Saturday, April 18, 2009

Teaching Children with Autism Successfully

For anyone new to the teaching children with autism, autistic children learn entirely differently then those without autism. As a teacher, we want our student to be in their best learning environment so they will benefit the to the highest degree in what is being taught. The most important thing to keep in mind with working with those who are autistic is making sure the teacher understands that children with autism are wired completely different in the way that they learn new things. This article discusses the keys to successly teach your special needs student.

Key #1: Remember Children With Autism Are Visual Thinkers.

They do best when their lessons include a solid supply of visual input. Auditory lessons will be ok as long as they include a good amount of visual backup in the lesson. Focus on helping them to learn by showing rather than telling. Speaking lessons (without pictures) most likely won't be very effective. For example, if you are teaching your child about the word apple, it would be good to have a flash card with the word apple along with a picture of an apple. You will want to say the word apple slowly and clearly. Point to the word apple as you say it and then point to the picture and repeat the word. If possible, find a real apple during the lesson to demonstrate for additional visual reinforcement.

Key #2: Acting Out Verbs Will Help Your Child To Understand The Word Better.

Recalling their visual learning style, your child will learn verbs better if they see them in action. For instance, if you're trying to teach the word "sit", then demonstrate the word. Show your child how to sit as you are teaching it. I know this is extra work but it will pay off as they learn will learn the word quicker. Get additional positive visual reinforcement such as flash cards if possible.

Key #3: When Using Sentences In Your Lesson, Keep Your Lesson Sentences As Short As Possible.

Children with autism do not always to well with keeping up with long sentences. Using shorter sentences in your lessons will lead to less confusion and frustration as they try to figure out the meaning of the sentence. Remember the shorter the better.

Key #4: Minimize Visual (And Auditory) Distractions

Have you ever tried to learn something with many distractions. As hard as it is for you, it is even more difficult for someone who has autism. Because children with autism are so visually oriented, really focus on minimizing visual distractions. Find a quiet place or pull them away from the husle and busle so that they are better able to focus on what is being taught. Also many children with autism are more sensitive to sound and can get overstimulated which can significantly hinder the learning process.

By utilizing these points, you should have much better success in teaching many wonderful new things to your special needs child.

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