Supporting a child with autism in the mainstream classroom

Over the next few blog posts, I plan on writing tips for supporting children with various special educational needs in mainstream classrooms. All children are different and what works with one child may not work with another.

  • Visual timetable – It’s important for the child to know what is happening throughout the day. A break in routine can be a huge challenge to some children. If a visitor is coming/ tp student make sure the child knows in advance. (This is the timetable I used – we were studying time so that’s why it is so detailed)
  • Give clear instructions – when starting an activity check the child understands. Ask him/her to explain it back to you before they get started. Write the targets on the board so the child knows exactly what to do. 
  • Breaks – allow the child to take regular breaks. This may mean a quick trip to another class or go on a message. This gives the child the time to have some think time without the pressures of classmates.
  • Eye contact – don’t force this. It can be incredibly uncomfortable for children with autism to make eye contact. 
  • Give fewer choices – giving more than 2 options can be very confusing and cause children unnecessary stress.
  • Don’t use sarcasm or idioms. Children with autism often take things literally. 
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