Board Games With A Twist
Teaching children manners can be a helpful way to boost social skills and explain the importance of being polite. This simple, but effective activity puts an etiquette-related twist on a simple game of chess, checkers, or mancala by requiring players to wish their opponent good luck or good game before and after they have played.
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.
Reading From Dream To Reality
I am the mother of a nonverbal boy with severe autism.
It was very important to me that my son be able to read:
- I can accept that he has severe autism
- I can accept that he is nonverbal
- I could not accept that he would go through life not knowing how to read
It took me a long time and many hours of work. I made many mistakes. Eventually I succeeded. Here are the steps I used to teach my son to read:
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What To Do If They Get Frustrated
As with other children, autistic children can get frustrated if they feel they are not being understood, and their emotions can escalate ending up with them becoming exasperated. We have all experienced situations where we could not make ourselves understood, perhaps because we did not know the language of a place we were visiting, and it is extremely frustrating. As a parent you are probably pretty good at identifying when your autistic child is becoming frustrated with their communication difficulties, but there may be some clues that you still miss. For example, it could be that your child starts to rock before they are going to start banging their head which you are aware of, but you may have missed the fact that they started to clap before they rocked.
If you are missing these cues it is through no fault of your own. You could be too close to the situation in hand or may be busy doing something else at the time. It happens. This is where a therapist could come in useful as they can help to pinpoint certain behaviours and help you to understand ways to deal with it.
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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More Autism Learning Resources
- The Successful Interaction with a Child with Autism Course learn to better understand your autistic child or students with this complete course.
- Autism Activities Workbook Bundle build communication skills, fine motor skills, sensory play skills and daily living skills, while helping your child or students to successfully manage any difficult behaviors, with these fun, educational, printable activities.
- Sensory Communication Workbook Build communication skills with simple sensory activities.
- How to Make a Communication Binder Guide & Workbook Learn how to create a Communication Binder for your child or student with autism using real photos. Follow my expert guide to learn how to use it to increase communication skills.
- Zoo Animals Play Dough Mats Bundle use these printable play dough mat to work on the names of the animals, build language skills, and increase fine motor strength and precision in a fun, sensory way!
Effective Teaching Strategies For Children With Autism
In some cases, the learning characteristics of students with autism may differ from the rest of your class. But luckily, the right teaching strategies and methods can keep children with autism on track to finish the school year strong. Try these tips, educational accommodations, and resources for students with autism to help them learn concepts that might otherwise be difficult for them to grasp.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Nonspeaking children will likely require daily assistance as they learn to engage with others. Therapies for nonspeaking children will focus on helping them develop language and communication skills. Where possible, healthcare professionals may also try to build speech skills.
Treatment for nonspeaking autism may include:
- Educational interventions. Autistic children often respond well to highly structured and intensive sessions that teach skill-oriented behaviors. These programs help children learn social skills and language skills while also working on education and development.
- Medication. Theres no medication specifically for autism, but certain medications may be helpful for some related conditions and symptoms. This includes anxiety,depression, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Likewise, antipsychotic medications may help with severe behavioral problems, and ADHD medications may help reduce impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity.
- Family counseling. Parents and siblings of an autistic child can benefit from one-on-one therapy. These sessions can help you learn to cope with the challenges of nonspeaking autism.
What Is Nonverbal Autism
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects a persons communication skills, social skills, and self-regulation. Nonverbal means not being able to speak. Although not actually a condition in and of itself, nonverbal autism is a subset of autism that includes children and adults who are not yet speaking.
According to research and advocacy organization Autism Speaks, roughly 40 percent of individuals with autism are considered nonverbal.
Its important to remember that someone being nonverbal doesnt mean that they dont have anything to say. All it means is that they are not yet able to get words to come out of their mouth. For many individuals, not being able to communicate through speech is frustrating.
Some people who can say a few familiar words or short phrases are described as being minimally verbal.
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Autism: 5 Ways To Support Non
Autism: 5 ways to support non-verbal pupils
If you surround yourself with people speaking a foreign language, your brain will eventually begin to decode it and understand the complexities within. This is how Id describe my experience of teaching non-verbal students on the autistic spectrum.
Teaching children who struggle to speak or who are selectively mute can be extremely challenging, and everyone on the spectrum is completely different .
But there are a few simple ways that you can aid communication and offer support.
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Educate Yourself About Your Childs Condition
Youll need to do some research before fully understanding how to discipline a child on the autism spectrum.
Read up on the condition to make sure youre setting realistic expectations for your child. Some behaviors cannot be disciplined away by a parent, and should instead be evaluated by a professional.
For example, self-stimulation is very common in children with autism. These behaviors help them regulate their emotions, and you could do more harm than good by punishing them for doing it.
Remember that autism exists on a spectrum, meaning every child will experience different symptoms in different ways. Its a good idea to speak with other parents whose children have autism. Youll get a better idea of how to set expectations, especially if you speak with a parent whose child has symptoms similar to yours.
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Guidance On Helping Nonverbal Child Severely Disabled By Autism
This weeks Got Questions? answer is from speech-language pathologist Donna Murray, senior director of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network .
Were always reading about autism programs for verbal kids who can function with some support. But how about my kid who is so severely affected and will probably never be verbal or independent? How can we improve his quality of life?
I understand your frustration. Complex children are just that, complex. So writing short answers about interventions for children or adults with great needs can feel inadequate. At best, I can provide you with some starting points.
First and foremost, a person who is nonverbal needs ways to communicate wants and needs. Any child with communication challenges should be working closely with a knowledgeable speech-language pathologist. Assisted communication approaches should be personalized to the individuals needs. So I wont make specific recommendations here. However, I will recommend a number of Autism Speaks resources and previous blog posts on assisted communication approaches. Youll find the links at the end of this post.*
Instead, Id like to focus on the less-discussed, but crucial need to create an environment that promotes communication and understanding. This is a framework that Ive used to teach important life skills to nonverbal children severely affected by autism. But it can help all individuals affected by autism at any age and wherever they are on the spectrum.
Diagnosis Of Nonverbal Autism
There is no specific single test that determines nonverbal autism. A multi-phase process is conducted to diagnose the disorder.
When your child is at the pediatrician, they will be the first healthcare providers to assess for ASD. Parents and caregivers will sound their concerns to their doctor if they notice any symptoms.
The pediatrician then could request various tests to rule out other possible causes for the concerning symptoms. They may conduct physical examinations, blood tests, and MRI or CT scan imagings.
Pediatricians then refer your child to a specialist if they suspect autism spectrum disorder. Specialists will evaluate the medical history of the child as well as the parents.
After all of the extensive testing, autism-specific tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis of the disorder.
These tests include Childhood Autism Rating Scale Third Edition and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition They will help clinicians determine whether the child has nonverbal autism.
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Learn More About The Student
Students with autism are not that different from regular students. They have unique likes and dislikes, weak and strong points, behavioral patterns, and so on. As such, no one teaching style is suitable for every special needs student.
With some students, you can sit them down in an informal interview to learn more about them. This way, you can have a better idea of what teaching style would best fit them. Note that some students might not want to share any information.
However, it isnt easy to learn these things when a student has non-verbal autism. You can instead go to the family for help. They might also give you tips on what works and what doesnt.
Remember to continue to observe the student so you can adjust your strategy when needed. As the student improves and learns new things, you should adjust to them, as well.
Do Speech Therapists Teach Social Skills
An SLP is a speech-language therapist who helps clients cope with social communication disorders. You may be able to test your communication skills and language abilities on this test. After your child learns how to take a language turn to a new person or a situation, the SLP can help your child learn how to understand and pronounce it.
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Play And Social Interaction Create Lots Of Opportunities To Describe Things
Your child will have plenty of opportunities to learn and interact socially through play. Playing games your child enjoys, especially those involving sorting and matching, are a great option, because they work on visual and motor skills, as well as communication.
Anything to get your kid using their hands, like play dough, creates lots of opportunities for them to describe the tactile experience, using gestures at first, then eventually words. The connection between physical sensations and being compelled to describe the feeling can be very strong.
You can even get musical by singing or playing toy instruments. When playing with your child, always be sure to place yourself at eye level so your child can easily see and hear you while you play together and learn from watching what you do.
Offer Accommodations For Students With Limited Motor Skills
Some students with autism may have more trouble with activities that require fine motor skills than others. In an article with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, renowned scientist and advocate Dr. Temple Grandin suggests offering accommodationslike typing on a computer instead of writingto mitigate these challenges.
When it comes to specific accommodations, it may depend on the individual. Its always a good idea to reach out to a students family to determine the best resources for their child.
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Ken Sims Ma Special Education
Mr. Sims has been a special education teacher for 30 years. During that time, he has taught more than 1,000 special needs kids to read, and helped many of them continue on to earn high school diplomas. He is a full time special education teacher in Southern California, and is currently credentialed to teach K-12 special education and K-6 general education.
Teach Students About Historical Figures With Autism
Although the disorder wasnt discovered until the twentieth-century, people with autism have made important contributions to history, and its important to educate students about themnot just in April but throughout the year. Here are a few well-known figures who are diagnosed with or believed to have had autism to get you started:
- Greta Thunberg
- Emily Dickinson
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Making A Big Difference
If you are teaching students on the autism spectrum in any capacity, you can see more positive results with a bit of planning.
Be clear, empathetic, and consistent. These are valuable qualities to have in any teaching environment, but they are particularly important when working with students on the autism spectrum.
Adapt your classroom to provide the optimal learning environment for students with special needs. Small changes can make a big difference.
Finally, utilize autistic teaching strategies to foster a positive and productive learning experience for everyone involved.
While teaching autistic students isnt often as straightforward as teaching neurotypical students, the growth youll see will be well worth the effort.
Create A Comfortable Environment For Students With Non
Special needs students are often sensitive to their environment. When something isnt right, they wouldnt be able to focus on any activity.
Thats why your classroom should be as accommodating as possible to them. It should be a place where they can feel secure, allowing them to grow without worries.
If a student is sensitive to noise, for example, you can give them earplugs when doing activities that make noise. For those sensitive to light, you can adjust the lighting and such.
Make sure to use the right colors use cool, calming hues as bright colors might excite them instead. Lessen the visual noise by taking down posters and other distractions. If you need any help, ask the family what it takes to make them feel safe and comfortable.
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One: Make Sure Foundation Skills Are In Place
The skills a child with autism will need to begin reading instruction include the ability to sit at a table for at least 15-20 minutes and the ability to respond to questions or complete tasks or VB program).
During the pre-reading instruction, I focused on increasing the range of sounds my son could produce, and mastering as many labels of objects and actions as possible: such as cat, dog, house, running, sitting, sleeping and so forth.
A comment on increasing the range of sounds: I used Dr. Martin Kozloffs excellent book, Educating Children with Learning and Behavior Problems, which has exact descriptions of how to have a child place his tongue and shape his mouth to make sounds. Since my son was nonverbal, I also used sign language to sign the sounds. This approach is similar to what is done in Verbal Behavior Therapy non-verbal learners are taught to respond with sign language. I have since learned that there is an effective pre-program called Visual Phonics. I am not familiar with it, but interested persons may wish to look into it.
Factoring In Autism Severity Level
Since autism exists on a spectrum, some people are more severely impacted by the disorder than others. In a learning environment, the severity level of autism greatly affects the approach to education and appropriate accommodations that should be made.
When the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published in 2013, autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome , pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified , and childhood disintegrative disorder were combined into one diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder.
The four previously separate diagnoses each contained similar symptoms, just with varying levels of severity. ASD recognizes these shared symptoms as being characterized by a persons challenges in the areas of social communication, social skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors.
The challenges associated with ASD are then classified by level. The levels of ASD are used to describe the severity of the individuals social skills and problematic behaviors. They are: