Children with autism learning
Children with autism must acquire the social and communication skills they do not have in order to relate to their peers. They can not learn them by imitation , like other children. You have to use specific strategies for them. The ideal is a non-special education but specialized, within the framework of a normal school.
There are specialized teaching methods and techniques for children with autism because they have a special characteristic, that they are visual learners. For this reason, the image-object relationship is usually worked on, because sometimes children with autism do not speak in part because they do not relate words to the specific object or meaning. However, before reaching this point, we must teach them to communicate and much earlier, to be interested in communicating, which is the most difficult. To do this, the first thing to do is get involved in their interests, only this way you can capture the attention of children with autism .
Learning at school for children with autism
The children with autism go to school, either a special classroom autism integrated into a normal school or a regular classroom with some support. But the rest of the day, children with autism are with parents and it is important to structure the day very well , so they know what to do in advance, because they have no sense of location or time. For this reason, the agendas with photos are worked a lot with them first, and then with pictographs, so that they know when things start and when they finish.
The fixed routines help them a lot and give them security. On the other hand, children with autism have a hard time generating the image associated with a word or an action, so if they see it, they can interpret it more easily . And, finally, it is convenient to leave them your little moments of self-stimulation with lights or sounds, if they need it, because they calm down a lot.
The school performance of the child with autism
The school performance of children with autism depends on many factors : the affectation, when the therapy is started, how the therapy is individualized and personalized, how parents, professionals are involved … and how the school and the school are involved. faculty. Extra work is required in the preparation of learning materials and methods and not all schools have that provision. However, the evolution of a child with autism is unpredictable, because they can become real sponges. Einstein had autism.
Autism and children’s leisure and play activities
Every normal game of children like playing catch, the ball, etc. that the rest of the children learn easily by imitation, children with autism have a hard time learning to play . In addition, they have very restricted interests that, little by little, we must work to expand.
Because a very important component of life is living in society, it is essential to work for them to learn, but it is also very important that other healthy children learn how a child with autism thinks and feels and how to get there . When working with these children from a young age they can achieve total autonomy in the future.
Main educational strategies for children with autism
The educational needs of students
Precisely because of the existence of these great differences in level of intelligence, abilities and potential of children with autism, it is difficult to establish educational strategies , guidelines and methodological patterns that are valid and effective for all students diagnosed with ASD . The experts consider that the most beneficial thing for these children , with the exception of the most severe cases, is that they carry out their education in the ordinary classroom.. For teachers, having a child with autism among their students is a personal and professional challenge, while for their peers it can be a unique experience of coexistence with a different person, an example of the diversity they will encounter in the future in their labor and social relations. Both the teacher and the center should not forget that all boys and girls with autism are part of the group of students with special educational needs (SEN) and that, regardless of their potential and individual intelligence, will always present, in greater or lesser degree, problems in the following areas :
- Problems of social interaction, consisting of a certain degree of isolation and lack of social and effective contact with people, as well as lack of empathy and inability to express their own feelings.
- Alterations of behavior, repetitive or disruptive behavior and obsession with certain topics normally of little interest to the rest, such as series of numbers or the position of stars and planets.
- Cognitive alterations, which mainly affect aspects related to abstraction, symbolic function, language, attention and memory.
- Deficits in communication and language (verbal or non-verbal), which may be non-existent or have significant anomalies in intentional or meaning.
- Motor problems , with great variations between one case and another, are problems of movement and coordination.
- These problems result in specific educational needs whose main objective is to alleviate, enhance and improve as far as possible the alterations in the cognitive, intellectual and social level of these students. To achieve this, the teacher has three basic tools : adaptation of the curriculum, special methodologies criteria and specific activities.
Educational strategies for children with different degrees of autism
The general objectives of educational strategies in autistic children should be aimed at achieving the following goals:
- Promote maximum autonomy and personal independence of boys and girls.
- Develop self-control of one’s behavior and its adaptation to the environment.
- Improve the social skills of the students , promoting their ability to develop in the environment and understanding and following the norms, keys and social and emotional conventions.
- Develop functional, spontaneous and generalized communication strategies .
- Encourage communicative intention and reciprocity in communication .
- Develop basic cognitive processes such as abstract thinking, attention and memory.
Based on these objectives, the teaching team of the center must make a customized adaptation of the curriculum based on the following aspects:
- The degree and type of autism of the student and their characteristics and potential.
- The possibilities of functional development of each child.
- The evolution of the student.
- The family and social environment of the boy or girl.
The educational context in which the boy is immersed: capacities in personnel and infrastructures of the center, possibility of receiving attention and extracurricular support, etc.
The learning methodology used must, on the one hand, adapt to the rhythm and difficulties on the cognitive, communication and social level of the child and, on the other hand, influence experimentation and contact with others and the environment, since it is the better way to break the secrecy that characterizes these guys and facilitate functional learning. Some methodological actions in this line that experience has proved very effective are:
- Learning in natural settings .
- Take the student’s own interests as a starting point.
- Predicting situations that favor or trigger communicative acts .
- The typical trial-error learning system does not work with autistic children. In these cases, it is better for the teacher to provide the necessary support so that they can carry out the task and then gradually remove them.
- Pay close attention to the expression and understanding of one’s own and others’ emotional states.
- Establish very structured tools and situations .
- Avoid elements of distraction.
- The extemporization organization must also be very structured , facilitating predictability and anticipation.
- Use agendas so that the student can have very well organized time , can predict situations and it is easier to control their behavior.
The activities focused on autistic children must be very functional , be very well organized and structured and stand out for their clarity and simplicity . With regard to materials, care should be taken that they alone show the child the tasks he must perform. The visual supports (drawings, photos, posters) are very useful in autistic children as a guide and element not only reminder, but also motivational reinforcement of daily actions and tasks. The works in table must be repetitive, well structured, trying that the boy interacts with his companions and where the visual elements predominate and with which he can experiment.
Finally, a classroom for early childhood education, the inclusion of a children with autism, could be qualified as a challenge, both for the student with autism, their classmates, and for the teachers of the ordinary centers. This process provides great benefits for students, both for the normalized and for students with autism. It is necessary that teachers are aware of the importance of this process, given that everything that is done today in favor of the inclusion of these students, will have great benefits tomorrow. The intention of this Final Degree Project is to know the problems of students with autism and their inclusion in a classroom of Early Childhood Education and try to provide teachers with a practical guide to help them perform more effectively the adaptations that have to be made. perform at the center level.