Teaching Autistic Children Effectively
Teaching children is always a challenge, but it can be especially difficult when trying to effectively reach an autistic child with a learning disability. But while it is hard, teaching autistic children effectively is not impossible if you follow a few simple tips. It doesn't matter if you're a parent who home schools your child or a teacher with an autistic student in class - the following article will offer some helpful tips that you may be able to implement in your next lesson.
One of the most important things to remember is that children who suffer from autism are usually unwilling to accept change in their lives. They tend to fight change vigorously, and so for that reason it is important to have a well-established routine regarding your teaching methods.
If you are a teacher in a classroom, then you undoubtedly already have an established routine. But for a parent who is home schooling, the routine can be harder to establish and keep.
Do not modify the schedule if at all possible, whether for convenience or other reasons. Sticking to a set schedule will help meet the expectations of your child, and will help keep an effective learning environment.
Speaking of learning environments, the one in which you teach an autistic child should be straightforward and simple. Avoid having distracting visual images in the teaching area unless they are relevant to the lesson at hand. As autistic children are easily over-stimulated, these distracting elements will compete with the lesson being taught for the child's attention.
It also may be a good idea to incorporate multiple modes of delivery into your teaching lessons. It is no secret that some children respond better to certain mediums than others. This is also the case with autistic children, except that these disparities are accentuated. Because of this, it is important to find a mode of delivery that works best of your child. Don't be surprised if this mode is visual. Sometimes, offering simple illustrations or representative symbols tied to a learning concept can be a great way to reach an autistic child.
You should also give an autistic child enough time and space to process the information you are trying to teach them. This is especially important if they appeared to be frustrated or on the verge of losing patience. Move away from the subject, either by moving to a new one or taking a break. When the child has had ample time to process the information, then you can return to the lesson, likely with much better results. Pushing an autistic child when they become frustrated will simply not work, and should be avoided.
Offering choices is also a good way to stimulate an interactive learning environment with the child. Don't simply present an answer and ask the child if it is right or wrong. Present a group of answers and ask the child to pick the one they think is best. This will also keep the child feeling in control, and reduce frustration blowouts.
While teaching autistic children can be very difficult, it is not impossible. Employing the aforementioned tips will give you a great start to a successful lesson.
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