If A Child Has Trouble Sitting Still Or Staying In Their Seat They Should Be Given Opportunities To Move Throughout The Day
Opportunities for movement can include:
- standing up at desk while doing work
- walking around the class in a predefined area
- getting out of seat to stretch
- passing out materials
- going to the water fountain
- incorporating movement into learning activities
It is up to the parents and the school team to work with the child to figure out what type of movement/movement break would be best.
Students With Autism Can Present Unique Challenges For Their Teachers Who Need To Effectively Meet Their Needs
It is vital that teachers are well-equipped to deal with these challenges and are aware of the best possible ways to support a child with autism in the classroom.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder or autism is a developmental disability that can cause significant social communication and behavioural challenges.
It affects a childs social abilities as well as anything from speech to non-verbal communication and can make their behaviour unpredictable. Of course, its not their fault and they are often blessed with high intelligence and unique strengths that only heighten the challenge of bringing out their best.
So how can you as a teacher support a child with autism in the classroom effectively? Here are some tips that you can follow:
It all starts with the childs parents
The primary carer at home, be it mum or dad, know all the likes, the dislikes, and the particular behavioural triggers. Sure, theyre not professionals, but theyre the true heart of an autistic child, the heart an autistic child may or may not be able to express themselves.
They have the history of good and bad reactions to every experience and stimulation. They have the experience of the good and bad results trying to deal with sometimes confounding reactions.
Learn how to care for children with special needs and improve children’s learning skills in our previous blog posts.
Study all assessments
Getting assistance from a Teacher Aide
Have a set plan for meltdowns
Educate the rest of the class
How To Get A Child With Autism Or Adhd Focus In The Classroom
Both parents and educators have a role to play in order to ensure that the child with ADHD or high functioning Autism are able to focus in classroom settings. Some of the strategies listed below can help, however please bear in mind that each child with Autism/ADHD is unique and what works for one child may not be as effective for the other.
Here are some of the helpful references that you can use. In this post however, we will talk about a specific strategy
One proven technique that you can use to immediately see some improvements is Positive or Differential Reinforcement. a key ingredient for that is to devise a plan that incorporates rewards that are proportional to the accomplishments.
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Bring Special Interests Into Lesson Plans
Many children with autism have a fixation on certain topics or activities. Take advantage of what theyre passionate about and use it while teaching students with autism to help them focus in class. If a child with autism loves outer space, for example, you could plan a math assignment about counting the planets in our Solar System.
Know That Repetitive Actions Are Calming For A Child With Autism
Weve already discussed the habit of stimming repetitive movement such as rocking that a child on the autism spectrum uses to lessen anxiety. But obtaining a sense of calm through repetition isnt reserved for stimming. Rather, teachers can provide a sense of calm for all students by maintaining a routine and sticking to it.
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Manage Changes And Transitions
Because an autistic childs routine is crucial to their comfort, changes and transitions can be incredibly overwhelming for them. Changes are often unavoidable and even necessary in school, but the good news is that you can alleviate the anxiety they induce by preparing the autistic child beforehand.
For example, if you are planning to change classrooms in a week, take the child to view it a few days in advance. Show and give them pictures of it for them to look at until the day of the change. Attaching some predictability to an unexpected task in this way can help it feel less daunting for the child and gives them time to mentally adjust.
Ways To Help Asd Children In A Learning Environment
Here are some strategies to aid teachers and parents when working with children with autism:
- Give prompts for a child to get started with a writing piece. Be prepared that it may take two to three drafts before it is complete. Highlight the important keywords to help the student stay on topic.
- Increase font size and allow more spacing to help the child understand the content better and improve focus.
- Use an edit wheel which outlines the basics of writing to provide a checklist to the student for punctuation .
- Provide two to three choices to foster independence, but not too many so that it leads to confusion.
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Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip : Provide Structure And Safety
Learning all you can about autism and getting involved in treatment will go a long way toward helping your child. Additionally, the following tips will make daily home life easier for both you and your child with ASD:
Be consistent. Children with ASD have a hard time applying what theyve learned in one setting to others, including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never think to do so at home. Creating consistency in your childs environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what your childs therapists are doing and continue their techniques at home. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another. Its also important to be consistent in the way you interact with your child and deal with challenging behaviors.
Stick to a schedule. Children with ASD tend to do best when they have a highly-structured schedule or routine. Again, this goes back to the consistency they both need and crave. Set up a schedule for your child, with regular times for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.
Calming Activities To Prevent Autism Meltdowns In Class
When students with autism are feeling overwhelmed, the intense response that they feel may cause them to lose control of their emotions. This is called an autism meltdown and is different from when students without autism act out in class. While the best strategy for autism meltdowns is to seek help from a school specialist, these calm down activities can help to de-escalate stressful situations.
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Tip : Find Help And Support
Caring for a child with ASD can demand a lot of energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Parenting isnt ever easy, and raising a child with special needs is even more challenging. In order to be the best parent you can be, its essential that you take care of yourself.
Dont try to do everything on your own. You dont have to! There are many places that families of children with ASD can turn to for advice, a helping hand, advocacy, and support:
ADS support groups Joining an ASD support group is a great way to meet other families dealing with the same challenges you are. Parents can share information, get advice, and lean on each other for emotional support. Just being around others in the same boat and sharing their experience can go a long way toward reducing the isolation many parents feel after receiving a childs diagnosis.
Respite care Every parent needs a break now and again. And for parents coping with the added stress of ASD, this is especially true. In respite care, another caregiver takes over temporarily, giving you a break for a few hours, days, or even weeks.
Be Aware That Your Classroom Decor May Be Overstimulating To A Child With Autism
Classrooms these days tend to be busy with colors and textures. While such decor may appear fun to you, lots of bright colors with no place for the eyes to rest could be hard on the sensory system of a student on the autism spectrum. Consider toning down the decor to include fewer decorations, less intense colors, and a place where a child can rest his or her eyes. In fact, youll likely find a less stimulating classroom to be beneficial for all your students.
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Important Classroom Accommodations For Children With Autism
Various classroom technologies are being developed and implemented in the classroom that benefit both the teachers and the students. For example, Vivi.io offers a digital signage solution that can be utilized by the faculty members. There are tools like integrated grading systems that can help decrease a teachers workload. And there are tools that improve the educational experience of specific types of students, like autistic students. Since autism spectrum disorder causes a wide range of learning disabilities that are unique to each child, classrooms must remain equipped to help every student work around those difficulties. Each individuals executive function level and sensory processing difficulties play a role in the resulting learning disability types and severity. With 1 in 68 kids diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with many high functioning individuals, teachers at all grade levels must remain prepared to provide accommodations designed to mitigate those learning difficulties. With the right classroom accommodations, it is possible to overcome barriers to learning and help children with autism tackle schoolwork with confidence.
Teachers can help the school day go much smoother by building breaks into the schedule. A single five minute break every hour provides much needed time to transition between tasks and recover from the demands of the classroom environment.
Playing It By Ear
Let The Child Know What Will Happen Next
For example, After you finish the puzzle, it is time to brush your teeth, or In five minutes it is time to turn off the computer and start your writing assignment. For some children it is helpful to set a timer so the child can keep track of how much time is left. So in the example above In five minutes it is time to turn off the computer and start your writing assignment you would set the timer for five minutes. Some children need reminders as the time is winding down to 2 minutes, 1 minute, etc.
For children who have trouble understanding the concept of time or numbers, a visual timer can be helpful because the child can see how much time is left.
Visual timers can be purchased on or other online stores. Here are some examples below that you can click on to see prices and reviews.
With a red clock visual timer, children can see time running out as the red disappears.
Sand timers let children know that time is up when the sand at the top gets to the bottom.
You can even get a free visual timer app on your IPhone, IPAD, or Android device. Just do a search for visual timer in your app store.
See 3 Ways to Use Timers to Encourage Homework and Chore Completion for more information on how to implement timers for children with and without autism.
You would need to get the paper laminated and purchase Velcro to make this kind of chart .
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Autism In The Classroom: Tips From A Parent
Atlanta resident Leslie Wolfe and her husband, Alan, struggle with whether to tell people their son Joshua has autism. The bright 7-year-old did so well in his public school’s first-grade class that many of his classmatesâ parents didnât know Joshua needed extra help.
Wolfe says one reason Joshua is thriving in public school is that the family got started early to help him get ready.
Joshua attended Emory Universityâs Walden School. Walden School is a preschool for children with autism. Each classroom has up to 18 children. There are two âtypicalâ children in the classroom for every one child with autism. The idea is to help the children with autism learn from the behavior of their classmates. Another aim of the Walden School is to help families learn how to deal with autism spectrum disorders.
Wolfe offers these other tips for helping your child with an ASD do well at school.
She suggests showing up a week before school starts. Practice walking to school. Once there, show your child their new classroom. Also show your child with autism how to get to the water fountains and the bathrooms.
Make Directions Clear Short And Concrete
For example, if your child is throwing food at the table say, eat your food rather than Be good at the table, Dont throw your food or Would you stop with that! You are always throwing your food. For children with difficulty understanding language, showing them a picture or a visual demonstration of the behavior you want to see, can be helpful.
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Create A Comfortable Classroom
Sometimes students are unsuccessful because they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe or even afraid in their educational environment. Providing an appropriate learning environment can be as central to a students success as any teaching strategy or educational tool. Students with autism will be the most prepared to learn in places where they can relax and feel secure. Ideas for making the classroom more comfortable include providing seating options reducing direct light when possible and minimizing distracting noises .
Top Tips To Help You Get Started
All children have unique learning needs, but children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD require a little extra guidance and support. Whether youre a parent or teacher, its essential to understand what a child with autism needs and how you can help them learn better.
These 10 tips will help you get started:
1. Create a Structured Environment Children with autism feel more comfortable when they have a routine with clear structures, and minimal deviations from their predicted schedule. Make sure the learning environment and lesson plans are structured in a manner that tells students as well as educators what is to be done, for how long or how much, when it needs to be done, when it is completed, and what comes next.2. Make Communication Easier Many communication techniques are used by educators who teach children with ASD. For instance, some learning centers use sign language for autistic children with low speech skills. Facilitated communication is another technique that may help them learn better, where you hold the childs hand or arm and encourage them to press the appropriate key on portable communication devices.
Consult a doctor or therapist if you need guidance, research new techniques for teaching children with autism, and try a few different methods to gauge how effective they are for each child. Most importantly, dont lose patience. With a little practice and effort, youll find what works best for them!
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Dont Wait For A Diagnosis
As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.
When your child has autism
Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.
Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.
Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.
How Would It Feel To Be : : : :
Next time you read a book to your class, try asking your students how it would feel to be the main character in the story. If youre reading a picture book about Cinderella, for example, you could ask how they would feel if they had two evil stepsisters who were mean to them. Or if youre reading Peter Pan as a class, you could ask them what happy memories they would think about to fly with magic pixie dust.
This can help students with autism learn empathy as well as how to see situations in their lives from another perspective. It can also teach them how to recognize emotional cues by encouraging them to put themselves in the perspective of another person.
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