Make Learning Fun for Kids with Autism
Autism is a disorder of the brain that is biological in function. It causes anywhere from mild to severe social impairment and an inability to function normally in society. However, there are ways to treat many of the cases of autism. Autistic children can learn and excel and if certain teaching methods are used, their progress can be nothing short of fantastic.
One of the most important things to realize in making learning fun for autistic children is the fact that they learn in different ways than children without autism. Autistic children generally have a disability in social skills. Sometimes this difficulty in communication involves language skills. However, there are a number of ways to make learning these important skills more than just a chore. By injecting fun into learning, it has been shown that autistic children learn at a faster pace. Actually, fun and learning work well for all types of children, but autistic children are special and require more tailored methods.
Children with autism seem to learn best when the instructional material is presented in visual form. In this case it might be worthwhile to try different educational programs via a computer. Using a computer is a fun way to learn. The majority of educational programs are highly visual. Many of the games available involve storylines, plots, and realistic human behaviors. Some of the skills autistic children can learn from carefully selected video games are language skills, reading and math skills, and social skills. Visual learning devices are highly effective and can be accompanied by various rewards to reinforce what is being learned. For instance, food and extended leisure activities can be used as rewards that will encourage the child to want to learn. In addition, the use of positive reinforcement will help develop a bond between student and teacher, and create a sense of trust that will help strengthen the learning environment.
Social stories are another way to make learning fun for children with autism. Since one of the aspects of autism is the inability to interact normally in a social situation, social stories can be utilized in a variety of different ways in order to model appropriate behavior. Autism education pioneer Carol Gray developed this approach in 1991. By using engaging stories, children with autism can learn appropriate and inappropriate responses to situations. The level of fun, of course, is up to the way social stories are used. Usually, the stories are tailored to the child. By modeling situations familiar to an autistic child, they can be better prepared to react in a socially appropriate to those same situations in the future. Social stories usually have three distinct ways of addressing a particular situation. The first describes who, what, where and why in relation to the situation. The second is a perspective sentence that illuminates how others react to the situation being discussed. Finally, the third sentence tries to model an appropriate response. Sometimes the use of social stories can be accompanied by music and pictures. In terms of making the process a bit more fun rewards can be used when a situation is properly addressed.
Children with autism require special education needs to address their social difficulties. It is really important to make these activities as much fun as possible so the student will stay motivated. It is not easy for an autistic child to change his or her response to various situations, so it is imperative that the activities be non-threatening and highly interesting. It has been demonstrated that over time the use of visual aids and social stories are two of the most effective ways to help autistic children overcome social situations they feel are threatening. To most of us, these situations are normal, everyday occurrences, but to children with autism they can sometimes be terrifying moments that they do not have the skills to deal with. These teaching methods, while entertaining and fun, can help children adapt and manage their perceptions of social interactions.
There are many more resources and information about diagnosing, controlling and treating Autism in The Essential Guide To Autism