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Autism Teaching Strategies

Aastha Dogra Apr 20, 2019
Teaching an autistic child is an uphill task, which can be made easy by proper planning. Here are some autism teaching strategies which have been designed in a way that can be well suited to a child's temperament.
Teaching a child can be quite challenging. And, if that child happens to be autistic, with learning disabilities, it can prove to be even more difficult. It is very essential anyway, to teach an autistic child to learn different things, to be independent, etc.
 With proper planning and patience, anybody - whether a teacher or a parent, can face this challenge. Here are some autism teaching strategies, which if applied well, can prove to be quite effective vis-a-vis an autistic child.

Physical Environment

The space where the child is going to be taught, whether it is a classroom or home, should be very plain, calm, and quiet. Avoid putting any colorful charts or posters on the classroom walls. Stimulating things, like lots of colors or loud music, often distract the child, and he is not able to concentrate properly.
Also, select a particular space for extra activities. For example, if you have chosen the space near a window for doing art activities, keep it like that and don't change it. By doing this, the moment you ask the child to sit near the window, he will know that it is time for the art class.

Repetitive Routine

The classroom daily routine should remain the same, i.e., there should be no surprise for autistic children. Use pictures for depicting the classroom schedule. By using pictures that represent a particular class activity, the child is well aware of what is going to be taught next.
Since everything becomes predictable for him, he is able to learn and concentrate more. Thus, a consistent routine is very effective in helping children learn.

Fewer Choices

Don't cloud the child's mind by giving him a number of choices, as it may confuse him and he will not know what to do. For example, if you want to know which class activity he likes the most, do not show him pictures of 5-6 activities together; instead, show him 2 pictures, and let him pick one out of the two.

Communication

Be very clear when communicating with an autistic child. Use very simple words. Keep your voice very low, as a loud voice might disturb and agitate the child. Also, while communicating with the child, keep the physical contact to minimum because, autistic children can't understand the body language, and thus, might not be able to interpret your "touch".

Activities

Another strategy is to plan the activities in such a way, that they help the children to learn social skills. Encourage the students to interact with each other as much as possible so that they learn the appropriate social behavior. The activities should be such that they teach the child to identify emotions in others as well as oneself.
The teacher might use certain short social stories, based on certain social situations, to teach the children how to respond when in a particular situation. Such activities have to be supervised properly, as autistic children often face major difficulties with social skills and behavior.
Also, the teacher should use as many pictures and visual aids as she can in the activities, and these can help the children learn faster.

Curriculum Planning

The curriculum should be planned in such a way that it incorporates the daily living skills, which will help the autistic child to work independently as an adult.
Examples of the skills that should be a part of the curriculum are self-care skills, social skills, social behavioral skills, skills related to employment, reading and writing skills, time management skills, money skills, and some hobbies according to the interest of the child.
Besides these, a few things should be kept in mind while dealing with autistic children. Firstly, they should never be put under stressful situations, as it might trigger an aggressive behavior on their part.
Secondly, autistic children have difficulty expressing themselves, so keeping the eyes and ears open, and trying to understand them as much as possible, can make the job easy. With the help of these techniques and a little sensitivity and patience on the teacher's behalf, a marked improvement in the autistic child's behavior can be brought within no time.