As a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum, navigating through the educational system can feel overwhelming. Still, with support and understanding, students with autism can succeed in their learning journeys. In this article, we use our experience working with students with autism to provide practical autism help for students, focusing on strategies parents can implement at home to complement the school’s support.
Firstly, it’s important to note that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects individuals differently. Each child has unique strengths, interests, needs and challenges. Autism often impacts social communication and sensory processing and can include repetitive behaviours. Remember that a strategy that works for one child might not work for another – your child’s unique needs and abilities should guide your approach.
Establish consistent routines
Students with autism often thrive on predictable routines, giving them a sense of control and reducing anxiety. Try to establish a consistent daily routine at home, mirroring the schedule at school wherever possible. It may be challenging to sustain this during holidays. Still, it may be worthwhile and can significantly help your child.
If your child is non-verbal or has difficulty with spoken language, explore alternate forms of communication. This could be through visual aids, sign language, or technology like speech-generating devices.
Numerous educational apps and software are designed specifically for students with autism. These can be highly beneficial in promoting learning and independence in a fun and engaging way.
Our favourite apps for students with autism are:
Create a sensory-friendly environment
Many children with autism have sensory processing challenges. This could mean they are overly sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, or certain textures. Identify what sensory inputs your child struggles with and adapt their environment accordingly. As educators, we speak slowly and calmly and emphasise high-quality audion and low lighting levels.
Nurture social skills
While school provides a natural environment for practising social skills, you can also facilitate this at home. Role-playing, social stories, or gatherings offer valuable social interaction practice.
Consider outside help
As experts in autism support, we impart crucial skills to your child that might be challenging to teach independently. Beyond the direct impact on your child, we also provide respite and support to parents, reducing stress and fostering a more balanced family environment.
Self-care for parents
It’s essential to look after your own mental and physical health too. Reach out for support when you need it from autism experts, friends, family, or professional counselling.
Lastly, remember that progress may sometimes be slow, but any step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. It takes patience, resilience, and a lot of love to navigate your child’s educational journey.
With collaboration between home, school and external professionals, anchored by understanding and empathy, your child can not only tackle the challenges posed by autism but harness their unique potential. Rest assured, the journey may be challenging but rewarding, and every step will be worth it!