How To Simplify The Journey Of Learning For Kids With Autism
The journey of learning to read is a long and complex one for any student. All teachers of early literacy skills should be sensitive to their student's strengths and needs, and aware of their interests and learning styles. Teaching literacy skills to a child on the autism spectrum, entails much more attention, specialized knowledge, and tools. Online reading programs for special education like those developed by Essential Skills can help classroom teachers to motivate students and identify specific areas of need to focus on.
Since students with autism typically have difficulty with communication, it can be very challenging for classroom teachers to find ways to teach these students. Difficulties with verbal skills and lack of affect make it almost impossible to know what the child has learned. There are some methods that may help teachers to ensure these children are receiving the quality education they deserve.
1. Treat your students as individuals. All too often, children with disabilities are seen as a representative of a condition first. Remember that each child is unique. Be aware of your student's likes and dislikes, focus on their strengths and abilities while trying to reinforce areas of weakness. Every child wants to be a success.
2. Create a calming environment. Students with autism can easily be distracted or even triggered to act out when exposed to elements like bright lights, loud noise, or unexpected movement. A quiet space with a computer, noise-blocking headphones and reading programs may help kids with autism relax and focus.
3. Add repetition and visual stimulus to lessons. Instructional materials for kids with autism such as those from Essential Skills, help to reinforce lessons using repetition and appealing graphic rewards.
4. Stick to a routine. Children with autism are much less anxious if they know what the routine is and what the behavioral expectations are for a given activity. To help prepare these children for the unexpected, you can rehearse and explain; “This is what we do if this happens" In some cases, you may be able to withdraw your student from the disruption by encouraging them to use headphones and online reading programs for special education.
5. Avoid figurative language. People with ASD frequently find it difficult to read nuances. In speech, this is often an inability to recognize sarcasm, but in all languages, children with autism tend to be very literal. If you teach a blended class, it can be an excellent teaching opportunity to have those that understand figurative language explain the meaning to those who don’t.
Teach social skills. Many children with autism need to be explicitly taught nonverbal communication and behavioral norms. Discussing modeling and practicing social skills can be as important as academic work for many students with ASD. Do a quick Google search to find instructional materials for autism that can be used to teach social skills.