What To Do When Autistic Children Join the Typical Classroom
When autistic children are included in a typical classroom, it is a good idea to make certain adjustments in your teaching method to allow the autistic child to cope up with the lesson plan. Keep in mind that autistic children often have limited language and learn differently from others.
For instance, when speaking with an autistic child, it is important that you make sure that you have his attention first so he does not miss out on the instructions that you are about to give him. Always use simple words as autistic children have a tendency to take things literally. With that said, it is always better to be literal than to use idioms and other figurative words. If you are teaching a subject matter with figurative language, what you need to do is to provide the autistic child a list of the figurative words and phrases that you use as well as their respective meaning. For example, you can explain to the child that when you say “It’s raining cats and dogs,” what you mean to say is that “It is raining very hard.”
To help autistic children transition to new activities, it is important that you not only inform the class of the activity that they are about to do but also how long the activity will last. You can keep a timer close to the autistic child and let him know that when the timer rings, it is time to move on to the next activity. In addition, it is also a good idea to alert the class each time an activity is about to end. You can alert them ten minutes before the end of the activity and alert them again five minutes before the activity ends.
It is also a good idea for you to find out the interests of the child so you can use it to keep him engaged and interested in the lessons that you are teaching. For example, if he is interested in airplanes, you can use images of airplanes when you teach addition and subtraction or if the students need to write an essay or a research paper, you can ask him to write and research about the Wright Brothers.
Finally, as autistic children learn more through visuals, you may also need to use more visual aids to teach various subject matters as well as to provide instructions for multi-step activities.