Helping Children with Autism learn Alphabet & Numbers
Survival in this world becomes more difficult for people who show the slightest tendencies of having natural flaws. Making it sound like a personal fault and being uptight about it is something people end up doing unintentionally. However, without a doubt, it is true that anyone can excel in anything if they put their mind to it. Similarly, for children with Autism, it is a little difficult to indulge in relationships and socialize like a normal child. They can not learn, speak or write as easily as a normal child does. But a true teacher or parent can always help them through with their struggles.
Every child is unique which is why each one of them requires a unique teaching method according to their intellect and needs. Same method of teaching a lesson cannot work on all the students. Children with Autism tend to be special in this case as well.
Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs social and communication skills. Understanding how this population learns will help you teach autistic children better. Autistic children need structure and are often visual thinkers who tend to have musical talents. Therefore, when teaching the alphabet and numbers, it can help to incorporate songs and visual aids into the lesson.
Sing the alphabet song with your autistic children daily until they can repeat it back to you. Have the children point to each letter as you sing the song.
Tell the children to point to a letter or number, and state what letter or number it is. Have the children identify uppercase and lower case letters.
Place uppercase and lower case letters out on a table. Have the children match the correct uppercase and lowercase letter together to make a pair. For example, A and a.
Lay out large numbers on the floor. Have the children put the numbers one through 10 in the correct order. When they have mastered that, do one through 20, and so on.
1. Give Simple Instructions
Children with autism can not respond to tricky questions cleverly. When you ask them to do a task, such as memorizing numbers, remember to specifically address them first in a polite manner, and give simple and direct instructions as to what they need to do. Do not become impatient and get frustrated with autistic children.
2. Go Easy & Use Games
Children with autism struggle with direct interactions and conversations which means that they will most probably avoid telling you about certain things that might be bothering them. Go easy on them as compared to other children so they don’t end up being stressed and holding it in. You can use simple games to teach them letter and numbers as this method is more effective and less distracting rather than direct questions.
3. Stay On A Sensory Alert
This is a tough task because catching all the hints right away is not very easy for an autistic child. They might get worked up and have a panic attack without actually showing any signs of their discomfort beforehand. As a good teacher, make sure that your students are comfortable in the learning environment. Provide them with stress relief toys just in case.
4. Pay Extra Time & Attention
It is very important to pay extra attention and more time to autistic children as they can be slow learners and require your patience. Carry out small activities to make them learn the letters and numbers such as using colored chalks and boards, physical letters, alphabet blocks, etc.
5. Use A Direct Language
Make sure that you avoid talking in hints. Autistic children will get confused if you use metaphors, idioms, etc. Use a direct language when you teach them letters such as “do you want to write or paint?” instead of “Let’s do something creative today”.
6. Visuals: The Best Help
Autistic children would respond to you quicker if you use visuals to teach them anything. Use toys like letter blocks and picture printed books about letters and numbers to help them learn quicker.
7. Help Them Make Friends
Encourage them to talk to other students about the lessons you have taught them. You can get other children to help their autistic friend learn the alphabets outside of classroom and encourage social interactions.
8. Provide Fewer Choices
When you give them a quiz, provide fewer choices. The more choices you give, the more confused they will be. Three choices at max are enough to help them differentiate between right and wrong answer.
9. Repeat Patiently
As you teach them about number and alphabets, make sure you repeat yourself patiently when you receive a blank stare the first time you spell something out. Slowly repeat yourself twice or thrice until you get a response.
10. Recognize Behavioral Changes
Along with all the learning, make sure you are attentive towards the way children with Autism behave. Keep a sharp eye out through-out the entire teaching session for any changes in the child’s behavior. It is possible for you to unintentionally trigger an anxiety attack or a sudden burst of confusion while you try to teach them.