Children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder require special education and social training sessions under the guidance of experienced, professional teachers. While some children suffering from autism tend to adjust easily with non-autistic children, a majority of them fail to adapt to loud noises, sudden changes in the environment and quick physical movements. Innovative teaching techniques can definitely yield positive results as far as the social training of autistic children is concerned.
Auditory and visual stimulation in classrooms for autistic children should be effectively controlled as such children have difficulty in processing these stimulation. Ensure that the work stations are not situated in a place where there is a lot of noise and movement.
Autistic children are not adept at adjusting to sudden, unforeseen changes. Therefore visual schedules assist them to anticipate and prepare for transitions. “Check schedule” cues will help students to make smoother transitions between classes and activities.
Clear, bold lettered directions in work stations help autistic children to clearly understand their tasks. While of them require work stations that are closed on three sides, others can work comfortably in more open spaces. Directions should be detailed, giving extensive instructions about how, when and for how long a particular activity should be undertaken, and the course of action that should be followed. The process of giving auditory instructions should be kept to the minimum level as autistic children find it difficult to follow and process such information.
Alternative to Verbal Communication
Many autistic children often find it difficult to express and communicate emotions and thoughts succinctly. For such non-verbal autistic children, an augmentative model of communication should be chalked out. Picture Exchange Communication Systems have delivered positive results in such cases where children face difficulty in communicating. This alternative mode of communication has helped autistic children to express their thoughts and emotions in tense moments, thereby reducing the frequency of aggressive behavior.
Augmentative models of communication should be strictly considered as a backup in cases of failed verbal exchange, but such models should never be considered as the backbone of the educational curriculum for autistic children. Teachers should begin with literacy education at a very early stage in order to train autistic children to use proper language rather than rely on secondary modes of self expression.
The training process of autistic children involves the incorporation of both traditional classroom teaching techniques, and innovative models to assist in their communication and self-expression. However, the teacher should always remember that the aim of such training is to assist the autistic child to adapt and adjust to his/her environment. Therefore, using augmentative methods of communication should never become the backbone of the system, and the child should be weaned out of his/her dependence on such secondary tools as early as possible.