Tips to teach autistic children

Tips to teach autistic children

This blog talks about tips to teach autistic children. Autistic children are on the rise. Thus knowing how to teach them is important. This blog will cover different strategies and tips in this regard.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability causing severe challenges in social, behavior and communication. Their thinking and problem solving abilities are different from others.

ASD includes the following conditions –

  • autistic disorder

  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified

  • Asperger syndrome

Signs and symptoms of ASD –

A few signs and symptoms in autistic children are –

  1. does not respond to their name

  2. does not maintain or has minimal  eye contact

  3. also like to follow a routine

  4. do not like change

  5. repetitive or stereotypical movements

  6. difficulty in relating to other people

  7. may also prefer to be alone

  8. also repeat words or phrases

Tips to teach autistic children –

Given below are a few tips to teach autistic children –

1. Structured routine

Autistic children like structure in their routine. Routines set expectations and also create order for autistic children. Follow the same routine daily. They tend to perform better. Lack of routine causes anxiety in them. This can also affect their academic performance.

2. Environment

Design the environment with minimal distractions. Autistic children can be over or under sensitive to sensory stimuli. This can hamper in the teaching process. Thus, the environment should be free of stimulating factors. Things that can be done for the same are –

  • Avoid loud background music. This tends to cause anxiety in the autistic child.

  • Use a low and clear voice to teach autistic children.

  • Avoid using fluorescent lights.

  • Minimal things mounted on the wall.

  • Seat the child away from the window.

3. Instructions

Another tip to teach autistic children is to use simple language. Autistic children often have difficulty processing language. Thus, it is important to use simple and clear instructions. Break up the task in many steps. Give instructions step wise. Make sure to use short sentences with easy words. This will help them perform the task better, thereby helping in the teaching and learning process.

4. Visual aids

Visual aids also greatly help to teach autistic children. Use visual schedules to teach them. This greatly helps them to follow instructions. It also helps them understand concepts better too.  It also helps them become independent in the tasks. Adult prompts also lessen when visual aids are used. Visual aids also reduce their anxiety. It also teaches them flexibility.

5. Structured activities

Provide structure within the activities you plan to teach autistic children. Breakdown the activity into simple steps. Use visual aids also where possible. For example, a timer can be used to help the child understand how long the task will go on. The activity area should be set up in such a way that tells the child the following things –

  • what to do

  • when to do

  • how to do

  • how long to do

  • what comes next

Give the child reinforcement once the task is completed.

6. Choice making

Another tip to teach autistic children is to give them limited choices. More choices given to them confuses them. If you want the child to choose a color, present only two color options to choose from.

7. Social skills

Use modelling to teach social skills to autistic children. Provide opportunities for them to interact with their peers for short periods of time. For example, when playing puzzles, give some puzzle pieces to a peer. Now have the autistic child request the puzzle pieces from the peer as and when they need them. Then switch roles. Now the autistic child can give the puzzle pieces as and when needed by the peer.

8. Child’s interest

To work on the child’s joint attention, it is helpful to gather information about child’s interests and use them to improve their joint attention. For example, play What’s in the Bag? Firstly, put some motivating items in a brown paper sack.  Secondly, teach the child to ask, “What’s in the Bag?” and then label the item when you pull it out.  Lastly, be sure to provide opportunities for the child to be the “Holder of the Bag” also.  This provides opportunities for communication, imitation, and also role reversal.

9. Use technology

Many apps and websites are also available that help with teaching autistic children. These games and websites make learning easy for them. They are specially designed for their teaching and help them learn better. To know more about the apps and websites to teach autistic kids,

Each child is different. What works for one child may not work for the other. Thus it is important that we use those methods and strategies for the child that works for them. 

For more ideas on tips to teach autistic children, check out the video below –

Click here to see the video

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