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By: Sharulatha
Tan Hui En

What is Autism?
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a
developmental condition which affects individuals in two
main areas:
Individuals have impaired communication and social
Individuals have restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour,
interests or activities.

Characteristics of Children with Autism

Social Interaction Impairments

Have difficulty making eye
contact with others
Show little body language or
facial expressions when
Have difficulty developing
relationships with peers
Seem uninterested in sharing

Speech, Language and
Communication Impairments

Have difficulty communicating
with speech or with gestures
Have difficulty understanding
what others are saying to him/her
Have difficulty using the language
he/she has to interact with others
Have difficulty starting or
continuing a conversation
Have difficulty using his own
sentences and instead may
repeat what others say
Lack make-believe or pretendplay skills

Stereotyped or Repetitive

Show interest in very few objects
or activities and play with them in
repetitive ways
Perform repetitive routines and
have difficulty with changes in
these routines
Spend time in repetitive
movements (such as waving a
hand in front of his face)

Teachers Implications
Use pictures or symbols
Autistic children are visual thinkers. They do not think in
Ex: To learn words UP and DOWN, a teacher should
Take a toy airplane and say UP as you make the
airplane take off from a desk. Some children learn better
if cards with the words UP and DOWN are attached to
the toy airplane. The UP card is attached when the
plane takes off. The DOWN card is attached when it

Avoid long strings of verbal instructions. Use simple and

concrete language.
Autistic children have problems remembering sequence.
Get your point across in as few words as possible.
Typically, its far more effective to say Pens down, close
your journal and line up to go outside than It looks so
nice outside. Lets do our science lesson now. As soon as
youve finished your writing, close your books and line up
at the door. Were going to study plants outdoors today.

Give fewer choices. If a child is asked to pick a colour,

say red, only give him two to three choices to pick from.
The more choices, the more confused an autistic child
will become.
Clearly explain social skills so that your child is not
confused. For example, "It's polite to look at people
when you're talking to you. If eye contact feels
uncomfortable to you,[1] you can try looking at
somebody's eyebrows, mouth, hands, or general
direction instead."

Link work to the pupils particular interest.

Many autistic children get fixated on one subject such as
trains or maps. The best way to deal with fixations is to
use them to motivate school work. If the child likes trains,
then use trains to teach reading and math. Read a book
about a train and do math problems with trains.

Imitating the behaviours that they engage in. For

example, if the child rolls a ball immediately after they
do this the teacher will also roll the ball to show that
they are imitating the action. Eventually the child will
catch on to this and they will begin to initiate
socialization through actions which is the first step in
getting them to open up.

Drama and Role play Activities

To help them learn social skills such as greetings, turn
taking in conversation and watching for cues in social
skills group.