19 Tips to Help Your Autistic Child Thrive in School
It can be difficult enough to navigate the waters of school as a neurotypical student, but for children on the autism spectrum, it can seem downright impossible at times. However, with the right tools in your toolbox, your autistic child can thrive in the classroom and beyond. In this blog post, we will discuss 19 tips that will help your autistic child succeed in school!
Create a Schedule and Stick To It
Routines help children with autism feel secure and organized, which is especially important in the classroom environment. Create a daily or weekly routine for your child that outlines when they need to be at school, what classes they have, times for breaks and activities, and so on. Knowing what’s expected of them will not only help them stay focused but also provide them with a sense of comfort during their school day.
Break Down Tasks Into Smaller Steps
It can be overwhelming for an autistic student to try to tackle a large project all at once. To make things easier, break larger tasks into smaller steps that your child can complete one at a time. This will help them better understand what needs to be done and may make the task seem less daunting. For example, if your child needs to write an essay, break the assignment down into smaller steps such as researching, drafting, editing and proofreading.
Provide Visual Cues
Providing visual images or cues to help autistic children understand a concept can be very effective. This could include photos, diagrams, charts, or any other type of visual aid that would help explain a concept in an easier-to-understand way. For example, if your child is learning about the solar system, you could print out a photo of each planet and place it in order on their desk to help them better visualize the concept.
Establish Clear Rules
Make sure your child knows what is expected of them by establishing clear rules and consequences for not following them. This will help your child understand boundaries and what is acceptable behavior in the classroom environment. For example, if your child has a tendency to talk out of turn, explain that they need to raise their hand before speaking and if they don’t follow the rule, remind them of the consequences.
Stay Connected With Teachers
Teachers are an important part of helping autistic children succeed in school, so stay connected with them by attending parent-teacher conferences, discussing any questions or concerns you may have with them via email or phone, etc. Your involvement will ensure that your child’s learning experience is as successful as possible. Talk to them about Response to Intervention (RTI) and how it can help your child’s classroom experience be more successful.
Monitor Eating Habits
Proper nutrition plays a big role in your child’s ability to focus and learn – something which can be difficult for those on the autism spectrum due to sensory issues or picky eating habits. Make sure your child is well-nourished by monitoring their eating habits closely and providing them with healthy snacks throughout the day.
Make Learning Fun
Learning can be much more enjoyable if it’s made fun. Utilize games, songs, and other activities to make learning a more interactive process for your child. This will help keep them engaged and encourage them to participate in class.
Incorporate Visual Timers
Visual timers are an excellent way for autistic students to manage their time as it provides clear information about how much time is left in a task or activity. Consider buying one for your child’s classroom so they can better understand when tasks need to be completed and what comes next.
Allow for Breaks
Autistic children often need more frequent breaks than other students due to sensory overload and the difficulty of focusing on tasks for extended periods of time. Talk to your child’s teacher about allowing them to take short, scheduled breaks throughout the day so they can have a chance to regroup and recharge.
Utilize Social Stories
Social stories are an effective tool that is used to help autistic children understand social situations, as well as how others feel or may respond in certain scenarios. Creating a personalized story that relates directly to your child’s specific situation can be very beneficial for them.
Use Visual Supports
Visual supports is another great way to help autistic children understand a concept or an activity. This could include photos, diagrams, charts, videos, etc., that will provide your child with visual cues and make it easier for them to comprehend what is being taught.
Introduce Sensory Toys
Allowing your child to have access to sensory toys during their school day can be very beneficial in helping them focus and stay engaged in their studies. These toys come in many different shapes and forms such as stress balls, fidget spinners, sand timers, etc., and can help soothe your child when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Establish Consistent Routines
Having consistent routines in place helps autistic children understand expectations and makes it easier for them to transition from one activity to the next. Talk to your child’s teacher about setting up regular, predictable routines that they can follow throughout the day.
Encourage Eye Contact
Eye contact is an important social skill that all children need to learn and practice in order to communicate with others effectively. Encourage your child to make eye contact by playing games and activities that focus on this skill or simply talking directly to them without any other distractions present.
Practice Self-Regulation Strategies
Self-regulation strategies are skills that help autistic children manage difficult emotions and behaviors when they become overwhelmed. Talk to your child’s therapist or teacher about different techniques you can both work on together such as deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and calming music.
Provide Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is an important tool that can help autistic children learn new skills or concepts. Celebrate your child’s successes by providing them with verbal praise or small rewards for a job well done. This will help motivate your child to continue working hard and give them the confidence they need to succeed in school.
Incorporating technology into your child’s learning environment can be very beneficial in helping them understand certain topics more easily. There are many different types of assistive technologies such as speech-generating devices, communication apps, and educational software that can make it easier for your child to learn and retain information.
Teaching your child self-advocacy skills can help them become more independent in their studies and better understand how they learn most efficiently. Have conversations with them about what works best for them, such as sitting in the front of the class or having a buddy sit next to them during tests, so they can advocate for themselves when needed.
Find Ways to Incentivize Learning
Finding ways to make learning fun and exciting is key when it comes to helping autistic children succeed in school. Consider turning studying into a game by creating rewards systems that motivate your child or simply setting aside time each day where they can relax and unwind before jumping back into their studies.
By utilizing these 19 tips for giving your autistic child a helping hand in school, you will be able to provide them with the skills and support needed for academic success. Remember, each autistic learner is different so it is important to tailor lessons and activities specifically for them. Be patient throughout the process and find ways to make learning fun and rewarding! With the right tools, your child will be able to reach their full potential.
Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash