Teaching Tips for Working with Students/Children on the Autism Spectrum:
- Be aware of the difficulties your student may have processing language. Give extra wait time.
- Do not assume your student understands or will pick up on body language or figurative language. Explain yourself and any figurative language.
- Apply direct teaching methods (e.g. teach the student the meaning of idioms, one by one, literally–“Let’s hit the road” means “Let’s go”).
- Tap into the student’s interests when teaching (e.g. teach math using Thomas the Train or write a sentence/paragraph about Thomas the Train, etc.).
- Understand your student may need many different examples before generalizing a concept.
The other day I was driving, and I saw a bumper sticker about adopting rescue dogs. It said something along the lines of, “Have a rescue dog? Who rescued who?” I had to laugh.
I got my dog Emma through the Weimaraner Rescue Society, and she has been nothing but a joy and comfort. She is always by my side in the office as I write; my faithful companion. (Isn’t she adorable?)
Okay, so how can I tie this to teaching?
As teachers, we are in a role of authority, and are always trying to help our students. But sometimes, our students help us. I have seen so many amazing examples of love, kindness, growth, and perseverance in my students. In those cases, I am the student.
It is important to recognize all the great qualities in our students/children, and share with them when you are impressed!
When teaching reading, it is best to use a systematic approach that includes: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency in your instruction.
With regards to phonics in particular:
“Systematic and explicit:
- phonics instruction is more effective than non-systematic or no phonics instruction.
- phonics instruction significantly improves children’s reading comprehension.
- phonics instruction is effective for children from various social and economic levels.
- phonics instruction is particularly beneficial for children who are having difficulty learning to read and who are at risk for developing future reading problems. (italics mine)
- phonics instruction is most effective when introduced early.”
(Taken from: http://www.ed.gov/programs/readingfirst/guidance.doc )