HOW TO HELP CHILDREN ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM IN THE CLASSROOM
Children with autism have difficulties across the triad of impairments and around sensory issues. Autism in the classroom can sometimes make things difficult for both staff and children alike.
The triad of impairments are difficulties around
Depending on where a child is on the autistic spectrum and whether they have a co morbid diagnosis; a child may also have learning difficulties. If these are moderate or severe a child may be in a special school where there needs can be better met. They will have a "Statement of Educational Needs"
Many children enter mainstream schools without a diagnosis particularly if they have High Functioning Autism or Aspergers syndrome. This is because it is fairly difficult to diagnose younger children as their difficulties are harder to detect at a young age.Each child with autism is unique and will have their own set of difficulties. There is also a difference between the way girls and boys present.
The most critical first step for children who may go on to receive a diagnosis and those that don't is for everybody working with the child to be listening to each other. This will ensure that difficulties are picked up early and strategies put in place to help a child to reach their full potential.
What might a teacher notice?
Autism in the Classroom - PERSEVERATION
A childs autism may be characterized by perseveration which is the unintentional, continuous, repetitive behavior, speech, or thoughts which interfere with normal activities.
To read more about this and other physical behaviors check out our page on the characteristics of autism page
Autism in the Classroom - Social Interaction
Autism in the Classroom - Communication
Flexibility of thought
What the parent might notice around schooling:
Your child may have difficulties leaving school or transitioning to home. You may be having to cope with meltdowns at home after school Your child may struggle to sleep properly and may be reluctant to go to school.
On the other hand your child may be having a lot of difficulties in school and you get called in a lot to see the teacher. You may have an angel at home
What you can do
If you suspect your child has autism then you will need to ask your doctor to refer you to a peadiatrician who is able to diagnose This may take a long time as they will want to observe the child in different situations.You can also speak to your school nurse or SENCO about this as they may be able to advise you on the next step.
To read more about how to help autism in the classroom including a checklist to get help for your child go to autism in the classroom facts