Early childhood and daycare settings are a great way to foster socialization and get kids used to interacting with their peers. However, for children with autism, the experience is not as simple or fun. Working with children with autism requires patience and training, but with the right techniques you can help kids on the spectrum grow and enjoy their time in early childcare programs. Here are a few tips to help.
Learn the Basics
To be an effective educator, you need to learn about autism and specifically where the kids fall on the spectrum. This lets you better understand how they’ll react to stimuli. Get to understand the basics and don’t hesitate to speak with the child’s parents. They know what’s normal for their child, what triggers them, and how to help them calm down after an episode.
Working with children with autism requires patience. Every child reacts differently and no two autistic children are alike. This means you’ll need to be patient and be prepared to explain things in different ways to different children. Showing that you’re frustrated can often make the situation worse. Even if you feel frustrated, do your best to stay calm. Remember, just because it seems basic and easy for you doesn’t mean it is for the child. Put yourself in their shoes and see what you can do to eliminate the problems.
Teach Kids to Ask for Help
The best thing any teacher, educator, parent, or caregiver can do is teach their kids to ask for help. When working with children with autism, they may not always ask for help when they need it. This could be because they don’t know they can or they don’t know when it’s okay to talk to a teacher versus when they should be quiet. Social cues and body language are difficult for them to read. But when you explain to them when they can ask for help and give examples of why they should, it will be easier for them to manage in the classroom.
Give Them Options
One of the most important things you’ll learn about autism is that it manifests in different ways. This can be challenging for teachers because the way you structure programs may not work for your students. And the last thing you want is disruptive behavior detracting from other children’s experiences. The best way to help the children with autism in the group is to give them options. Don’t try to force them into a single mold. Let them decide how they want to learn that day. If they want to work with others, great. If they need to be on their own, let them. Work with your student’s parents or therapist to learn more about what options work best for them.
Get More Information
Working with children with autism is equally as rewarding as it is challenging, but with a little help and a lot of patience, you’re more than up to the task. The most important thing you can do is ask for help. Check out our resources, speak with their parents, and create a strategy that helps your students become the people you know they can be. Call today to book an appointment with one of our therapists.