How Are You Helping Special Needs Students?

How Are You Helping Special Needs Students?

Schools for children with special needs

Teaching is a rewarding and challenging career, and many people who become teachers find that working with special needs children is especially so. There are special challenges for children with autism in schools, and teachers may need assistance helping those children succeed. Fortunately, there are many resources and games for children with autism spectrum disorders that teachers can use to connect with their students.

One of the biggest challenges for children with autism in schools is learning to sit nicely in class. Many students with autism spectrum disorders use noise making or movement to help them focus on what the teacher is saying or to drown out environmental noise. Teachers should provide these students with opportunities to experience different sensory stimulation throughout the day, and pay attention to the general level of noise in the classroom. Mints or gum may help orally-fixated students, and toys such as stress balls and small puzzles may help a student quiet his or her hands.

Some students with autism may wander the classroom, or become upset with sudden changes in activity. The best way to combat both of these challenges is by creating a predictable schedule and strictly adhering to it. Teachers may explain the schedule to their students by telling them when they are expected to be seated nicely, and when they will be permitted to move about the classroom. This creates a comforting environment for students with special needs and their neurotypical peers.

Visual cues are a great way to gently remind special needs students what is expected of them, and can help reinforce encouraged behaviors. Placing a stop sign on the door may help a student remember not to leave the classroom when such behavior is inappropriate, and clearly labeling areas of the room for different activities will help them learn their schedule.

Working with children with autism in schools can be more challenging than teaching other students, but it may also be more rewarding. Many teachers find teaching special needs children to be the highlight of their day.

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