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Autism can cause significant challenges in a child's behavior, communication skills, and learning ability, which can, in turn, affect their academic development.
Nonetheless, by employing the right techniques, teachers can support autistic children, aid learning, and provide social and communication skills.
One of those techniques includes creating a set routine in the classroom.
The inability to predict what will happen next in class or a sudden schedule change may induce anxiety and confusion for autistic children.
However, a clear daily routine will improve concentration and aid learning.
Also, while it is important for teachers to love all students equally, they must recognize their differences and adjust their teaching methods appropriately.
Adjusting can mean giving more time to self-regulate, repeating information, using a different reinforcement method, being patient, and adapting a unique teaching style for autistic children.
Similarly, teachers can support an autistic child by using direct and simple words with literal meanings to communicate.
It is essential to avoid using idioms, rhetorical questions, unfamiliar body language, or touch while teaching autistic children, as it might be difficult for them to process and understand.
Continue this overview to learn helpful ways teachers can support autistic children:
One of the simplest ways teachers can support autistic children and make their academic life stress-free is to create a daily routine.
Autistic children are prone to developing unnecessary stress, anxiety, and meltdown when things deviate from their regular pattern.
Thus, it is essential to consider every kid in a classroom and create a consistent routine that can benefit all.
You can start by making a visual timetable of daily events in the classroom, so students can mentally adjust and prepare for what to expect.
In chronological order, enlist daily activities students are to perform, use simple words, and place descriptive images to provide a visual aid for them.
Likewise, during special occasions at school, you can help by providing a reminder for the autistic kids in your classroom.
Asides from verbally explaining to them what to expect, you can place a distinct picture describing the special occasion in the kid's planner.
Although establishing and maintaining daily routines is particularly beneficial for autistic children, it can also help other children learn to stick with plans, encourage them and provide a sense of comfort for them.
One of the significant challenges autistic children face is sensory overload.
Many autistic kids are hyper-sensitive or hypo sensitive to certain sounds, tastes, smells, or lights, making it difficult for them to concentrate.
Teachers can support autistic children in the classroom by considering their learning environment and response to it.
With the growing population of young children with autism, educators must be well-informed of their needs and prepare in advance.
For one, calm and cool colors should be used for classroom decorations to create a relaxing atmosphere for children with autism.
Avoid using many stickers or decorations as they can serve as a distraction for autistic children.
It is also essential to observe the response of autistic children in the classroom to the sound of the bell, fluorescent light, noise from other kids, or the feel of certain fabrics.
Autistic children have individual sensitivities, and by paying attention to them, teachers can learn how best to provide support.
Furthermore, it is vital to keep parents informed of any negative or positive reactions to sensory stimulation.
Some kids may need headphones to block out noise or glasses to reduce the effect of fluorescent lights.
Teachers must work hand in hand with parents to help the classroom environment conducive for autistic children.
Autism can affect a child's ability to communicate, interpret meaning, read body language and respond appropriately.
This is why teachers must consider their communication style and sentence structure carefully.
Clear communication is a way teachers can support autistic children academically and improve their social skills.
When teaching or communicating with an autistic child, avoid using complicated words, rhetorical questions, or unfamiliar metaphors.
It is important to keep your language direct and simple.
Likewise, autistic children may have trouble understanding body language and interpreting touch, so it's best to minimize unnecessary physical contact.
Instead, gently communicate one-on-one with an autistic child while maintaining a healthy distance.
Although using simple words to communicate can improve a child's ability to learn and understand, teachers must also prepare them for other social environments.
Gradually introduce new words, use a visual board to teach facial expressions, and interpret the meanings behind various body languages.
Another peculiar way teachers can support autistic children is by recognizing their differences.
It is almost impossible to treat an autistic kid the same as other children in the classroom and expect the same result.
As a teacher, you might have to adjust your communication style and teaching methods when dealing with autistic children.
Unlike other children, an autistic child may need space and time to self-regulate and process information.
During this period, you must be patient, willing to explain multiple times and allocate extra time when needed.
Likewise, every child, including children with autism, has their unique strengths and interests.
By recognizing these interests, you can integrate related pictures and words into their areas of weakness, homework, or spelling exercises to keep them engaged and focused.
Recognizing the difference between an autistic child and every other kid doesn't mean you should segregate or give special favors.
In truth, granting favors to autistic children can expose them to bullying and hinder their ability to socialize.
What, then, should teachers do?
Teachers must teach students individually while considering their coping skills, learning ability, strengths and weaknesses, and communication skills.
Teachers can support autistic children in and out of school by working hand-in-hand with parents/carers.
Developing a positive relationship with parents helps ease communication and exchange of information about a child's development and growth at home and school.
It is not always easy to deal with autistic children in your classroom.
You might be unable to understand their triggers and behaviors or provide help when necessary; however, by sharing these problems with their parents, you can learn interventions that work for the child at home.
Likewise, regular meetings with a child's parents will help you keep tabs on new developments.
Sometimes, children with autism are non-verbal, but this doesn't mean they don't have opinions and ideas.
They may prefer to be more vocal at home or with their siblings.
By keeping in touch with parents, you can understand them better and help them at school.
In addition, dealing with autistic children doesn't come with a rulebook or guide for both teachers and parents.
You have to make extra effort to understand their behaviors, know their triggers, and bond with them so as to help them academically and socially.
Teaching autistic children in the classroom is no easy task, but it is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of an educator's career.
By providing support for autistic children in your classroom, you can improve their educational experience, help develop necessary life skills and prepare them for a bright future.
Teachers can support autistic children by creating a daily routine, taking note of their learning environment, communicating clearly, recognizing their differences, and cooperating with parents.
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