ESL teachers often teach students with Autism without any special education, and can find it really challenging. Yet the special needs students really love being in the classroom with their healthy peers – they make so many friends and learn to use social skills. Moreover, it is also good for the other students to work with this “different type of people” and learn to treat fairly and respect people with special needs.
1. Providing a very clear structure and daily routine.
2. Always keep your language simple and concrete. Use short sentences.
3. Avoid using sarcasm as students with Autism may take it literally.
4. Avoid using idioms. “Catch my eye” and “have your ear to the ground” can be taken literally, which will leave a student completely frustrated and wondering how to do that.
5. Reinforce a non-preferred activity with a preferred activity. For example, if a student doesn’t like reading (non-preferred activity), she/he can spend five minutes drawing (preferred activity) after completing a reading work.
Use a lot of visuals as Autistic children often have visual-spatial strengths. Visual schedules of thedaily routine can make learning process more enjoyable and easy. See example of using visuals below:
7. Prevent teasing Autistic peers by increasing awareness of one’s particular needs. Reading children books about kids with Autism can significantly improve respect and awareness in the classroom. You can try Louis in Kindergarten, an enlightening book intended for teachers who have autistic children in their classroom. Louis is a very special kindergarten student. He’s different than the other children and everyone in the class tries to make Louis comfortable by following very special rules. This sensitive book teaches young children to treat people who are different with respect and kindness.