Speak in a clear and consistent manner, allowing your child
sufficient time to process language.
When giving an
instruction wait before repeating it, as your child will need longer
to process what you have asked.
Use pattern and
routines to help your child feel safe and secure.
Liaise closely with
your child's school and teachers to ensure there is consistency in
the methods of support and expectations of your child.
Kneel down to your
child's level when speaking to them so you can encourage them to
make eye contact with you.
instructions start with your child's name, so they immediately
recognise you are addressing them. Often children with autism are
uncertain you are speaking to them unless this is made clear.
Take time to prepare
your child for new routines and situations so anxiety is reduced,
perhaps share pictures or photos of the new experience beforehand.
Videos are also a useful aid.
to avoid extensive verbal instructions as your child may struggle to
remember the sequence.
Autistic children often have specific talents, perhaps drawing or an
interest in ICT, try and foster such skills as these could be
future employment or career opportunities.
Turn your child's fixation with
a specific topic or interest into learning opportunities. If for
example your child is particularly interested in dinosaurs or models of car, link this to reading
factual books or perhaps learning about geographical or historical
concepts. Aim to use their specific interest for other learning
opportunities as this will ensure they are engaged and interested.
When teaching mathematical
skills aim to use visual concrete
objects as otherwise your child's may struggle with the verbal
language used to explain a concept.
Understand that fine motor control and writing is difficult for a
child with autism, and avoid pressurising a child to
write neatly as this will cause stress and anxiety.
Instead, perhaps encourage them to type or explore practical ways of
developing their fine motor skills.
When teaching reading it is perhaps easiest for a child to learn
through the phonics approach, as they can learn the letter sounds and
accompanying actions. Often children with autism like to see a picture and action,
as this aids memory. The Jolly Phonics approach with
actions, visual aids and songs supports autistic children.
and limit loud sounds and those noises which may upset of frustrate
your child. The fear of such sounds often results in difficult
behaviour. For example, the sound of scrapping chairs can be
eliminated by using Felt pad furniture gliders. It may
also help if you tape loud sounds, such as
fire alarms, to support your child in gradually listening to them
being played back, increasing the volume slightly each time.
However, is is essential that the child has control of the playback
of the sound.
to avoid florescent or flickering lights as this can be a source of
anxiety for children with autism.
Often autistic children do not realise that speech is used to
communicate needs, so if your child ask for something, when in fact
you know they want something else, make sure you give them what they
actually asked for. This will help them to understand that
words and speech result in concrete things happening. Your child
needs to realize that the incorrect word will result in the
incorrect object being given to them. This may seem hard to do, but
in fact this is the easiest way to help your child understand the
need for correct and specific language.
Avoid using phrases
which may be interpreted literally by your child such as 'it's
raining cats and dogs', 'on it's last legs', 'a piece of cake'. Idioms can really confuse children with autism so are best avoided.
Sometimes children with visual processing problems will find reading
much easier if printed materials or written words are presented on
coloured card to eliminate contrast. Use different colours to see
which is most suitable for your child, avoiding yellow which is too
bright for a child's eyes.