From September 2014, every teacher will be required to support children with special needs. We have some handy ‘top tips’ listed below helping you support children with Autism in your learning environment.
Create a regular and structured classroom.
- Use visual timetables for the whole class and give the child their own personal one.
- Use a Now/Next card together with visual timetable symbols to show the child what they are going to do now and what they can do next. This can be used for children who are not yet ready for a visual timetable. Alternatively, use the Now/Next card as a negotiating tool: if the child knows what you want them to do now, they can choose what they do next. Don’t use both of these options at the same time, though, or you may risk confusing the child.
- Use timers to show how long an activity will last.
Plan for breaks and unstructured times.
- Provide alternatives to playtimes, such as computer club, LEGO Club, card collector club or comic club.
- Use choice boards to discuss options at playtimes. A choice board is simply a selection of images (or words if the children can read) which tell children what they can do, this allows them to plan their playtime.
- Ask nominated children to provide a friendship group on each day.
Use visual cues.
- As well as visual timetables, use visual cues to support simple instructions such as ‘Stop’, ‘No’ and ‘You choose’ for young children. Keep these handy on the keyring provided in the Inclusion Fix Toolkit
- Make visual lists of equipment needed.
- Use colour coding for sets of books (matched to a colour on the timetable) for older children.
- Show as well as tell.
- Add visual support to all of your lessons.
Establish expectations for behaviour.
- Ensure they are achievable and realistic.
- Make sure the child understands what they have to do.
- Use reward strategies and personalised motivators.
- Be consistent when dealing with challenging behaviour.
- Introduce sensory breaks. Let the child use the sensory break card to leave the room when they feel overwhelmed and keep it attached to the keyring so it is easily accessible.
- A child needs another behaviour to replace an unacceptable one. When the child is calm, talk with them about their options.
- Help the child to manage their own experiences by providing a safe place they can withdraw to before behaviour becomes uncontrollable.