Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tips for Teachers

Here are a few things to consider if you have a student in your classroom with Autism.....there will be many more tips to come!!!

  1. Autistic kids often have trouble with generalization, which can affect the way they learn skills. When teaching a child to look both ways before crossing a street, it may be necessary to show them in several locations. If not, they may think they need to look only when crossing at that particular spot.
  2. This lack of generalization can apply to objects as well. For example, Hilde de Clereq from Belgium had a case of a boy who could use the toilet at home but wouldn't use toilets elsewhere. Eventually it was realized that the toilet at home had a black seat and the boy couldn't connect the concept of "toilet" to ones that had white seats. They were able to teach him to generalize by putting black tape on the seat at school then removing pieces of the tape over time. Eventually, he was able to generalize "toilet" to include white seats as well.
  3. Autistic children may fixate on something they enjoy, such as trains. Incorporating this fixation into their lessons by including stories of trains, math problems involving trains, and so on gives motivation to learn.
  4. It is common for an autistic kid to have trouble connecting two events even if they are very close together. For example, if teaching reading with flash cards, use cards with both the written word and the picture of the object on the same side of the card. If they are on different sides, the child may not understand that they represent the same idea.
  5. If the child has auditory sensitivity, a class bell, PA system, or even the teacher's voice could seem like someone is blasting an air horn. In a classroom, muffling the bell or PA system while still leaving them audible may help the student to stay focused. The teacher might need to speak more softly, especially when addressing the student directly.
  6. Determine which learning style best suits the child with autism, and emphasize that method of learning and communication. Taking the example of the child who is ignoring the lecture, if he were a visual learner you might show him his seat or a picture of a chair to help him understand it is time to sit down. If he were a kinesthetic learner, you might lead him over to his seat with light pressure on his shoulders.

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