Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain and can affect anyone, regardless of social status or intelligence. This section provides information, strategies, and guidance on different options that you can use everyday to help to facilitate the understanding, social skills and communication of individuals on the autism spectrum. Click on the links below to access resources and downloads:
The use of visuals with individuals with autism has been an invaluable tool for communication and helping with understanding. Many individuals with autism learn and understand more easily when things are presented visually, whether it be an object, photo or line drawing. These options can be used with both children and adults on the autism spectrum. This document gives you a general overview of how visuals can be used.
Toileting Strategies for Autism – Visual Toilet Story
Many parents and teachers feel frustration when they have difficulty teaching children on the autism spectrum to use the toilet correctly. There are many different toileting strategies. For some children a simple visual story works well, breaking the toileting process into simple visual steps. A visual toilet story is included in this document.
There are a number of ways to focus on social skills and develop social understanding with individuals on the autism spectrum. Social stories are an excellent and simple method to facilitate individuals to understand appropriate social interaction and responses. They can also be used to prepare individuals for change, describe abstract concepts, and be used to give praise.
Picture Exchange Communication System
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was developed by Lori Frost, Dr. Andy Bondy, and their team, and has become one of the leading forms of augmentative communication for individuals with autism. There is a heavy emphasis on functional communication through the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Although this system is mainly used with children on the autism spectrum, it can be used with adults and other individuals with different types of communication disorders or delays.
More ideas for classroom activities to facilitate children on the autistic spectrum
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often find it hard to adapt to classroom activities or follow classroom routines. However, there are a number of simple ideas and programs that can be implemented to help the child follow routines, the curriculum, and also replace inappropriate behaviours.
Minimal Speech Approach
It is common for many people to use too much language when talking to, or giving instructions to individuals with autism. Using the minimal speech approach can increase understanding and reduce challenging behaviour.
Non-verbal individuals who have major learning difficulties or “severe” autism are often very difficult to interact with. Not only do they have major difficulties understanding, but may also be unable to express their own needs or feelings. Intensive interaction provides a way to make a connection with an individual, create an enjoyable exchange, reduce challenging behaviour, and develop communication skills.
I’ve just been told my child has autism
When parents are first told that their child may be on the autism spectrum it is usually a highly anxious time. Many people know very little about autism and are unaware of what to expect, or what they should do.
When we are looking at a communication program we often have to think carefully about a number of factors. Although our end goal is to try and create a system of communication that is functional, effective and easy to understand for everyone, we often need to put a lot of building blocks in place before this will work.
Coping with change
Many individuals with autism have difficulty coping with changes. Changes that may upset some individuals may be as small as a rearrangement of furniture, while others will become stressed if there is a change to their daily routine. There are may simple strategies that can be used to help individuals with autism cope with, and understand change.
Many children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will require the curriculum to be adapted in some way so that they can understand and achieve. Adaptation includes taking account of their understanding and sensory sensitivities, as well as providing visuals and social stories.
Autism Spectrum Disorders overview
The diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders is increasing across the world. This document gives you an overview of autism, the types of autism, what may trigger the disorder, and what treatments are available.
Asperger Syndrome (AS) is an Autism Spectrum Disorder, but individuals with AS may differ from other individuals on the autism spectrum, because they often have average intelligence and good language skills.
Achieving successful transitions into school or a new classroom for children with autism
Transitions into a new school or another classroom can be confusing for many children with autism. For those starting school it is a huge change, going into an environment with lots of unfamiliar children, noise, rules and routine. Preparation is a key factor to making the transition as easy as possible.
Most individuals with autism have difficulty understanding abstract language, sarcasm, and metaphor. Individuals with autism may also take language literally. As skilled communicators we must be aware of the language we are using when communicating with individuals on the autism spectrum.
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