Before going through the autism teaching strategies described in this post, I would recommend that you gain an understanding of the various learning disabilities children with ADHD and autism face. It is important to acknowledge that every autistic child has different requirements and deserves special attention.
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Key Autism Teaching Strategies
The following table highlights some of the key strategies for teaching children with autism. This section of the post is generic and may be applied to most children with high functioning autism. The next section will give you certain insights on how to customize your teaching plan to suit the special needs of your special child:
Table 1: Most Effective Autism Teaching Strategies
How to Teach Autistic Children
As a teacher you can use some of these proven autism teaching strategies for most effective education for autism:
- Usage of short (easy to remember) sentences and keywords
- Improvise and Model what the child should say rather than asking direct questions
- Observe and Record behavioral patterns – what ticks with them and what doesn’t
- Try to focus on appropriate replacement behaviors
- Break up activities into sequence of smaller steps
- Introduce a reward system: Introduction -> Behavior -> Reward
- Drive the Child’s interest to plan activities
- Support oral actions with visual references: Repeat pairing of words with pictures / objects / routine activities
Using Customized Home Study Plan
Not everyone studies the same. I for one always preferred to study with music in the background and sitting on the floor(please refer to my article on floor activities for autistic children). Now this may sound like a distraction, having music in the background but it worked for me! Sitting on the floor allowed me to spread my wings! This allowed me to organize all my homework right in front of me. Now, in hindsight, I created my own world to study in. My very own selection of music and my way of laying out my homework had continued on even through college.
Entering into an Agreement with your child
Listed below, I have come up with some questions that you can ask your child (who is of age to do homework) and try to come up with a plan that incorporates the way he or she wants to study. This is great for home because both of you have the plan and have agreed to it. However, your child’s teacher might find study time in school to be more strictly dictated.
My advice is to speak with your child’s teacher and discuss the fact that these are your child’s preferences. During your discussion, highlight the fact that your child performs best when accommodating at least a few of his/her preferences.
01. When do you like to do homework?
- After dinner _______
- After school and after a snack _____
- Before dinner just to get it done_______
- In the morning before school __________
- Something other than the above choices __________ WHEN __________
02. Who do you like to do homework with?
- Alone _______
- Someone in the room but not helping me______
- With one of my friends _________
- With one of my parents _______
- With a tutor ________
- With someone else _________ WHO __________
03. Where do you like to do your homework?
- In my room ______
- In the dining room or kitchen ______
- On my bed ______
- At a desk _______
- On the floor _____
- In the family or living room ________
- Some Other Place _________ WHERE __________
- How long do you need before a short break?
- 15 minutes______ 30 minutes _____
- 45 minutes _____ One hour _______
- One and a half hours ______ I NEED A BREAK OF _____ minutes
04. How do you like to do your homework?
- Laying on the floor __________ Sitting on the floor ______
- With music ___________ In a quiet place_________
- Near a bright light __________ Only a little light_________
- Walking around thinking________ SOME OTHER WAY _________
- How do you complete your homework and stay organized?
- Have one book for school and one at home so I don’t have to remember to bring books home
- Plan what to do first ___________
- Color code my notebooks and folders _________
- Write down my homework in an agenda __________
- Call a friend to find out the homework __________
- Place all finished work in one place _________
- Some Other Method _________ WHAT __________
05. What helps you the most in remembering what you have learned?
- Draw a picture __________
- Write a note ________
- Flashcards ________
- Tape record the lesson _______
- Read your homework out loud ________
- Use songs or rhymes to remember things________
- Make up my own way to remember_________ WHAT ___________
Breaking up a Complex Problem Statement
Children with autism spectrum disorder often have problems understanding the complex set of instructions. You would see that your child would be much more receptive if you break up a problem statement into smaller components – each of which should have a unique answer. By splitting a complex problem into smaller tangible questions, your child would be able to address each question while you can help him/her organize those thoughts in the right order or priorities. Following is a great example of how you would split a mini project assignment for school:
As you can see, using these Autism teaching strategies can go a long way in educating your autistic child. Everyone is a unique person with their own unique ways of learning. Also, read Autism in girls Vs Autism in boys as there are fundamental differences in how girls and boys handle situations. The best thing you can do is offer these questions as suggestions to your child and they set them in motion. You have control over how they do their homework.