Digital Promise Signature Workspace

Megan Gross' Workspace on Autism

Megan Gross, CA State Teacher of the Year 2017, selected the following evidence-based strategies you can weave into your classrooms to provide the support students with autism need to meet their potential. Follow Megan on Twitter @MegNGross.

Sensory Integration, Self-Regulation & emotion

Mindfulness Breaks

Literacy 7-12

Short breaks that include mindfulness quiet the brain to allow for improved thinking and emotional regulation.

Sensory Stimulation

Math 7-10

Incorporating multiple senses with strategies like chewing gum, using a fidget, and sitting on a ball chair supports focus and Attention.

Sound-blocking Devices

Math 7-10

Using earplugs or headphones can increase focus and comfort.


Literacy 4-6

When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition.

Wait Time

Literacy 7-12

Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.

Prompt Cards

Math PK-2

Cards with strategies for managing emotions help students remember how to act when faced with strong feelings.

Student Choice

Literacy 7-12

Giving students voice and choice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant to them, an important aspect of promoting Sense of Belonging.

Encourage Student Self-advocacy

Math PK-2

Actively and authentically encouraging all students to seek support, ask questions, and advocate for what they believe in creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development and supports a Sense of Belonging.

Social awareness & relationship skills

Building Trusting Relationships

Literacy 7-12

Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a Sense of Belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.


Literacy 7-12

Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know, supporting their identity development and Sense of Belonging.


Literacy 7-12

Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.


Literacy 7-12

As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.

Family Engagement

Literacy PK-3

Family engagement happens when educators and schools collaborate with families to collectively support their child's learning in meaningful ways, both at school and at home.

Inhibition,metacognition & memory

Predictability: Environment & Structure

Literacy 7-12

Maintaining consistent routines, structures, and supports ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.

Checklists & Rubrics

Literacy 7-12

Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.

Creating Visual Representations

Math PK-2

Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.

Multimodal Instruction

Literacy 7-12

Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.

visual reasoning, inferences & math communication

Story Map

Literacy 4-6

Providing a story map ahead of time or having students create a map during or after reading helps learners understand and expand their Genre Knowledge.

Pictures & Visuals

Literacy 4-6

Visuals help students recognize relationships within words and sentences to develop literacy skills.

Discipline-specific Writing

Literacy 7-12

Interpreting and composing discipline-specific texts requires tailoring literacy strategies, like annotating or asking questions, to the disciplinary goals and practices.

Composition Projects: Multimodal

Literacy 7-12

For adolescent learners, the Composition process can become more robust, as learners begin to express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.

Student-generated Problems

Math 3-6

When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.

Model Assignment or Skill

Math 3-6

By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.

Multiple Representations: Visual Representations

Math 7-10

Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.

Peer Teaching

Math 7-10

Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.