Do you have a child in your classroom with autism? Well, it may be a challenge for you as a teacher? However, it can also be quite fulfilling if you know the right way to provide them with support. Whether you are planning to maintain their routine, engage in learning in the best way that resonates with them, handle sensory overload, or anything else, anything you do will benefit them a lot. Here are the top 5 tips to help you support autistic children in your classroom. And if you’re interested in job openings for teaching autistic children, you can check Treloar School vacancies.
1. Establish A Routine With Them
For autistic children, the world is confusing and induces anxiety. As such, they find a lot of comfort in a stable and predictable routine. Well, the school presents autistic children with a structured nature. However, as a teacher, you need to make sure their daily routine is clear.
You can start by creating a visual timetable for them. It’s an effective and widely-used method to help any autistic children in your class develop a routine. Start by creating a timetable with simple words and images. Make sure they are in chronological order and they need to describe the child’s transitions and activities every day. This simple visual aid will give your child a sense of security. Additionally, it will act as a reminder for everyone supporting the autistic child. Check out this guide that will teach you how to make your high interest low readability books so it can be read by as many people as possible!
2. Consider Their Learning Environment
Many autistic children often suffer from sensory sensitivity. As such, they may start having intense negative or positive reactions to sensory stimulation. Therefore, as a teacher, you can make the classroom less overwhelming for any child with autism.
Since every child with autism is different, you need to learn their particular sensitivities, if you are planning to make things easier for them. Start by observing how the kids react to certain sounds or when touching specific fabrics. Additionally, you can find out if their guardians or parents have input. Next, you need to do anything possible to reduce any stimuli in your environment that may cause anxiety.
For instance, do you have an autistic child in your class who is often distressed by the sound of the bell? Well, you can allow them to wear noise-canceling headphones a few minutes before the bell goes off. Don’t forget to schedule this particular transition into their routine.
3. Manage Their Changes And Transitions
An autistic child’s routine is very important to their overall comfort. As such, they may feel overwhelmed if there are any changes and transitions. Note that, these may be necessary and unavoidable when the child is in school. Well, you can help alleviate anxiety by preparing the child beforehand.
For instance, if you are changing classrooms, take the autistic child to the new class beforehand to view it. You can also provide the child with pictures of the new space so they can adapt to it before the change. Adding some predictability to the unexpected change will make things less overwhelming and it is easier to adjust.
4. Communicate Clearly
It may vary from one person to the next but a child with autism may have a hard time communicating or interpreting things. It’s important to consider all the words you are using and how you structure the sentences. Don’t complicate them using rhetorical questions and metaphors. Rather, you need to keep everything simple and direct.
For instance, if you are asking the child to clean up, you may ask them to pack up their pencils and put them away. However, you can make things clearer by asking them to put their pencils away as you point to where they need to put them away.
5. Integrate Their Interests
Autistic children are unique in many ways, including how they create highly-focused interests. Therefore, use this to make classrooms more adaptable to them.