Do you have any idea how challenging it is to teach children with Autism Spectrum Disorder? If yes, do you know how to help a child with Autism in school?
All children have individual learning needs, but children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD need some extra help and support. Whether you’re a parent or teacher, you must understand what a child with autism needs and how you can guide them to learn in a better manner.
Autism can be found in around 1 in 59 children, the increase in number due to the efficiency of clinicians in recognising autistic symptoms. Reaching out and helping children with autism can bring a change in their lives and thus it is very important for educators to accommodate these students as needed.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition due to which children become hypersensitive to sensory stimuli. The term “spectrum disorder” is used as the characteristics seen in autism differ from child to child and can range from mild to severe. Hence, students with autism often face problem communicating with others and thus displays repetitive behavior.
What Challenges Do Students with ASD Experience in School?
There are high chances that children with autism will develop emotional disorders due to the new challenges they face every day. These children need support and without support in the classroom, they are bound to feel secluded and misunderstood.
If these issues are not handled properly on time, it can leave an impact on individuals with autism spectrum throughout their educational career. The chances of children with autism to pursue employment or college after high school are very low, mainly because of these difficulties. However, teaching students with autism to overcome their personal challenges can help them reach their potential.
With a growing number of children who have autism in school, here are few tips that teachers can learn and imply while teaching children with autism!
Avoid sensory overload. Certain things can be quite distracting for students with autism. Things like fluorescent lights, smells, and noises from other students can hamper the concentration of those with autism. Teachers can use cool, calm colors in the classroom to create a more soothing atmosphere. Avoid putting too many posters or other things on the wall to look at.
Use visuals. Even those who have autism can read from visuals. Visuals can act as reminders about classroom rules, where certain things go, and resources that are available to students. The use of pictures and modelling will mean more to students with autism than a lengthy explanation.
Be predictable. If you've ever been a substitute teacher, you probably know the anxiety of being in a different class with a different set of students every day. Autistic students prefer predictability in their classroom and it eases their anxiety level. Students do not have to worry about what will happen next and can better focus on the work at hand. You can provide a schedule that they can follow. If there are any sudden changes, it’s it should be handled appropriately.
Keep the language concrete. Many individuals with autism face difficulty in understanding figurative language and interpret it in very concrete terms. This can be used as a great chance to teach figurative language and hidden meanings to autistic children.
Directly teach social skills. The hidden curriculum can be too hidden for some individuals with autism. Certain things may have to be explicitly taught (like analogies). Model appropriate social skills and discuss how our behavior can make others feel.
Treat students as individuals. It is very crucial to practice patience, understanding, and respect while teaching in a classroom with special learners. Learn to celebrate their success and don’t worry if some accommodations don’t conform to what you are used to in the classroom. Always remember autism can affect individuals differently.
If you are a teacher struggling to handle children with autism in a classroom, these above tips will definitely come to your use. You can also enrol in some autism courses for teachers and enhance your teaching capabilities and prepare yourself to face any classroom around the world!