Looking for the Best Educational Tools for Autism and Top Teaching Advice for Parents of Autistic children? Keep reading to learn more!
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with autism, making it essential to widen teaching methodologies in response to an autistic child’s specific learning needs.
Be it at home or in the classroom, learning and development are the end-goal of every parent whose child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). But rather than sticking to traditional at-home teaching methods, parents should first understand and accept their children as they are – unique and creative in ways more than one.
Learning in the Eyes of a Child with Autism:
From sensory responses to neural networks, autism affects the way the brain perceives and reacts to stimuli. For instance, rather than memorizing words, a child with autism is more likely to respond to visual or sensory cues. And this also speaks volumes when it comes to the way they communicate.
According to experts, it’s normal for a child with ASD to show signs of speech delay or to miss out on body language and other social cues, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t communicate at all. They just have a different way of doing so. Realizing this can be the most significant step in enabling your child to develop socially, behaviorally, and communicatively.
Best Educational Tools for Autism & Top Teaching Advice for Parents
But where do you start? How do you teach a child who has different communication and learning patterns? Let’s flip through the blank pages and write some of the best educational tools for Autism and tools you can use at home.
I. Creating the Right Learning Environment
Ever tried working in a nightclub? Or maybe you tried finishing your paperwork on a tennis court? Nope? Well, just like you, your child needs a conducive learning environment, too.
When homeschooling a child with Autism, minimize all possible distractions because, as mentioned earlier, autism causes strong responses to visual stimuli–something you can turn in your favor by using visual aids as a learning tool.
Avoid distractions but use visuals? Wait that isn’t very clear! By creating a pleasant learning environment, we mean that you should:
- Identify any stimuli that can cause under or hypersensitivity (eg., noise, or bright colors) to your child so that you can remove these triggers.
- Minimize distractions like bright posters, toys, and other objects that can quickly become your child’s center of focus.
- Use calm and relaxing colors for your learning space.
- Choose a quiet space that’s least vulnerable to auditory or sensory stimuli. Based on a study, 79% of teachers agree that noise control plays a vital role in maximizing an autistic child’s learning potential.
- Create a calming space, which can help you manage your child’s sudden behavioral outbursts. Adding therapeutic toys, bubble tubes with mirrors, and mini trampolines to this space allow your child to release excessive energy.
- During learning sessions, use visuals like photos, lines, and shapes as they help simplify your child’s learning experience.
II. Creating Structure
If there’s anyone who hates surprises the most in your household, it’s your child. Surprises can lead to sensory overload, meltdowns, and unproductive behaviors. Surprises are a no go when it comes to teaching a child with autism. Instead, it’s essential to create a learning structure that your child can adapt and follow. You can do so by:
- Set up a distinct learning table and chair for you and your child.
- Set a learning schedule and stick to it.
- Be predictable by creating a teaching plan that your child can follow and anticipate.
III. Adjust to Your Child’s Communication Patterns
You can’t speak Japanese to someone who only knows Chinese and vice versa. But it doesn’t mean you should give up on looking for ways to communicate–and that’s precisely how it works when you’re teaching a child with autism.
When teaching your child, try to assess areas where he/she can understand you (and what you’re teaching) better. Use non-verbal communication if it helps your child, and use the sense of touch when needed. A gentle press on the hand or the arm can make all the difference when it comes to conveying words of affirmation or encouragement.
Be firm. Be patient. Stick to one language and always call your child by name. This helps them recognize their names and create a structure later.
IV. Use Educational Tools and Toys
Teaching a child with ASD is a challenging feat, but it is not insurmountable. In academies, it takes individualized education plans to help autistic students cope and learn based on their specific needs.
Homeschooling a child with autism is no different. But instead of strictly sticking to modules, parents are advised to create a learning space and use educational tools that are centered on their child’s distinctive needs.
If educational tools and other tools are new to you, below are some of the best sensory tools for autism that can help you get started on the right page:
- Time Timer Plus 60-Minute Visual Timer
- A complete lifesaver for parents teaching kids with ASD, the Time Timer Plus 60-Minute Visual Timer offers a unique way to teach children time differences through its iconic red disk.
- EMS Earmuffs for Kids
- EMS Earmuffs takes noise control to the next level by its efficient noise-reducing features, which substantially prevent any distraction during learning sessions.
- Stop, Relax, & Think
- Stop, Relax, & Think allows your child to learn from comprehensive visual aids. The set includes posters and activity guides that can help you create work structure.
- No Noise Fidget Box by Fidget Club
- Made for learning minus the unnecessary noise, the No Noise Fidget Box by Fidget Club is a great sensory stimulus that eliminates distractions.
- Vehicle Sound Box
- Designed for developing auditory and fine motor skills, Melissa and Doug’s Vehicle Sound Box provides opportunities for learning and playing.
- Manimo Weighted Animals
- The ultimate comfort toy made to calm anxiety during sudden episodes of tantrums, Manimo Weighted Animals, can give your children a sense of security, especially when presented with new objects that can act as unwanted stimuli.
Best Educational Tools for Autism
For more educational tools and gadgets that can help you help your child, bestkidstuff.com has a lot of different resources, comparing things you can buy for children of different ages and needs.
Now more than ever, you and your home should foster your child’s development. With the help of the best teaching practices and educational tools for ASD, you can create an efficient learning atmosphere right at your doorsteps.