- Use visual aids in your lessons whenever possible. Visual processing
is a strength of children with Autism, and being able to "see"
your lessons will help them to learn.
- Use schedules in the classroom. Daily routine is very important to
the child with autism and keeping a posted schedule, preferably including
picture icons, will help a child throughout the day.
- Give tasks that have definite beginnings and endings. Like schedules,
this will help a child to understand exactly what is expected of them
within their environmnet.
- Incorporate the use of icons into daily lessons or reading groups.
Children with Autism have a difficult time understanding when it is
appropriate for them to speak and not to speak, so holding a card with
the words "Your turn" and a picture on one side and "Quiet"
and a different picture on the other will help you and the child control
proper speaking turns in the classroom.
- Use simple, direct "ABA" language when speaking to the child.
Since many children have "graduated" from early intervention
ABA programs, they are used to simple commands such as "look at
me", "sit quiet", and "quiet hands." They may
also be very familiar with some simple signs, and you may want to inquire
about that as well. Signing is another quick way to communicate with
children with Autism, and it focuses on their visual strenghts.
- Understand that a child's literal skills will be more developed than
their analytical skills.
- Encourage the child to engage in the social aspects of the classroom.
He or she may likely be a "loner" or deal only with adults.
You could assign the child a buddy, ask him to help another child, ask
him to run errands, or suggest activities that the school ofers that
he could get involved with.
- Encourage the child to practice correct social skills. Use your own
owservations, but common issues involve eye contact, reciprocal conversation,
turn taking, and sharing.
- If the child is having a specific social or routine issue, use social
stories to help him learn the correct procedure. These stories, which
can be either found in a book, or modeled from a book and tailored to
meet the individual needs of your student, provide simple story lines
that teach a child what to do in a specific situation. One such book
is called The
New Social Story Book: Illustrated Edition,
by Carol Gray.
- Maintain contact with parents both addressing their needs and concerns
and ask them for advice as well. Remember, they are a great resource,
they know their child best and are more familiar with the program that
he had been on before entering your classroom than you are!