2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 34-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


FELDMAN, Howard R. and BECK, Dina, Biology Department, Touro College, 227 W. 60th Street, New York, NY 10023, feldspar4@optonline.net

We describe the importance of using research-based instruction in science education, especially in regard to children with autism spectrum disorder. This study details various methods to address the needs and develop the strengths of children with autism through the science curriculum. We discuss methods to minimize the anxiety of individuals with autism. Our focus is on how the social, emotional, and general life skills of autistic students can be enhanced through the use of the science curriculum. Science, specifically paleobiology, can be used as a bridge to help children with autism better connect with, interact with, and understand their immediate environments. Science teachers can harness the sensory component integral to science, as well as use it to deepen students’ understanding of natural phenomena. Furthermore, incorporating effective teaching methods into paleobiology methodologies can help students with autism become more settled in their social, natural, and sensory environments. The positive effect of bottom-up instruction, task analysis, and co-operative learning/peer tutoring as well as others are explored. Multimodal teaching, especially, is vital in science classrooms, and especially for students with autism. We discuss how to build on existing strengths of children with autism and incorporate them into the science classroom. Finally, this work explores how to use the paleobiology curriculum to broaden life skills and understanding concepts such as change, accepting differences, time, and size.