Education for persons with autism
The philosophy of inclusive education is catching up in India. The notion that all children have a fundamental right to learn and be provided with the support they need to achieve in an open and inclusive environment has widespread support among educators
The NEP 2020 dictates that no children with disabilities will be denied school admission under any circumstance but in an inclusive school setting, determining how to achieve inclusive education is something that most schools are still trying to work out.
Here are a few tips f or Teaching Students With Autism as shared by a special educator:
- Avoid sensory overload. Many unexpected things can be distracting to students with autism. Fluorescent lights, smells, and noises from other students can make it difficult for students with autism to concentrate. Using cool, calm colors in the classroom can help create a more relaxing atmosphere.
- Use visuals. Visuals can serve as reminders about classroom rules, where certain things go, and resources that are available to students. Using pictures and modeling will mean more to students with autism than a lengthy explanation.
- Be predictable. Having predictability in the classroom eases anxiety for students with autism and will help avoid distraction. Students are less worried or curious about what will happen next and can better focus on the work at hand. If there are any unpredictable changes, it’s a great teaching moment to model how to handle changes appropriately.
- Keep language concrete. Many individuals with autism have trouble understanding figurative language and interpret it in very concrete terms. This may serve as a great opportunity to teach figurative language and hidden meanings in certain terms.
- Directly teach social skills. There are certain things that may have to be explicitly taught (like analogies). Model appropriate social skills and discuss how our behavior can make others feel. Social Thinking is a great curriculum with pictures books such as You Are a Social Detective that explain social skills in an easy to understand way.
- Treat students as individuals. Even if this goes without saying, it is important to model patience, understanding, and respect when working in a classroom with any special learners. Celebrate their success and don’t sweat it if some accommodations don’t conform to what you are used to in the classroom.
Keeping in mind that some of these recommendations may be super helpful for some students, while others may not need the same degree of consideration is central as autism can affect individuals differently. To quote Dr Stephen Shore, “If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.”