The exploration of classroom strategies for facilitating communication with learners with autism : a case of two schools at Umlazi District.
The focus of this topic was to explore the teaching strategies that the classroom teachers use to facilitate communication with learners with autism. The study was conducted in two Special Schools in Umlazi District and used 10 participants. Participants were purposively selected because of the nature of the learners. The study adopted a qualitative research in which a case study design was adopted. In order to explore communication teaching strategies and resources used in the classroom, an interpretivist paradigm was used. The data generation processes was obtained through semi structured interviews and classroom observations. The overall findings of the research show that facilitating communication with learners with autism is complex and multifaceted because each strategies. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), visual aids and gestures are predominantly used to facilitate communication with learners with autism. The findings of the research also show that learners with autism are agents of their communication. Teachers rely on other teachers, school therapists, school management teams and parents to throw effective communication strategies in class. The findings reveal that less technological assistive devices are used to facilitate communication in class. Vygotsky, 1978 cognitive constructivism theory and two concepts of Scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) forms a strong framework of the study since learners with autism depend on continuous guidance and support of the teacher in order to perform a task. Communication teaching strategies of learners with autism differ from that in the mainstream learners because it calls for collaboration of human and non-human resources.