Educating Children with Autism

Education is a crucial means to treat children with autism. In today’s world of individualized learning plans and Internet-based learning, the biggest concern now is more on accommodating students with special needs. As more and more children with autism are included into regular classrooms, educators are challenged to meet their specific needs while also creating an inclusive and sound learning environment for all.

There are many alternative strategies that can help educators serve a diverse set of students in a regular learning environment. So how do educators deal with children with autism?

Nurture the parent-teacher relationship

Fostering a good parent-teacher relationship is important in educating children with autism. A parent-teacher conference before the school year starts would help. Here, parents and teachers can identify the child’s cognitive skills and learning patterns. It can also help them identify behavioral techniques that will promote the child’s interaction with other children.

Establish a support group

A support group is important in the education of children with autism. A school occupational therapist, speech therapist, counselor, and special education teacher should be included in the child’s network of adult resources.

Identify the child’s intellectual and verbal abilities

The child’s intellectual and verbal abilities should be identified. Many students with autism use cognitive and language abilities to convey what they have in mind. They are the high functioning types. Others communicate with a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). They are of non-verbal type.

Educate with behavior in mind

Many children with autism struggle to articulate what they exactly need or what they do not understand. Expressing what they are thinking can be very difficult and frustrating for them, and this causes agitation on their part. Educators can address this problem by fostering an organized learning environment where children can identify through visual or verbal clues.

Designating a time-out area for agitated children also helps. The educator, however, must make it very clear that this time-out area is not a punishment area, but a place for a child to regroup before he or she rejoins the class.

Characteristics of sound education

In the book, Educating Children with Autism, the Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism identified some characteristics of good education for students with autism. The committee recommends that the education of such children should focus on social instruction in diverse settings, functional spontaneous communication, play skills, practical approaches to behavior problems, and cognitive development.