Visual Activity Schedules and Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Literature By Luis Figueroa

Introduction

This issue of NASET’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Series was written by Luis Figueroa from Florida International University. The article is a review of the literature focusing on visual activity schedules and students with ASD. Students with disabilities, including those with ASD, are now expected to meet all academic demands in all content areas. Students with disabilities are also expected to participate in all high-stakes testing mandated by the state. Schools throughout the nation are being held accountable for each of their students’ academic performance, including students with ASD. According to researchers, about 36% of students with ASD are participating in general education classrooms for more than 80% of their school day (Hart Barnett & Cleary, 2015). It is important to keep in mind that many instructional programs provided to students with ASD focus on communication, social, functional, and life skills (Hart Barnett & Cleary, 2015). Content area skills may not be thoroughly instructed or taught. Mathematics is one of the content areas that the nation considers to be of high priority for all students. However, there are fewer evidence-based interventions known for math that may help increase mathematical fluency. Researchers have extensively analyzed the effects of Visual Activity Schedules (VAS) and determined that the evidence-based practice has helped students with ASD reduce off-task, behaviors, dependency on adults, and facilitates smooth transitional times (Spencer, Evmenova, & Boon, 2014).

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