4 Things a Child with ASD Needs from a School

Teachers in The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy are preparing their students to successfully transition to a traditional school. For some students, that may happen in one to two years, for other students it may take four or five years.

Whether you’ve been in an intensive academic program like Trident Academy or are just looking for the best school for your child with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Nicole McLain, Program Director, offers four suggestions.

1. Look for similar classroom size.
Classes with fewer students are the best type of environment for a child with ASD. Classes like those at Trident Academy where we keep the student-to-faculty ratio low provide greater individualized attention. The more individualized instruction a student receives, the more effective that instruction is.

“The perfect school will likely be different for each student, depending on their needs. In general, our students will be successful in a school with similarities to ours,” Ms. McLain explains.

2. Get a “feel” for the classroom.
Is your child entering a classroom where he or she may not fit socially? Does the teacher have strategies in place for easing your child into a routine?

Find out the type of behavior modification strategies used. Trident Academy uses positive behavior support strategies; students will do the best in classrooms that also use positive reinforcements.

3. Know what classroom accommodations your child needs.
Some students with ASD may need extended time or individualized instruction for testing (such as reading the test aloud). Other students may need preferential seating or more frequent breaks throughout the day.

“You really want to find a school that uses assistive technology like iPads,” Ms. McLain notes. “It is very helpful to these students, especially if they’re used to using them in the classroom.”

4. Ask your child’s current teacher for suggestions.
“We are assessing public and private schools throughout the Charleston region so we can provide our parents with options and opinions on what learning environments may be best for their children,” says Ms. McLain. To further discuss educational options, contact Nicole McLain at 843.884.7046 or

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