How to Teach Children with Autism in School

If you are assigned the task of teaching autistic children in school, you may be bewildered with the thought of whether you would be successful in teaching the child or would mess up with what was going good earlier. Don’t worry. Here are some tips and ideas to use while teaching these children which have been proven successful.

Understand Autism Meltdown

Several autistic children and adults undergo meltdowns. Autism meltdown is a severe response to overwhelming conditions. During meltdown the person loses control over her/his behavior and can express it physically (biting, kicking, lashing out), verbally (screaming, crying, shouting) or both. If your student undergoes a meltdown, give her/him time to recover and ask her/him if s/he is feeling well. However, remember that they may take more time to respond than your expectation.

Don’t Underestimate the Child

Autistic children are not incapable of learning. They just need to get a knack to absorb knowledge and information. Accept that autistic children may always be different than their neurotypical classmates. Each autistic child should be evaluated on the basis of their own growth and learning, and not against other autistic or  non-autistic children.

Avoid Long Lectures

Long lectures or phrases can be confusing for autistic students, especially the verbal ones. If the child has learned reading, write down the commands. If the child is still learning, written commands with pictures may be more helpful. The instructions should be divided in small steps. If there is a TV show which is favorite of the child, record it with the closed captions and use it as a part of the reading lesson.

Make Use of Special Interests

Most autistic children have some or the other interest which you can use for teaching them. For example, your student may love cars; so, you can use toy cars to teach geography by moving the cars on a map to different states.

Try Peer Modeling

Peer modeling can be a good way to teach social skills to autistic children. Many autistic children find it hard to attune to motivations, emotions and other social cues that are natural among non-autistic children. Autistic kids care about what others feel but can’t always understand why others feel how they do. Teaching social nuances clearly can help.

Reading Stories to Help Picking Emotions

An autistic child can be taught how to pick emotions by reading stories. E.g. tears or frowns show sadness. Some autistic kids get help from a method called “social stories” that are brief narratives describing social situations providing model behaviors in many situations.

Predictable Schedule

Many autistic children are very comfortable with a predictable schedule; so, providing them the security and comfort to understand what to expect every day helps them a lot. This can be done by placing a clearly noticeable analog clock on a table or wall and tape images indicating the activities of the day and the times they take place on. If the child has problems in reading an analog clock (as many autistic kids do), consider investing in a digital clock.

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