Autism is a Spectrum, so no two children will ever be the same.
Whilst all will have difficulties with social communication and interaction, and will on some level have repetitive interests or patterns of behaviour how these display can differ hugely from one child to another. This means the teaching techniques needed can also differ widely from one child to the next.
Parents are your greatest resource and your best ally.
Treat them as such and you will be surprised at the difference it makes. Talk to them about the strategies they use at home and encourage them to talk to you about the things their child both enjoys and finds hard.
Do not judge parents.
Teaching and parenting are very different things. Children present differently in different environments. Even if you see a different picture remember school is a more structured environment than home – differences between the two settings are more likely than they are unlikely.
The best tool in your toolkit is understanding.
Take time to look beyond the behaviours and find the reasons for those behaviours. Once you understand the reasons you will open doors.
A child’s Special Interest is often the key to their heart.
Tap into that and you really will find doors opening that you never imagined possible.
Remember that anxiety can present differently in different children.
The child who sits there smiling in class may be every bit as anxious as the child who lashes out – just less able to vocalise their worries.
Share your strategies with parents but do not impose them.
It takes a village to raise a child, and as parents we often feel as though we have reached the end of our toolkit. New ideas presented in the right way are usually very welcome.
Avoid giving too much verbal input if a child is distressed.
Instead give them clear visual choices and the space to regulate their emotions.
Don’t underestimate the impact of sensory needs.
Loud noises, wind and bright lights can all have a huge impact on a child’s ability to get through the day. Small changes can make a big difference.
Remember that truly understanding a child and working as a team with their parents is worth any amount of funding.
Things in the system are stretched right now, but together we can make a difference.