Photo via Pixabay by Pezibear
For children on the autism spectrum, learning is a very different process than it is for other kids. It’s important to have engaging activities that focus on the special needs of the individual child rather than a general lesson plan, but they’re not always easy to find. The first step in making sure your child’s education is challenging and engaging is to figure out their strengths and weaknesses where learning is concerned. Target the areas that they have trouble with–such as fine motor skills, social skills, and communication, but also find ways to incorporate topics, subject areas, and activities that interest them.
Here are some of the best ideas to help you get started.
Some of the best lesson plans for children who fall on the autism spectrum include games, and simple ones are often the best. To work on communication skills, bring out a simple puzzle and keep one of the pieces aside. Allow your child to put the puzzle together and talk about the concept of asking for help. When the puzzle is nearly complete and they realize one piece is missing, wait for them to ask for assistance before bringing out the last piece. Practice this concept over and over with different puzzles or toys.
One great game to play that reinforces social skills is the stoplight game. This will require more than one player, so if you are working with one child, play along with him. The idea is to teach the concept of personal space, so start by explaining what personal space is and why it is important. Show your child how much space an individual might desire to have around them, and then make two brightly-colored cards: one with a red stoplight, and one with a green light. Move around the room with your child, and when he gets too close to you, hold up the stoplight. Encourage him to do the same when you get close to him. .
Fine Motor Skills
Many children who fall on the autism spectrum have a hard time holding a pencil correctly and using other fine motor skills, such as putting together a puzzle with small pieces. A great way to help him build those skills is to introduce him to art–specifically, a self portrait. Sit down at a table with your child and set up a small mirror in front of him. Give him a piece of paper and a pencil and encourage him to draw what he sees in the mirror. Not only will he be learning to hold a pencil correctly, but he’ll also need to focus on what he sees and translate that to the paper. This is a fun exercise to do together, so test your art skills at the same time and then compare the drawings when you’re done.
Remember, it’s important to stay patient and think outside the box where learning is concerned. What works for one child might not work for another, so keep trying different tactics until you find something that works.