Autism Spectrum Disorder Education Learning Learning Skills Social Skills Teaching Technology

Bringing Alternative Tools Into The Autism-Supportive Classroom

Education is one of the greatest challenges facing those who support children with ASD. Regular methods of teaching are often not suitable, and creativity is required – indeed, one Yale study found that the use of puppets in the learning environment can greatly improve responsiveness to education and, from that, greater outcomes. Teachers all over the world are well aware of this challenge, and often go to great lengths to develop creative learning environments that benefit the children. New research shows certain approaches may be particularly effective.

Building self awareness

Echolalia helps children learn language

 

Children with ASD need different teaching methods. The hybrid teaching method, which mixes in-person and digital learning, has become necessary for many children since the advent of the pandemic; as it happens, hybrid learning can also be broadly beneficial for children with ASD going through their own learning experiences. A potential problem that arises from this is differentiation – children may question why they are being treated differently from peers who have returned, full-time, to the school environment. New research suggests that bringing these children into the discussion and explaining exactly why this is may help long-term learning. The research, conducted by the University of Plymouth, UK, found that building early self-awareness of ASD, and what the condition means, can improve long-term educational outcomes for children.

Social in every class

The reason that building self-awareness is so effective in teaching kids with ASD is because of the fact that these skills touch on all areas of life. Similarly, according to the Association for Learning Technology, helping students with ASD to develop social skills can further contribute to positive educational outcomes by giving a more well-rounded set of skills with which to learn and adapt. In particular, using the hybrid learning model, with a focus on augmented and virtual reality, brought excellent outcomes. Accordingly, it’s crucial that the learning environment seeks to provide skills contextualized within the framework of providing a fully rounded educational experience.

Enhancing inclusivity

According to one study published by Taylor & Francis Online, the inclusive education model (IEM) has long been a standard for the education of children with ASD. This promotes inclusivity among not just children with ASD, but children with other disabilities, too, in addition to other notifiers – such as diverse ethnic backgrounds. Building educational plans and the curriculum in a way that ensures that every party can fully engage in learning is essential. By applying educational environments to all eventualities, rather than adapting to new needs with less planning, the entire classroom stands to benefit – and, more than others, children with ASD who previously may have had impacted learning outcomes.

In some ways, the essence of the creative classroom in which children with ASD can thrive is not from a bright imagination, but from being as inclusive as possible. Looking at every avenue to find new ways of helping children to learn, regardless of their circumstances, is a bare minimum – and will help to produce a new generation who achieve academically, regardless of the challenges they face.

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