The saying goes, “If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one.” As one person on the Autism spectrum may be highly verbal, another maybe non-verbal. As one may not be able to tolerate touch, another may be extremely tactile.


Ask any educator who has welcomed multiple learners with autism into his or her classroom, and you will find there is no set formula for ensuring academic success. When charged with teaching any student on the spectrum, one will likely find him or herself teetering the line of adhering to predictable routines while “thinking outside the box.”

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Jessica Alba

Because Autism Spectrum Disorder affects communication and behaviour, an ASD diagnosis can pose unique challenges to social learning. Limited interests and repetitive behaviours often impair a person’s ability to function in a school environment.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were protocols for embedding recognizable patterns and comforting routines into content delivery, while providing stimulating opportunities for student-led discovery? What if I told you that Arts Integrated Teaching can not only enliven your classroom, but also be a lifeline for those with ASD? Even teachers without prior experience in the arts can effectively use visual art and music to achieve learning targets with students regardless of ability.


As an elementary Music Teacher, I enjoy being instrumental in helping children express themselves. When my school was awarded grant funding for Arts Integration, my fine arts colleagues and I were ecstatic! Colourful hallways lined with student paintings and music pouring out of every door seemed an ideal environment for engaged learning. However, some of our general education colleagues were less enthused. 

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Let’s delve into specific ways in which drawing, responding to imagery, and engaging in music can positively impact the communication, emotional, and sensory needs of students on the autism spectrum in your class.

Digital technologies

Lecture 1.1The effective use of search engines and databases.
1 week
Lecture 1.2Creating advanced digital content
1 week
Lecture 1.3Developing the judgement and knowledge to stay safe online
2 weeks

Advanced digital content

Lecture 2.1Develop a Personal Learning Network to improve skills and receive support
5 days
Lecture 2.2How to become a self-directed learner and reflect on one’s learning
3 days