9 Ways to support a child with autism in the classroom

9 Ways to support a child with autism in the classroom

No two autistic children are the same, and their autism manifests in different ways. Like every child, autistic children need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to teaching, there are ways to support a child with autism in the classroom #autismsupport #autismawareness #autismparenting #teaching

No two autistic children are the same, and their autism manifests in different ways. Like every child, autistic children need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to teaching, there are ways to support a child with autism in the classroom

Having a positive teacher-student relationship will help ensure learning and growth. While these steps will not work with every child, many of them will help you get started off on the right foot.

Like every child, autistic children need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to teaching, there are ways to support a child with autism in the classroom #autismsupport #autismawareness #autismparenting #teaching

1. Educate yourself about the learner

Educating yourself is a practical step for teaching any individual. You need to learn as much about the student as you can to cater and facilitate their needs. If the child has an IEP or 504 plan in place, make sure to study up on these. Knowing the accommodations ahead of time will help with a smooth transition.

If possible, touch base with the child’s previous teachers. Chances are, they will have some great insight to help you learn more about your student.

2. Teach to the student’s abilities and interests

“Autistic children, like all children, need to feel familiar and comfortable in their surroundings. This can take time, so don’t embark on your teaching without ample and appropriate preparation,” says Tonya Roman, a teacher at Academic Brits and the Ph.D. Kingdom.

After educating yourself about the child, make sure to identify their strengths, weaknesses, skills, interests, and obsessions. Factor this knowledge into your classroom approach to give them the best learning opportunities. Knowing things they like may help in providing positive rewards. Knowing things they dislike may help in avoiding meltdowns.

3. Form a relationship with the parent

Everybody connected with the child must be working on the same team to maximize successes. That means the teacher and parents should support each other and facilitating each other’s requirements.  

While parents will want to connect, they might not always know-how. If your school uses an app or email system, make use of it to stay in contact with the parents. Let them know you are wanting to best support their child. You can also use this as a wat to ask questions, such as what works best at home to keep their child motivated.

4. Make a routine

Autistic children, more than any others, respond best to routines.  Creating a structured and organized routine helps autistic children feel secure, safe and looked after.  These structured plans help greatly,

Many parents express that their children often behave better at school. That is because the school day is very structured. As teachers, you provide set times and ways of doing things daily with your class. You can help your student by giving them a written or picture copy of the daily schedule. That way they can mentally prepare themselves for each transition.

5. Be Clear in Your Instructions

Patience is a real virtue for all teachers of all kids, but also be very clear and concise in your delivery of instructions. For many children with autism, following multiple-step instructions can be overwhelming. 

Stick to one or two-step instructions, and be prepared to repeat them calmly if need be.  Visual schedules work great to help children learn all the steps of a specific action. 

6. Limit Choices

Choices can be hard for everybody, particularly too many. For an autistic child, this can be too much, and lead to a total breakdown in participation. Limit choices down to one or two options. Doing this will help reduce stress in the child, which autistic children can feel acutely.

7. Embrace Technology

To stimulate and engage the child in the learning environment, utilize appropriate technology such as iPads and other types of visual aids. There are a ton of great apps and resources available to help autistic children learn. Apps like Otismo and Innervoice help with learning skills. Devices like Forbrain help with the auditory processing loop.

Don’t overdo it either, as conventional tools such as painting and drawing are also fantastic ways to engage the student. An approach that blends old and new technologies is always advisable.

8. Allow plentiful breaks

Autistic children can often suffer from a lack of concentration or by their need to keep moving. Planning the appropriate breaks can help to prevent overstimulation.

“One way of facilitating an autistic child’s physical freedom is by allowing plenty of movement breaks. This allows the child to expend as much physical energy as they like before settling down again to the task at hand.”

Anabel Keedy, an educator at Origin Writings and Next Coursework.

9. Get practical

Ensure that the activities that you engage the child in are hands-on and visually stimulating. Practical activities which involve as many of the senses as possible are a great way of maintaining a semblance of interest.  Use tools such as sensory bottles or squeeze bags

9 Ways to support a child with autism in the classroom

Educating an autistic child needs to be a team effort involving teachers, assistants, parents, and specialists. Make sure to have necessary support and advice, so you will need to give the child the best possible educational opportunity.


Like every child, autistic children need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to teaching, there are ways to support a child with autism in the classroom #autismsupport #autismawareness #autismparenting #teaching

Sara Cooper

Native San Franciscan Sara Cooper is a tutor and writer. Sara specializes in education, and you can also unearth her articles at educational online magazines and blogs.

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