Teaching Methods for Autistic Children
First of all, we need to know that these children are different, and, thus, they will need a different teaching method. What is characteristic about autistic children is that most of them think in pictures rather than in words. This clearly indicates that their native language is, actually, their second language and they need to put more effort into learning it and using it for many different things. Also, being visual thinkers, the teacher needs to have their attention at all times, since, as soon as they turn to their thoughts, autistic children can “wander off” and lose their concentration. Therefore, constant exposure to new information and linguistic drills can lead to an incredible process in treating autism at an early stage of life, during the actual language acquisition period.
Effective Approaches to Teaching Children with Autism
As it was mentioned above, these children need to be engaged into cognitive processes as much as possible. Thus, even when they are playing, teacher should expose them to certain logical tasks, or involve them into talking and thinking while staying aware. One-to-one conversation sessions should be the basic part of the teaching process, taking place for about 45 minutes every day. During the weekend, when these children are not in school, parents can do the same, forcing and stimulating verbal communication and logical activities with their children.
Being visual learners, autistic children should be taught language through pictures and visual presentation. Also, later in life they are likely to have problems with sequences. Namely, people with autism cannot remember more than several things following a sequence. For example, once they ask someone for instruction, they might not be able to remember more than several steps etc.
Visual explanation is very important. Once you teach an autistic child maths, it is best to have a visual item, like a set of differently colored beads capable of being moved on a string, thereby being added and subtracted. With words, word cards are the best method, as long as these have pictures and words describing them on the front page together. Also, even though many children of this type have a gift for drawing, some of them have bad hand coordination. So, instead of forcing them to write by pen, you might suggest typing instead.
As for the classroom, it should be a different one as well. First of all, bells, buzzers, screeching chairs and other loud and noisy items should all be excluded due to the sensitivity these children have towards sound. Additionally, their eyes are sensitive to fluorescent colors and flickering light bulbs. Stress removal should be encouraged by incorporating relaxing activities with learning.
Finally, the visual factor should never be neglected. However, if the child learns sensory, give it a toy car to touch before it learns about cars and so on. All in all, you need to understand autistic children, each single individual, before teaching them, since, you have to modify your teaching methods suiting these children best. This way, the results are bound to be amazing.