Autism spectrum disorder, shortly referred to as autism, is a term that is used to
describe a range of neurodevelopmental conditions that affect children, young
people and adults alike. Persons with autism are often identified by the way they
communicate, behave, or interact with others. For example, a child with autism may
not respond to their name when called, have perceivable speech problems, show
certain repetitive behaviours, prefer solitude, or even lack general coordination.
Regardless, these children, though autistic, are still well deserving of a good
education, so in this article, I will share 5 techniques that you can employ while
teaching a child with autism.
- Avoid information overload:
Children who have autism already have a hard time piecing information together;
they interpret data and information in particular ways that are unique to them.
While teaching autistic learners, it is important that you do not overload them with
unnecessary information, so that you do not make it even more difficult for them
to grasp what they are being taught. You can take short breaks between activities
when you need to teach concepts that may be cumbersome.
- Teach explicitly:
Some children with autism struggle to understand concepts that are not clearly
explained; hence, you should teach them with as much clarity as possible. Try not
to use figurative language, jokes with implicit meanings, and words that are
- Listen, learn and adapt:
While teaching autistic persons, it is important that you take out time to study
them, in order to understand their individual needs. Autism is a spectrum, and this
means that autistic persons differ in their struggles. For this reason, you should
not expect the same tactic to work on all your learners with autism. Listen to each
learner, understand their individual needs, and adapt your teaching style to suit
- Be visual:
Most learners on the autism spectrum are visual learners. They need you to explain
concepts to them using pictures, videos, or other visual tools. These tools are
sometimes more beneficial to them than lengthy conversations, as it allows them to
create a mental picture of what they need to learn. Also, because they like to learn
at their own pace, group studying may not work for autistic persons, as they tend
to drift away and lose themselves whilst learning in groups.
- Maintain a teaching routine:
Most learners with autism have particular interests and are not very flexible in
their learning patterns, so you might have to teach them different concepts using
the same routine. For example, if you detect that an autistic learner loves
airplanes, you can make airplanes consistent in every example that you give
while teaching a concept in class; this way, it would be easier for them to focus and
relate to what they are learning, as they already like and understand the example
that is being used.
There you go! With these techniques, you should find it easier to teach children
with autism. But before I leave you, keep in mind that even when you do all these,
you might still struggle, and that’s because teaching students with autism can still
be tough, just remain resilient and patient with them; they’ll thank you for it.
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