I viewed this party planning unit as a great opportunity to enforce reading or listening comprehension, writing response skills, and social understanding. So, I broke the topic down into 5 areas: why we have parties; who we invite to parties; when we have parties; where we have parties; and what we do to prepare for parties. We covered one topic a week.
To ensure that students were thinking critically about what they saw in the videos, I embedded the videos into an interactive book. Students watched the videos, looked at stills, and then answered questions about what they saw. (Through matching or typing, depending on the student’s skill level.)
There is no real substitute for learning through real-world experience. Ideally, all students — most especially students with autism — should have many, many structured, safe, real-world learning activities. Learning traffic safety is an excellent example of why this is. What possible substitute can there be?
Researchers have explored using virtual reality to teach students with autism to generalize traffic safety skills. I look forward to the time when this technology is more widely available!