Autism, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex brain development disorders. These disorders relate to difficulties in social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
Autism and School
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 68 children in the US are affected by autism. To deal with autism early on, educational institutes and teachers need to ensure certain measures.
Tips for Teaching Students with Autism
Teachers in Autism School NJ, who face difficulty or feel anxious about dealing with students who have autism, should keep the following in mind:
Simple and Concrete Language – Try and get your message across in as little words as possible.
Task Analysis – Keep the tasks specific and in a sequential order
Give Fewer Choices – Autistic students will find things simpler if they have fewer choices to deal with
Re-word and Ask Again – If you ask a question and receive a blank stare, rephrase your question and ask again
Don’t Use Sarcasm – Sarcastic remarks must always be avoided. Students with autism may not be able to tell the difference between a sarcastic remark and a general comment. For instance, if the student drops all your papers on the floor, and you exclaim a sarcastic, ‘Great!’, they might actually take it literally and repeat the action in future.
Avoid Idioms – Again, students may take them literally.
Clear Choice – Do not ask open ended questions. Ask, ‘do you want to draw or paint?’ instead of ‘what do you want to do now?’
Inform of changes – Students should be informed of any impending change or variation from routine. This is to help them adjust beforehand.
Means of Presentation – Use more than one means of presentation – visual, peer modeling, physical guidance, etc.
Don’t Take Anything Personally – Try not to take anything personally. Their apparently aggressive or rude behavior might not be directed at you.
Transition Between Activities – It takes students with autism a little longer to switch between activities. Give them a 5-minute or a 2-minute heads up before any change of plans.
Don’t make bad, worse – Try your best and avoid making bad decisions in the heat of the moment. Make sure you’re calm and thinking clearly when making decisions.
Be constructive with your feedback – Criticism is hard to digest for most of us. It’s even harder for students affected by autism. Be gentle in getting your message across. Help them understand.
Keep Expectations Reasonable – Don’t overburden students with ideas of all that is expected of them. Take one expectation at a time and be reasonable.
Teachers certainly play a very huge role in enabling transition for students with disabilities from a regular school setting to a special needs school. Institutions such as the Winston Prep’s autism schools NJ are ensuring top notch educational facilities for children that need a little bit of extra attention.
If you really want to learn how to help students with autism, the most important thing at the end of the day is belief. Believe that you can make a difference in their lives. Genuinely believe that you can get the best out of them, encourage and develop them even beyond your classroom.