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16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

Lesson Planning For a Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Bailey (name has been altered) is a 12 year old student in a year 7 inclusive History

classroom who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According

to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by

American Psychiatric Publishing (2013), people who have been diagnosed with ASD

sometimes find it difficult to comprehend social cues and communicative situations,

and on occasion react adversely to change (n.p). As a result, interactions and

relationships with other people can be hindered, a reliance on patterns and routines

can become excessive, and there can be a driving focus on different items or actions

(Autism Spectrum Disorder DSM-5, 2013). Lauritsen (2013) agrees, saying people who

have been diagnosed with ASD have difficulty in the area of “social-communication”

and the area of “behaviour” which presents itself as “fixated interests and repetitive

behaviours” (p 37). With the move towards inclusive classrooms as best practice, it

regards students of all abilities as important and capable, therefore it is important to

create a classroom climate of inclusion which caters to all students, including Bailey.

Obiakor (et. al, 2012) indicates inclusion is the belief all students should be

appreciated for the abilities they offer, and the action of seeing all students as

important to the classroom, whole school and community (p 478). He indicates this is

important for two reasons, firstly it is universally the right thing to do as human beings,

and because it also upholds our anti-discrimination laws (et. al, 2012, p 478). The

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) sets the first

standard for teachers as “Know students and how they learn,” and a part of this is being

able to teach all students from all backgrounds as effectively as possible (2019). With

this in mind, focusing on Bailey’s strengths through a strengths based approach, the

strategies suggested for helping students with ASD and using Universal Design for
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Learning (UDL), his potential for learning can be maximised. A strength-based

approach to teaching can improve students outcomes as well as improve teacher

attitude from seeing the difficulty of differentiating for students, to one which focuses

on their potential, abilities and capabilities (Hammond, 2010). Bailey tends to do

better in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tasks and tasks which are

highly scaffolded with step by step instructions, and classes where he knows what the

learning intentions and goals for the lesson will be. It has been noted, that when Bailey

sees written instructions which are unclear, or perceives the teacher’s verbal

instructions as unclear, he can become frustrated and confused, and therefore become

distracted from doing his work. He will also try not to collaborate with other students

unless specifically instructed to, as he often finds it difficult to communicate with them

outside of group work. Lauritsen (2013) would suggest the best strategy for helping

people with autism is to focus on improving social skills and reduce the things which

might be a distraction by improving the environment and promoting positive

interactions with other people (p 41).

The best strategy to assist Bailey is UDL, a framework for teaching curriculum and

lesson planning in a way which takes into account and increases educational potential

to all students from a diverse background (Post & Rainville, 2011, p 12). According to

Johnson-Harris and Mundschenk (2014), there are three major aspects to the

successful implementation of UDL, “multiple means of representation, multiple

means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement” (p 169).

Multiple means of representation are important because if some students can not

understand instructions or content verbally, they may be able to understand it in text,

and vice versa (Johnson-Harris & Mundschenk, 2014, p 169). As stated by Johnson-
16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

Harris and Mundschenk (2014), presenting content in various ways, three aspects are

reached more effectively; background knowledge, life experiences, and background

knowledge (p 169). AITSL (2019) Standard 1.6 says teachers must implement

“Strategies to support full participation of students with disability.” This strategy is

implemented in the lesson as much as possible, from beginning to end, and one

advantage is that it helps more students than just Bailey. Before students walk in to

the classroom, clear instructions about lining up without talking in two straight lines

is given by the teacher, then clearly instructing to sit in groups of six as they walk in.

These are simply verbal representations, but the lesson progresses with various

representations. It has been noticed, Bailey requires and does better when he has clear

learning intentions for the lessons, as well as written instruction throughout the

lesson. Therefore, the learning intentions are expressed verbally and written on the

board for all students to see. This is followed by a written example and instructions of

the ‘archaeological dig’ group activity which all students will be participating in,

followed by further verbal instructions. The dig itself is a multiple representation of

archaeology, which instead of just showing students a video or telling them what

archaeology is, they have an opportunity to experience it. The kahoot!, is both another

example of representation which goes over what students learnt throughout the lesson,

as well as a use of ICT and Visual Literacy. Effective implementation of ICT increases

students curriculum and learning chances as outlined by AITSL (2019) standard 2.6.

While visual literacy gives students an opportunity to receive and learn new

information in ways beyond simple text (Roswell, Mclean & Hamilton, 2012, p 444).

This Kahoot! task uses images, text, and gamification, which allows bailey to have

another representation of sources, definitions, and new knowledge. Another part of

representation comes through highly scaffolded activities, with step by step

instructions, which has also been noted to specifically help Bailey successfully engage
16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

with activities. The whiteboard activity where students work in groups and together as

a class to identify types of sources, timelines and words with definitions gives students

a large visual activity. It allows groups to present which gives other students another

verbal representation of the content, then it gives textual representation of the words

and definitions, and a visual representation of how it all fits together.

Multiple means of action and expression are an important means of giving students

different interactions with content and allowing them to show their understanding in

different ways, increasing the likelihood they will effectively engage (Johnson-Harris

& Mundschenk, 2014, p 169). This is important because students may not be strong in

exams or quizzes, but perform better through presentations or ICT tasks. With Bailey,

he evidently does better in ICT tasks, hence a Kahoot has been implemented, but as

noted by Lauritsen (2013), it is also important to assist students with ASD by helping

them improve in social skills (p41). 1.6 of the quality teaching model (QTM) suggests

all students should participate in Substantive Communication, an opportunity which

is given through the multiple collaborative tasks (Gore & Ladwig, 2003, p 22). Group

work has been implemented in a way which Bailey can express himself in multiple

ways and engage with the content through different actions. The dig is a physical group

task which allows students to interact with each other through physical team work. It

then moves on to group analysis work with highly scaffolded questions which assist

students in the analysis and their very short presentations. Cerrato Pargman (2018)

believes collaborative work such as this, shows students have better academic

outcomes versus them working alone (p220).

It is difficult to successfully implement multiple means of representation, action and

expression without varied and effective means of engagement (Johnson-Harris &

16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

Mundschenk, 2014, p 170). Johnson-Harris and Mundschenk express when teachers

give students the possibility to engage in material the way they prefer, as well as use

varied activities, students tend to have focused interest and put more effort in to their

work (Johnson-Harris & Mundschenk, 2014, p 170). 2.2 of Gore and Ladwig’s (2003)

QTM, also places an importance on Engagement, saying it is vital “all students are

deeply involved, almost all the time,” stating peer work and group tasks contribute to

assisting student engagement (p 28). As a result there are various and varied tasks

throughout the lesson, from group work in the dig, group work in analysis and

discussion, whole class involvement, individual Kahoot and another ICT group task

using google docs. These tasks are important, because as suggested by Johnson-Harris

and Mundschenk (2014), when you combine all three multiple means with student’s

possibility to respond, minimal down time and peer help, students are more inclined

to grasp and learn the content within the lesson (p 170). Cerrato Pargman (2018) also

suggest the use of the collaboration and ICT, as tasks like the google doc, which use

ICT at the centre of group work, increase engagement and student outcomes more than

if they worked alone (p 220). These collaborative tasks also explicitly promote

inclusivity within the classroom. Inclusivity is another concept which Gore and Ladwig

(2003) show are important for teachers to implement in their classrooms, one which

can be implemented through collaborative work and the promotion of everyone’s ideas

(p 46). For a student like Bailey, these interactions also model the best social skills and

give him an opportunity to build friendships in a structured and informed manner.

16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education
16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

Lesson plan Key:

Multiple means of representation
Multiple means of expression
Multiple means of engagement

History - Year 7 - Stage 4

Syllabus outcomes Students learn about Students learn to

HT4-5 - (ACDSEH001) -define the terms and

identifies the meaning, purpose How historians and archaeologists concepts relating to
and context of historical sources investigate history, including historical time, including
excavation and archival research BC/AD, BCE/CE
uses a range of historical terms - (ACDSEH029) -list a range of sources used
and The range of sources that can be by archaeologists and
concepts when communicating used in an historical investigation, historians in historical
an including archaeological investigations
understanding of the past and written sources

Time Teaching and learning actions Organisation

0-5 - Ask students to line up without talking and in two straight lines before Pre-arrange tables
coming. in groups of 6

- When settled, let them in, greet students, ask them to sit in groups of 6 Pre-arrange sand
(four groups in total) pit with coloured
envelopes which
- Mark roll have printed
examples of
primary and
secondary sources,
as well as words
and definitions.

6-10 - Learning goal/intention. Tell students, as discussed in the previous lesson, Explain the activity
today we will be going to the sand pit “conducting an archaeological dig to students and give
which gives us an understanding of how we learn about history.” Also write print out of
on the board for students to see clearly. instructions

- Assign a colour to each group by giving them an envelope which is the

colour of their group, and contains an example of what they will be looking
for, and a written explanation of what they will be doing before it is verbally
explained again. The sand pit has envelopes in four colours (red, green, blue
and yellow)

- Ask students to walk to the sandpit together and quietly

10-30 - Once at the sand pit, verbally explain to students, they will have 10 minutes Explain the activity
digging to find 5 envelopes which are the colour of their group. If they find again
another groups envelope, they should hand it over to the other group.
In case all items are
16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

- Students perform dig not found, have

spare printouts for
- When dig is completed, instruct groups to open envelopes and hold on to the groups.
their items as they will be sharing what they found with the rest of the class.
Ask to walk back to class together and quietly Have equipment for
dig; timer, spades,
sand buckets

30-35 Draw up the

whiteboard like this
diagram. Students
during their
presentations will
place their
printouts on the
board where they

- Tell students they will need to come up in groups to share what they found,
place it on the whiteboard, then answer the following;
1. what is it?
2. Is it a primary or secondary source? Explain the task
3. Is it dated? groups must
4. Place the image of the item on the timeline where it would fit complete

- Give students a printout of instructions, then some time to discuss in their


35-50 - Tell students, groups have 3-4 min to do their informal presentation

- After each group places the printouts, use class discussion to see if others
agree it is in the right place or not.

50-60 - explain to students they will be doing a Kahoot! Based on what they have
learnt today, and to get their devices ready.

- Do the kahoot!

- Ask students to take a photo of the white board with their devices, then
make google doc titled “Keywords and Sources” for their group, and attach
the photo for future reference.

- Congratulate students for working well. Explain the next lesson will build
upon the knowledge they learnt today to examine more sources.
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References (2019). Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

[online] Available at:

American Psychiatric Publishing. (2013). Autism spectrum disorder DSM-5 (5th ed.).
Retrieved from

Cerratto Pargman, T., Nouri, J., & Milrad, M. (2018). Taking an instrumental
genesis lens: New insights into collaborative mobile learning. British Journal of
Educational Technology, 49(2), 219-234.

Gore, J., & Ladwig, J. (2003). Quality teaching in NSW public schools: a classroom

practice guide (1st ed.). Ryde, NSW: Department of education and training.

Retrieved from


Hammond, W. (2010). Principles of a strength based approach [Ebook] (pp. 1-10).

Resiliency Initiatives. Retrieved from

Johnson-Harris, K., & Mundschenk, N. (2014). Working Effectively with Students with
BD in a General Education Classroom: The Case for Universal Design for
Learning. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues
and Ideas, 87(4), 168-174.

Lauritsen, M. (2013). Autism spectrum disorders. European Child & Adolescent

Psychiatry, 22(Supplement 1), 37-42.

Obiakor, F., Harris, M., Mutua, K., Rotatori, A., & Algozzine, B. (2012). Making
Inclusion Work in General Education Classrooms. Education & Treatment of
Children, 35(3), 477-490.

Post, K., & Rainville, E. (2011). Universal Design for Learning. OT Practice, 16(4),
16566066 Joshua Alvarado Inclusive Education

Roswell, J., McLean, C., & Hamilton, M. (2012). Visual Literacy as a Classroom

Approach. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(5), 444-447.