There are many different characteristics of those with autism including a wide array of capabilities and distinct personalities. Fortunately, educators and psychologists have developed effective strategies which will allow for many of those on the autistic spectrum to learn and function just as any other child would.
According to Autism Speaks, a non profit organization which is dedicated to research and awareness, there are 6 basic steps that serve as a guideline towards an effective style of teaching; which are effective with all sorts of children, not just children with autism.
1) Break lesson plans or projects into small parts.
Sometimes children have trouble seeing the whole picture and need to see parts of a problem in the beginning, rather than being inundated with the whole thing all at once.
2) Visual learning aids trump spoken teaching methods.
Drawing pictures or using tangible objects like marbles or other counting aids can be so much more effective than simply stating something.
3) Write out a plan and stick to it.
All sorts of children and adults need a plan to be successful. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.”
4) Use the language of “If, Then and First, Next.”
This sets clear objectives and rewards. For example, “If you finish this page of math, then you may draw for five minutes.”
If a child is having a difficult time understanding a particular idea, then allow for them to take a break from it and to choose another concept that will further their skills and also serve as a mental break.
6) Never Break Promises.
Children are very responsive to promises. It’s important to have a sense of continuity with the teacher/student relationship. If rewards are not kept, then the child loses a seriousness or desire to continue with effort.
At Mathnasium of Avon, we are constantly keeping our instructors up to date on the best strategies of teaching. Training them to teach children with Autism related diagnosis is another step in that direction. If your , or someone you know, child has difficulties in learning due to autism related conditions, please call us and set up your appointment for a risk free evaluation. We may be able to help your child learn math in a very supportive environment.