Autism can make a child‘s daily life challenging in many ways. It can have an effect on how they learn at school, in particular. As a parent or teacher, you are in a position to help them get past these problems and get the most out of their education.
How does autism affect school learning?
Most kids with autism spectrum disorders end up going to regular primary schools. The problem is that many regular schools don’t have the tools to give autistic kids the help they need.
A bad classroom environment for children with autism can trouble them. Most of the time, it can make it very challenging for them to learn and get through their daily lives. These problems can have negative effects that last a long time.
This is why, as a parent or a teacher, you need to know what autism means for education and how to teach people with autism in the best way possible. By using autism-friendly learning styles and getting rid of any discomfort in the classroom, you can help autistic kids learn in a more comfortable way and prepare them better for the future.
What can you do?
Many autistic students do better in a structured environment, so set up a routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Many students’ behavior problems and frustrations can be helped by sticking to a daily schedule and giving them enough time to make changes. In the classroom, students often need help with learning.
Students with autism learn better when they can see and do things.
Try to avoid giving long verbal instructions and instead use pictures and written instructions.
Keep distractions to a minimum and give rewards for good behavior.
Many people with autism are very interested in and passionate about things. The likes and dislikes of your students can help you figure out what drives them. Most activities that other kids do can also be done by students with autism, so encourage them to do so whenever possible.
Tips and Strategies
Having a child with autism in the classroom can be hard, but if you know how to help them, it can be very rewarding. All of your interventions will help them a lot, whether they help them stick to their routine, deal with too many stimuli, or learn in a way that makes sense to them.
Here are the eight best ways to help autistic kids in the classroom:
1. Give them a schedule to follow.
For autistic children, the world is often hard to understand and makes them feel anxious. Because of this, they find great comfort in a stable routine that they can count on. The structure of school is great for this, but you need to find a way to explain to them what their daily schedule is.
Making a visual timetable is a popular and effective way to do this. This is done by putting pictures and simple words in order on a timetable to show the activities and changes in the child‘s day. This visual aid makes the child feel safe and serves as a reminder for the people who help them.
2. Consider the learning environment.
Sensory sensitivity is something that a lot of children with autism deal with. This could make them have very strong reactions to either positive or negative sensory stimulation. So, one simple and helpful thing you can do is make the classroom less overwhelming for them.
Since each autistic child is different, you will need to find out what makes them sensitive. Watch how they react when they hear certain sounds or touch certain fabrics, and ask their parents or other caretakers for advice. Then, do what you can to get rid of or lessen any things in their environment that make them feel anxious.
3. Manage changes and transitions.
Changes and transitions can be very hard for autistic children because their routine is so important to their comfort. Changes in school are often unavoidable and even necessary, but the good news is that you can help an autistic child feel less anxious about them by preparing them ahead of time using pictures and explanations.
4. Say what you mean.
Autism can affect a child‘s ability to communicate and understand what is being said, though the effects vary from person to person. Because of this, you need to be careful about the words you use and how you put your sentences together. Don’t use metaphors and rhetorical questions to make them hard to understand. Keep them short and to the point.
5. Bring their interests together.
One thing that makes autistic children different is that they can get very interested in one thing. Whether it’s roller coasters, electronics, unicorns, or a certain time in history, all of these things can be used as ways to get people interested in learning. All you have to do is be creative and work hard when planning your lessons and homework.
6. (For teachers) Work with their parents.
Parents and other people who take care of autistic children know the most about them. So, if you want to help the child in and out of school, you should work with them and share information. Both of you can talk about things that have helped the child at home or at school, and the child can use those things in their daily life.
Building a relationship will not only help the autistic child, but it will also make the parents and caregivers feel better about how their child is doing in school. Your willingness to work with them will give them more faith that the school can help their child.
7. Parent Mediated Therapy.
In parent-mediated therapy, professionals teach parents how to do therapy so that they can help their own child. With this method, children with autism get consistent training and reinforcement all day long. Parents can also do some therapies with children who might have symptoms of autism but are too young to be diagnosed.
8. Build your resilience.
Even if you think you are doing everything right, it can be hard to teach a child with autism. Still, the child and their parents are counting on you to do your best, so it’s important to know how to get over bad days.
Most of the time, this comes with experience and a positive attitude, so it’s up to you to put in the time to make your mind stronger. Here are some easy things to tell yourself every day, especially when things are hard.
It takes time to get to know a child with autism and build a relationship with them. It will take time, work, and patience. Every mistake you make helps you learn what works and what doesn’t. You won’t always get things right away, and autistic kids are still kids, who can be hard to deal with even when things are going well. Most importantly, children with autism don’t try to be difficult on purpose. They are doing the best they can with what they know about the world and the help they have.