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NEA shares strategies to improve education for students with autism

Unveils online resource during Autism Awareness Month (April)

WASHINGTON - April 07, 2010 -

The National Education Association (NEA) is offering a free online workshop to share strategies to improve education for students with autism. The 90-minute video gives educators and parents information they need to identify the characteristics of autism. It also suggests techniques to work successfully with children who have the disability.

Autism affects one in every 110 children and one in 70 boys. April is Autism Awareness Month, a time for the public to learn more about what experts call an urgent and growing public health crisis. 

“As a long-time math teacher, I am very familiar with numbers,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA. “Considering the statistics, we know that people in every community, neighborhood and public school will likely be affected by autism at some point. That’s why NEA believes it is crucial to equip parents and educators with the information and tools necessary to help students with autism succeed.”

The 90-minute video:

  • Provides strategies that educators can use to create positive educational and social experiences for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD);
  • Explains the disability and common autistic characteristics;
  • Suggests effective classroom strategies for improving the communication, sensory, social and behavioral skills of children with ASD.

The video workshop is based on The Puzzle of Autism guide, a collaborative effort between NEA, the Autism Society of America, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. The workshop is presented by two special education experts and includes PowerPoint presentations, handouts and other resources. It is available for free to educators or parents who want to learn more about autism and steps they can take to support children with ASD.

“NEA has special education experts who travel across the country to conduct this presentation for educators who ask for help,” said Van Roekel. “This new online workshop will expand our reach with just a few keystrokes. We understand the challenges surrounding autism and want to provide resources for parents and educators so they can effectively help students with ASD.”

Additional resources are also available from the IDEA Partnership, a federally-funded group focused on building collaborative relationships among those who work with students with disabilities. NEA members helped the Partnership develop several resources that are now available as part of their Autism Collection.

To view the free workshop:
To view The Puzzle of Autism:
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823,