5 Strategies for Helping Children on the Autism Spectrum
By Jasmine Dyoco
SpouseLink Guest Blogger
Living with a special needs child is a daily adventure, and many parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to finding ways to educate their little one. Finding engaging lesson plans and ways to make your home sensory-friendly and comfortable can help your child thrive, but where to start?
First, you must take your child’s specific needs into consideration. Whether he has certain sensory needs or has trouble with communication, there are many different things you can do to help him learn and express himself. One of the keys to parenting a child with special needs is seeking treatment as soon as you suspect there is a developmental delay. Don’t wait to see if he will “grow out of it” because the sooner you begin treatment, the better his chances are of having a successful developmental boost.
Keep reading for some great tips on how you can create fun, engaging lesson plans for your child on the autism spectrum.
Many children on the autism spectrum respond well to direct, specific sentences that describe what comes next. Focusing on the task without being too wordy will help your child with sequential things such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a story. Be careful about giving too many choices, as this may become overwhelming. Remember, many children on the spectrum understand language literally and sometimes don’t hear sarcasm or humor, so choose your words carefully.
Prepare Your Child and the Teacher
If your child on the autism spectrum will start school for the first time this year, prepare him as much as possible by communicating with the school to find out what the lesson plans will be like and copying those at home. Talk to his teacher to let her know what your child’s specific needs are, and set up a date and time to take a tour of the school with your child so he can explore and make sure he’s comfortable.
Start a Routine
No matter what your child’s age, it’s imperative to start him off for success in school by creating a routine that will help everyone. Whether it’s by having a specific “learning time” set aside each day where he works on things that are problematic for him or simply by setting a bedtime and sticking to it, creating a routine will give your child structure and help him immensely when it’s time to go to school.
Look for Coping Strategies
If your child will start high school this year, it’s important to realize how different this environment is from elementary and middle schools. High schools are often much larger and hold more students, meaning there’s a lot more activity and noise in the hallways and classrooms. Prepare your child for this by looking for coping strategies, especially if he has sensory issues, or ask if the school has a buddy program for new students so there will be someone to help him navigate the busy hallways.
Create the Right Environment at Home
Having the right home environment can help your child stay comfortable and safe as he learns, so look for ways to give him a distraction-free place to study and play. Make sure he has some free time during the day to release stress and keep each room clutter-free to prevent him from feeling overwhelmed. For some great tips on how to make your home perfect for your child on the autism spectrum, click here.
Making sure your child is safe and happy is always a priority, but when you can include a good lesson plan, it will give you peace of mind that he’s preparing for school. Keep communication open with your child’s school so that everyone is on the same page.
Jasmine Dyoco loves crossword puzzles and audio books, learning (anything!) and fencing. She works with Educatorlabs.org to curate scholastic information. Educatorlabs is a group that is dedicated to providing a resource bank to educators and students.