Teaching is a hard work, but teaching several children in a classroom can be quite a challenge. If those kids are diagnosed within the autism spectrum disorder, the teaching process becomes an even greater challenge. However, a classroom adapted to them and their needs can increase their attention, focus, reduce stress, and in general aid the learning process..
It’s not just adapting your teaching process; even the decoration of the classroom in a way that will make them to consider it a safe place can make a difference in the proper development of their skills, and could even help encourage them to try new things, even when they’re reluctant to try new stuff.
There are many things that can trigger a bad episode in children in the spectrum, and these episodes make them to lose concentration and make the learning process slower overall, so take in consideration the following points, so you can avoid these episode and optimize the learning experience.
Many kids with autism feel better with a special place to work, and it doesn’t have to be a specifically designed table or chair for them; just a couple of accessories can make the difference. Things like: an air cushion for the chair, a theraband for kicking, or a training ball, among others, can help the kids to release their anxiety. It’s also advisable to rotate your students around the classroom seats, particularly in places where they could feel more anxious, such as corners, near windows, or close to the door. This can both reduce their stress, and help them get used to small changes. You can also be mindful of the classroom’s decoration, making it personalized, so the kids can feel more at home and comfortable, but not too overwhelming with colors and figures, as to be a source of distraction.
Kids with autism get bored easily, so play with them between subject lessons. This playtime not necessarily has to be a game, it can be some yoga movements to relax their bodies, or play some music and dance; just be creative and make them move to release tension. Find an activity that they enjoy while moving and make it at least a weekly routine.
In the last few years a little toy called fidget spinner became very famous among neurotypical children. However, these toys were created for kids with autism and ADHD to help them concentrate and pay attention in lessons. You can find this sort of fidget or similar ones to make them do a repetitive action while teaching your lessons, hence enhancing their focus.
Sensory calm space
The day can be long for a kid with ASD, and for that reason it is good to have a space, even if it is just a corner, where kids can shut off everything outside of it. Make a tent, a teepee, a big box, or just use a pair of blankets to set that corner apart of the rest; the main point here is to give them the sensation of protection, that nothing can reach them there and hurt them. Remember, children within the spectrum can become stressed very easily, due to sensory overload. Teach them how to use this space to deal with their stress and encourage parents to do the same at home.
Plan ahead of time
Routines are basic for children with ASD. It doesn’t matter the level, they develop better with plans. If they know in advance what is going to happen the following week, they can be prepare and get ready for what could otherwise be unexpected and uncomfortable situations. However use this with care and only tell them what is coming ahead every week, because if a child within the spectrum knows, for example, all the month’s schedule in advance, then their anxiety can become even bigger, affecting their behavior at home and maybe even their eating and sleeping patterns. .
Make the learning process fun
In the end, kids with ASD are just kids, and because of that learning with fun activities can help to be more in sync with the schedule and school duties. Kids can get to enjoy the classroom and the lessons if they feel like they’re playing a game. So it’s up to you, as their teacher, to be creative and make the lessons fun for them, and of course, for you.
Teaching kids with autism is a wonderful experience that can change your life as teacher for the best, so don’t be afraid, have fun teaching these children, and try to leave you mark on them. A teacher that is good with their students will be one that they never forget. Come to Autism Soccer, where we offer excellent programs for the development of your children and a place for them to be comfortable and happy.
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