Teachers always have a big role to play in shaping the lives of students. And when it comes to supporting autistic children, their role and responsibility grow even further, given the kind of attention such kids require in their overall development and growth. With the number of students with autism is growing in schools worldwide, it’s only fair that we prepared more teachers to be ready to take up challenges in its wake. With a little helping hand from teachers, autistic students can not only easily tide over the neurological conditions but also excel academically as well as socially.
Here are some of ways teachers can support students with autism –
Treat students as individuals
Autism can affect students differently and teachers need to understand that well. Which means, no two autistic pupils will have similar symptoms or issues and that’s why teachers need to treat them as individuals. More so, students with autism cope it better when there is respect and understanding in the classroom. They are the ones with special needs and it’s our collective responsibility to celebrate their success and understand them better. As a teacher, you need to widen you canvas so that it becomes fairly easy to accommodate all the ifs & buts coming from autistic students.
Avoid sensory overload
Students with autism are prone to higher levels of distractions with many things that can prevent them from focussing at things. They may find noises, lights, smells distracting and, in some cases, even the company of other students can put them off literally. Teachers can thus think of creating a more relaxing atmosphere in the classroom by using cool and calm colours on the walls and by aboding too many posters there. Autistic students don’t like sensory overload as it can stop them from concentrating and teachers should understand that well.
Use visuals and be predictable
Autistic students can grasp things and concepts early if it’s presented to them visually. If teachers gave them a lengthy explanation, it might make things even more difficult to their list of troubles. Using pictures and modelling can help them understand concepts quickly and see through it as well. In the same way, teachers need to maintain a sense of predictability with every aspect in the classroom, whether with the pace of learning or the schedule of teaching, as this can ease a lot of anxieties of autistic students.
Teach through simple and concrete language
Autistic students are never good at social skills, reading and comprehension. That’s why teachers should avoid the use of figurative language as it may not serve well to students with autism. If possible, teaching should be done through simple and concrete language together with the ways to interpret every concept in very concrete terms so that autistic students go along well with the rest of the classroom. Even if a teacher were to use figurative language, it would always be helpful to unlock or bare open the hidden meanings to help autistic students see things through.
Focus a bit more on social skills
Most of the time the curriculum is not developed keeping in mind the interest if students with autism. So, there will be a lot of things that such pupils may find tough to grasp on their own. It’s therefore the responsibility of a teacher to not only simply the subject but also inculcate social skills among autistic students. Clearly, special needs schools have a lot to do when it comes to handle autistic students and the biggest of them all is to have skilled teachers so that the future of such lads can be shaped easily.