For many parents of children on the autism spectrum, it can be difficult to find engaging lesson plans to work on at home that meet the child’s specific needs.
Because the spectrum includes so many different abilities, you may have trouble finding a way to help your child make the most of her skills. Perhaps you’re worried about her starting school for the first time. If your child is a teen, you might be thinking about the best ways to help boost her learning time at home to supplement what she’s learning in the classroom.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your child stay on track, from engaging lesson plans to activities that help her cope with the world around her in a healthy way. Tailor her learning to her specific needs; for instance, if she tends to become overwhelmed easily at a lot of sensory input, look for ways you can help her stay calm and find comfort.
5 educational tips for parents: how to engage your child on the autism spectrum
One of the best ways to help a child who is on the autism spectrum learn is by turning it into something fun. Some children on the spectrum have challenges with communication, so a great game to play is ‘What’s in the bag?’ This game is a simple way to prompt them to ask questions. Place several small items – toys, buttons, sweets, etc.– into a paper bag and close it up, then encourage your child to ask what’s inside. When she gets an item correct, show praise and encourage her to keep going.
Most kids love to get creative; there’s something about having a blank white page in front of you and the ability to make anything you want that gets little ones excited about art. Encourage your child to draw a self-portrait, and consider playing along and creating your own. Visual art is a wonderful outlet for children who have problems expressing themselves, and for kids with communication issues, it can be hugely beneficial.
Create a happy place
If your child has issues with sensory overload, it’s important to create a ‘happy place’ for her in your home where she can go and relax. Whether this is her bedroom or just a small area that allows her to feel safe and comfortable, this will help her stay focused and ready to learn. In many cases, you can remove a lot of stimuli from an area – such as a television and wall decorations — and make an immediate improvement for your child, but everyone is different. Noise-cancelling headphones, coloured lights, and soft, comfortable bedding and seating are often good starts.
Keep communication open with the teacher
When your child reaches school-age, there are so many worries that come along with that first day of school. One of the best things you can do, however, is to stay in touch with your child’s teacher. Exchange email addresses and ask if the school uses a communication system like Class Dojo. Request a parent-teacher conference before school begins and allow your child to meet her new teacher one-on-one without distractions. These are the best ways to help your child succeed from the very beginning.
For teens on the spectrum, high school can be a huge challenge. It might mean a big schedule change or learning a new routine, which can be very difficult for individuals on the spectrum. Help your teen succeed by supporting structure and communicating with her teachers about the best ways to help out at home. Helping her prepare for future study now can legitimately boost her chances of success.
Helping your child on the autism spectrum find success with learning can be challenging. However, if you work out a good plan and stick to it, you can ensure that your child gets the most out of school while staying happy and safe. Keep communication open with everyone involved, and look for ways you can get involved in the community and help educate your neighbours about autism and your child’s needs.
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