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Teaching Autism Is A Worthy Challenge

May 19, 2008
If you want to begin the specialty of teaching autism, it is important to understand that there are certain, specific ways in which autistic children are able to learn. Using normal teaching methods will not work because of the special way in which the autistic mind functions. When you understand how the autistic mind functions, you can actually take advantage of this functionality to provide specialized teaching for autism that will help the young autistic mind progress in learning at a much more rapid pace than it could with standard teaching methodology.

The primary thing you need to understand about teaching autism is that the mind of the autistic person tends to be function in a visual manner. So trying to grab and hold on to an autistic child's attention by talking will in many cases be a futile act. Specialized teaching for autism makes heavy use of pictures, particularly when it is necessary to give an auditory lesson. Making word pictures when describing something is useless. Providing pictures of what you are describing is a more successful method of teaching for autism. Even better than providing pictures is taking the child to see the actual item or place being described, when possible. Whatever words you must use, should be provided in very short sentences when teaching for autism. Once a child has learned to read, you can write out the lessons for even better comprehension, but short sentences are still a must.

You should not become alarmed if you are trying to teach an autistic child and he or she becomes fixated on some object or picture. This is normal behavior. Instead, shift the focus of your lesson to the object or picture upon which the autistic child is fixated. This is an excellent opportunity to teach a lesson. In this way, specialized teaching for autism often requires that you teach whatever the autistic person is focused on, rather than following structured lesson plans as you would with a normal mind.

That doesn't mean you can't have lesson plans about what to teach each day. It just means you can't get caught up more in what you are teaching than what the autistic child is interested in at any given moment. In fact, when teaching autism sufferers you can try to bring in props that you know will grab the autistic child's attention so that you can teach about that topic on any given day. Just don't get frustrated if the prop doesn't work that day.

Take advantage of the skills an autistic child may naturally have, rather than focusing on weak points. Though autistic children tend to be visual and are often very good at drawing, it is interesting to note that they are also often quite good with music. Take advantage of this to creatively make music and art a part of learning other topics. This type of specialized teaching for autism will make learning more fun than frustrating for your autistic child.
About the Author
What special programs does your local school district offer autistic children? You can find out more about Autism In Schools by visiting: www.AutismRibbon.Net/autism-in-schools.html
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