Any student with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder will affect the learning environment they are in, both for themselves and others. They are likely to challenge even the most experienced teacher as well as other members of support staff. However, they can also contribute a great deal, not least because they often see things differently and undertake tasks in a different way to others.
Ten tips for teachers
Ten things that teachers should consider when they have a child or teenager with under their supervision:
- Remember that every child with is different
- Those with thrive on a structured, predictable environment – avoid spontaneous activities and sudden changes of plan and try to give the child with as much warning as possible
- Most students with find the hardest part of the day to be at lunch times, and when moving between activities due to the chaos that occurs – it can be very helpful if teachers can provide support strategies for students at these times
- Avoid demanding that the student with maintains eye contact with you – this is especially difficult for some and they are not being rude or difficult
- Remember that children with often experience sensory overload, so give them time to process what they have heard or seen and be sensitive to noise levels – there are times when a child with may need a quiet spot to work or process their thoughts
- Most teachers will already consider the different learning preferences of their students, but this is especially important for those with as many will have a strong preference for visual learning
- Although they should not be isolated, children with have a greater need to move than others, so teachers should accommodate this by allowing them to move about in the class room where possible, or get up from the lunch time when they need to
- Remember that students with will struggle to understand communication by gestures unless clearly explained in advance
- There will inevitably be times when children with lose their temper. Many parents will appreciate efforts from teachers to work with them to find the best way to deal with such situations
- Be patient!
These are powerful, BAFTA Award-winning animations to help bring the concerns surrounding some serious psychological issues into focus. These real-life stories go to the heart of the matter, encouraging empathy and further discussion. The film on lasts 3 minutes and is suitable for viewing in the classroom. It’s available through teachers.tv
Resources for teachers of PSHE
A number of booklets and other resources on Autistic Spectrum Disorder and for teachers of PSHE at Key Stage 3 are available through the TES Connect website. These include:
- The Big A Me, Myself & Autism
- Do you have a child with autism in your class?
- Judge me not – Poem and worksheets
- Tools for teachers: an autism toolkit
National Autistic Society (NAS)
The NAS provide information about working with pupils and students with autism and , practical resources for education professionals, and guidance for local education authorities. You can access their many services via their website: http://www.autism.org.uk/working-with/education.aspx