Every children have unique learning needs and teaching methods, especially children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD require a little extra support and proper guidance. Whether you’re a parent or teacher, it’s important to comprehend the needs of autistic child and learn with a purpose to educate them.
How To Support A Child With Autism In The Classroom
1. Create a Structured Environment –
Children with autism are more comfortable with a routine with clarity in structure, and minimal deviations from their formulated schedule. It is necessary to keep an eye on the learning environment and lesson plans of the children which must be designed in a way that conveys well-structured instruction for the students.
2. Make Communication Easier –
There are plethore of communication techniques available for the educators who teach children with ASD. For example, few teachers use sign language for autistic children with low speech skills. Facilitated communication is one of the techniques that may help them learn better, where you assist the child by holding their hand or arm and encourage them to press the appropriate key on portable communication devices.
3. Use Visual Aids –
Visuals creates an impact on teaching young children, particularly for children with autism. There are number of visual aids accessible for the autistic children such as Line drawings, photographs or Language Builder Picture Cards, “if/then” cards and stickers which can be instilled within various daily activities, while picture schedules and mini-schedules provide extra convenience. If you are looking for visual tools, there are various aids that are projected in online tutorials and videos deliver information in a visual manner that a child with ASD may find easier to learn and to grow.
It is essential to help the children with ASD develop the social knowledge and interactive skills that is required both at home and in school. An autistic child may not seem involved in interacting with peers, parents and teachers, but it’s important to keep pushing them out of their comfort zone for teaching social skills. The perfect environment that encourages the children to practice their communication skill is their classroom and it is vital for the educators to encourage their participation.
5. Make Activities Structured Too –
The important aspect is to provide structure within various activities and tasks which can be an effective means for helping children with ASD learn better. You can use visuals to improve the observing capacity of the child with information for each task or activity, in the similar manner as lesson plans and daily schedules.
6. Use Direct Language –
The main difficulty lies in teaching the young students with ASD as they may not be able to understand abstract concepts or figurative language, and they tend to take most things literally. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and gestures, may not make sense to them at all. If you’ve previous experience in teaching children who don’t have autism, it is normal to take some time to get used to the right vocabulary for what you want to say. Constantly practice being as direct as possible with the children.
7. Give Them Extra Time –
The important thing to remember is even in a situation where you use direct language, a child with ASD may not be able to respond or react right away. You are supposed to give them extra time to absorb what you’ve said, and process it at their own pace. Patience is a key when you’re teaching autism children. If you try to act hastily with the child or rephrase your instructions, statements or questions, you will only slow them down further as they start reprocessing.
8. Be Aware of Sensory Issues –
Children with autism are either over-sensitive or under-sensitive to sensory stimuli which is different from rest of us and it is even hard to notice. For instance, they may be easily bothered by perfumes and other smells, certain lighting, or even the buzzing of electrical appliances and echoes from other areas. This may lead to extreme level of reactions and from learning, so remain aware of potential triggers and avoid them as far as possible. Provide children with sensory tools to help them reduce stress and process information being communicated to them
9. Eliminate Potential Stress –
Children with autism don’t react well to changes and disruptions in their daily scheduled activities, so you can priorly use transition warnings, visual aid messages and clear instructions to help set them feel at ease. Remember, positive reinforcement is far more effective than threats or punishments, which are likely to cause anxiety and behavioral issues. Focus on building a positive learning environment where they feel safe and comfortable.
10. Keep Instructions Simple –
It is hard for the children to follow complicated strings of directions and especially children with ASD. Basically many students struggle with processing oral language, so it is in your hands to break down instructions step-wise, and avoid giving them more all step at once. Be determine about using short sentences and simple but clear language, allowing the child enough time to process each step and respond.
Consult a doctor or therapist if you need guidance, research new techniques for autism teaching strategies and try a few different methods to gauge how effective they are for each child. Most importantly, don’t lose patience. With constant practice and persistent effort, you’ll find what works best for them!
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