Making Learning Easier
Suggestions to help make learning easier for students with autism:
- Extend a welcoming environment to all students.
- Identify and use appropriate functional communication systems across all environments consistently.
- Develop predictable routines; use timers or bells to assist children with transitions from one activity to the next (making transitions is an area of particular difficulty for most students with autism).
- Understand that behavior is a form of communication that can often be remedied by assessing the child’s communicative intent and making environmental changes or implementing planned behavioral interventions.
- Use visuals to convey instructions, meanings, routines, and schedules.
- Provide a classroom aide or paraprofessional to help the child complete tasks and to facilitate meaningful social interactions and appropriate adaptive behaviors.
- Encourage “peer mentoring”.
- Build on areas of strengths and interests. Develop skills and talents that can lead to success later in life.
- Use creative strategies to assist the child in learning more effective social skills.
- Provide frequent positive reinforcement. Find out from parents or guardians what type of motivators work for each child.
- Plan for “fading” prompts to promote more independence.
- Be aware of the child’s sensory needs when developing classroom activities and implementing behavioral strategies.
- Do things with instead of for the student when she or he needs assistance. Have high expectations!
- Allow extra time for the child to form a response to your request (many students need extra time to process the meaning of an instruction).
- Provide an environment that is uncluttered and without distracting noises.
- Whenever possible, use natural lighting; standard fluorescent lighting can cause difficulties for some children with autism.
- Consider the physical placement of the child in the classroom and how it relates to his or her unique responses to environmental stimuli.
- Do not request information from the child when she or he is upset – allow time for coping.
- Treat the student with autism with the same respect your would their fellow classmates.
- Empower the student to be an active participant in all classroom and social activities.
Serving the autistic spectrum in the following 36 Tennessee counties: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Pickett, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, Washington