriculum. I love it.

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