Children on the autism spectrum require special teaching methods, additional guidance, and general support from their teachers to reach their full potential. If you teach a child on the autism spectrum, consider implementing one or more of these tips for a more inclusive and supportive learning experience.
- Help other children understand that “different” does not mean “worse.” If you are teaching in an inclusive classroom, other children may not understand what autism is or why one student is being taught differently. When introducing a student with autism, stress that he or she wants the same things as all other students: to be accepted, to make friends, and to learn alongside their peers.
- Use visual aids. Children with autism often have trouble understanding abstract concepts. Using visual aids, pictures, and models to communicate classroom rules or lessons can help children with autism more clearly understand what they are expected to do or say in certain situations.
- Communicate clearly. Young children with autism may have trouble grasping figurative language or tasks with multiple steps. When working with a child with autism, avoid using figurative language, instead favoring short sentences with concrete terms.
- Keep learning spaces the same. If you’ve ever been a substitute teacher in a different classroom, you probably remember how nerve-racking, anxiety-inducing, or even downright scary entering a new environment can be. Children with autism are often resistant to change, and unexpected changes in environment can amplify anxiety. Keeping your learning environment the same can help children with autism focus on their lessons instead of becoming distracted.
- Be aware of sensory issues. Many children with autism have sensitivity issues concerning certain colors, scents, and sounds. Using neutral hues and keeping your classroom free of excessive perfumes and other odors can help keep children with autism from experiencing sensory overload.
Are you interested in learning more about teaching in an inclusive classroom? The Teacher’s Academy offers online professional development for teachers in Philadelphia that is Act 48 compliant. Our professional development for teachers in Pittsburgh can help you better serve children with special needs and those who are comfortable in a standard learning environment alike. To view our complete catalog of courses, pay us a visit online at https://www.theteachersacademy.com.