20 Suggestions to Make Learning Easier for Students with Autism

April Autism AwarenessMany educational approaches can significantly improve the quality of life of persons on the autism spectrum and their families. Interacting with children with autism at school can be a very enriching experience for all involved. Integration of a child with autism into the school community may help address the core deficits children with ASD have in social and communication development. Here are some suggestions to help you make learning easier for children with autism:


  1. Extend a welcoming environment to all students.
  2. Identify and use appropriate functional communication systems across all environments consistently.
  3. Develop predictable routines; use timers or bells to assist children with transitions from one activity to the next (making transitions is an area of particular difficulty for most students with autism).
  4. Understand that behavior is a form of communication that can often be remedied by assessing the child’s communicative intent and making environmental changes or implementing planned behavioral interventions.
  5. Use visuals to convey instructions, meanings, routines, and schedules.
  6. Provide a classroom aide or paraprofessional to help the child complete tasks and to facilitate meaningful social interactions and appropriate adaptive behaviors.
  7. Encourage peer mentoring.
  8. Build on areas of strengths and interests. Develop skills and talents that can lead to success later in life.
  9. Use creative strategies to assist the child in learning more effective social skills.Positive Reinforcement
  10. Provide frequent positive reinforcement. Find out from parents or guardians what type of motivators work for each child.
  11. Plan for fading prompts to promote more independence.
  12. Be aware of the child’s sensory needs when developing classroom activities and implementing behavioral strategies.
  13. Do things with instead of for the student when she or he needs assistance. Have high expectations!
  14. Allow extra time for the child to form a response to your request (many students need extra time to process the meaning of an instruction).

    The classroom environment can have an effect on students
  15. Provide an uncluttered environment without distracting noises.
  16. Whenever possible, use natural lighting; standard fluorescent lighting can cause difficulties for some children with autism.
  17. Consider the physical placement of the child in the classroom and how it relates to his or her unique responses to environmental stimuli.
  18. Do not request information from the child when she or he is upset -allow time for coping.
  19. Treat the student with autism with the same respect you would their fellow classmates.
  20. Empower the student to be an active participant in all classroom and social activities.

Reposted with permission from the Autism Society http://www.autism-society.org/