Autism and Education for Those on the Spectrum

Good teachers can help children with autism spectrum disorder achieve success in life. Autism and education is an important domain in the management of the disorder. If a child is placed in a structured environment with experienced teachers, then he/she can grow much like their neurotypical peers.

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Each child with autism is different. While some may be comfortable with written instructions to an extent, others learn by memorizing whole words. Phonics is also often used to teach children on the spectrum. Children having echolalia usually learn best with picture books and flash cards so that they can associate whole words with pictures. For flash cards, it’s important to have both the word and picture printed on the same side. Actions also often help children on the spectrum understand the word. For instance, while teaching the use of a verb, hold a card which says “jump”. Say the word and then jump a few times so that the child can associate the word with the action.

Talking about autism and education, it’s important to note that some individuals often respond better and establish improved eye contact if the teacher interacts while they are moving on a swing. The sensory input from the swinging motion helps in improving the speech. But the swinging exercise must be done only for fun. The child with autism should never be forced to do it. In that case, it may become counterproductive.

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Teachers should be properly trained in handling autism and education. They should be very sensitive towards the child. Since each special child is different, understanding their individual mindsets is the first step.

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