If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism, you may be wondering what you can do to help them learn more effectively. Many children with autism have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom setting. However, there are many strategies that you can use at home to help your child learn and thrive. In this article, you will learn about some of the best educational tips for children with autism.
It’s going to be much easier for everyone if the child can see what he/she is learning about at the moment. A good piece of advice from Autism Parenting Magazine says using visual aid is extremely effective when it comes to children with autism. It’s important to remember that the term is “visuals” instead of pictures because there are more than just pictures that can be used.
You, as a parent or teacher, can use flashcards, charts, and graphs for math lessons, model objects in science lessons, using videotaped material whenever possible to teach a lesson on history, geography, and many other subjects.
In fact, you don’t have to limit yourself only to school books either. You could even create your own visual aids using any images found online if you have the know-how. Pinterest is a great place to start if you want ideas for making your own visuals.
Another way to use visuals that have been shown to be very successful is using social stories. Social stories are short, written stories that help teach different social skills.
Teach Them Social Skills Directly
Autistic children need to learn social skills since they don’t pick up on the social cues that other children do. They may not understand personal space and boundaries as well as their peers. It is important to teach them these skills directly. This can be done by teaching them how to behave in certain situations, such as greeting others or apologizing when they step on someone’s foot or hurt someone else’s feelings accidentally.
Here are the social skills they need to learn as soon as possible:
- Making eye contact when talking with others.
- Answering questions in complete sentences.
- Using appropriate body language while speaking, such as nodding their head or shaking it to say yes and no.
- Shaking hands when meeting someone new or saying goodbye to a friend.
- Ask for help from parents, teachers, and friends if they’re having trouble with something like their homework assignment or playing a game at recess time.
- Using personal pronouns such as “I” instead of referring to themselves by name all the time (e.g., “My mom said…” rather than “Mom said…”).
Teaching them social skills directly is important because it teaches autistic children how people interact with one another in everyday life situations.
Use Educational Apps
Educational apps are one of the best tools for aiding your child in learning faster and easier using repetition. They can be used on an iPad, laptop, or desktop computer to reinforce specific learning goals. There are many apps that you can download for free using Google Play or the Apple store, but there are also some educational apps that require payment. I have already tried using several apps for my son, who is autistic, like Talking Tom Ca, iPad Speech Therapy, Speech with Milo Sequence Builder Level One, and First Words Sampler Lite.
These apps will help your child with speech and language using repetition and customization. Repetition is the key to using apps for learning, so you should be prepared to repeat each word or phrase at least 15 times before moving on to the next word in order to have your child understand what they are saying.
You can customize these apps using a picture of something that your child likes like their favorite food, toy, or person. These educational apps will help reinforce specific words and phrases using repetition of those words over time until it sticks in his mind so he can say them correctly independently.
Keep The Language Concrete
Never use abstract, figurative language when trying to teach your child something new. Use words that have concrete meanings and can be easily understood. Abstract wording may confuse the autistic student who doesn’t understand phrases like “I’m on cloud nine” or “This is a piece of cake.” Instead, use terms they will clearly understand such as “I am very happy” or “This is easy.”
Children with autism have a harder time understanding things that are not literal. When teaching them, use examples and images they can relate to. For example, if you are teaching them about the sun, show them a picture of the sun. If you are teaching them about feelings, give them an example of a time when they felt happy or sad.
Keep instructions clear and concise. Do not give your child a list of things to do without telling him/her what is expected first.
Since they cannot think as fast as other kids, being predictable is one of the most important things you can do to help your autistic child learn. They will know what is coming next, and this predictability will help them feel more in control. It also allows them to plan and prepare for changes, which can be difficult for them.
Make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This will help your child know what to expect each day. Be sure to include downtime too, everyone needs a break!
If there are any changes or surprises, let your child know ahead of time whenever possible.
It won’t be easy to teach your autistic kid, so you need to learn how to stay patient. This is especially harder for parents who have their children diagnosed with autism late in life and you might find yourself questioning if the staying patient is worth it. From an objective point of view, staying calm and letting your child learn at his own pace will help him understand concepts faster than if you try to rush things up.
It is important to remember that autistic children learn differently and some might take a little longer than the average kid. That doesn’t mean they are dumb or behind, it just means they process information in a different way.
Children with autism have the same rights to education as the ones without any disability, so do your best. Use visual aids and help them develop social skills. You can use educational apps to make things easier and always use simple and concrete language when educating them. Be predictable so they can have an easier time deducting what you’re asking and stay patient at all times. Good luck!
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