How to Teach Autistic Children. This creates a challenge when determining how to teach autistic children. Although each child is an individual who services for parents of autistic children pdf to teaching methods differently, there are a few strategies that are generally applied to help autistic children succeed in educational goals. These strategies build on the characteristics of autism, including differences in communication, social skills, behavior, and sensory issues.
Assume that all children are competent. All autistic children are capable of learning. They simply need to find a strategy for proper information absorption. Learn to accept that autistic children may always have differences, and should not be evaluated on the same basis as their neurotypical classmates. Autistic children should be evaluated in relation to their own grown and learning over time.
Speak in clear, precise language. Some autistic children may struggle with sarcasm, idioms, puns, and jokes. When talking to them, be as precise and specific as possible. Say what you mean when you want them to do something. For example, instead of telling them “Perhaps you should go back to the drawing board,” say, “I want you to try this activity again.
Avoid long verbal commands or lectures. These can be confusing, as autistic children often have trouble processing sequences, particularly spoken ones. Give them extra time to process what you say as some autistic children have problems processing what they hear. If the child can read, write down the instructions. If the child is still learning, written instructions with pictures might help. Give instructions in small steps, and use short sentences whenever possible.
Communicate with the child using functional aids if necessary. Some autistic children learn to communicate via sign language, pictures, or a voice output device. If the child uses any of these to communicate, learn the system so that you can effectively use it. For example, you may need to print out different pictures of food. At snack time, have the child point to what they want.
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Use closed captions on a television. This can help both those who can and cannot yet read. Children who cannot read yet will associate printed words with spoken words. Furthermore, autistic children sometimes have difficulty processing spoken words, especially those from TVs, and children who can read may benefit from being able to see the words as well as hear them. If a child has a favorite television show, record the show with the closed captions and incorporate the show as part of the reading lesson.
Use special interests to facilitate the learning process. For example, if a child loves cars, use toy cars to teach geography on a map by “driving” the car to different states. Teach autistic children through peer modeling. Many autistic children have difficulties being attuned to emotion, motivations, and other social cues that are instinctive among non-autistic children. Explicitly and clearly explaining social nuances can be helpful as they can be confusing to many autistic children.
Many autistic children are capable of learning how to interact appropriately. They may simply need to be told techniques explicitly, instead of picking them up only through observation. Very young children in preschool and kindergarten can learn simple tasks like color discrimination, letter discrimination, or answering “yes” or “no” to simple questions by observing their neurotypical peers engaging in these tasks. During centers or group work, consider pairing an autistic child who struggles in a certain area with a neurotypical child who excels in that area. For instance, if an autistic student struggles with color discrimination, pair that child with a neurotypical child who excels in color discrimination. By observing a peer perform the task correctly, an autistic child can learn to mimic the targeted behavior. Neurotypical children who are first grade through high school and who exhibit developmentally appropriate social skills can be trained to serve as peer models for their autistic classmates, modeling social skills for interaction such as eye contact, pleasant greetings, sharing ideas, recommending changes nicely, and talking in a pleasant voice, among other things.
Make sure that the child is interested and willing to help first. Read stories to show proper behavior in different situations. For example, read a story about a child who is sad and point out a frown or tears as examples of sadness to help an autistic child learn how to pick up on emotions. The child can learn by memorization. These stories help them by providing behaviors to model in various situations. Many autistic children thrive on a predictable schedule, so giving them the security to know what to expect each day is beneficial.