TheSchoolBus welcomes back FreedomCare, who are contributing their second article to our blog, this time exploring how school leaders and teachers can support pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).
There are certain situations that can be particularly problematic for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), one of which is school. The very nature of ASD means that it’s not only difficult for children to communicate but they also struggle with social skills, making school life quite a challenge. With over half a million people suffering from autism in the UK, it’s important that the right level of help and support is given.
Children with complex health needs, in this case ASD, can struggle with a number of factors in the classroom including:
- Communicating with teachers.
- Following instructions.
- Following class rules.
- Concentrating on tasks.
- Knowing how to behave.
There are a number of things teachers, support staff and indeed other pupils can do in order to make school a much more comfortable environment:
- Get a child’s attention before giving them an instruction or task, calling their name or using some other form of signalling may work.
- Give them time to process the instructions you have given, and avoid using metaphors, remember children with autism can be very literal. Individuals with ASD can be much more visual, which means including realistic pictures or demonstrations in their lessons can help considerably.
- When introducing a new topic, provide a number of ways to solve the problem or teach in different situations. For example within mathematics, when teaching addition, teach them to count using objects, fingers and numbers.
Sensory issues can be an area sufferers with autism have difficulties with. This means that bright colours, too much noise etc. can affect their concentration. Providing a quiet, distraction-free environment can help with this.
Consistent classroom rules that have been clearly explained will also help with behaviour, along with a clear explanation of what happens if the rules are broken.
Finally, uncertainty can be a trigger of anxiety, providing a child with a time table of what is going to happen and when will help to alleviate this uncertainty.
Freedom Care offers quality healthcare for individuals suffering from mental health disorders like Autism and Aspergers. For more information on any of the topics discussed please get in touch here.