Autism is a complex learning and developmental disability that can be diagnosed within the first three years of a child’s life. It is also called Asperger’s Syndrome and Autistic Savant. Children with autism exhibit a lack of awareness about their immediate environment and appear withdrawn and detached from other people. Autism is a neurological disorder that, if scientists are to be believed, results from genetic and environmental factors: nurture and nature. It is also more prevalent among boys than girls. Despite it’s rather doomsday definition, many children diagnosed with autism have exhibited such strokes of genius that have gone on paper and are now recognized in their own professional fields: Temple Grandin (Professor at an American university and the inventor of the Hug machine), Hikari Oe (Japanese composer), and Stephen Wiltshire (Architectural artist).
You might wonder how children with autism are taught. For one, children with autism need repetition and visual stimulation to learn. One of the ways by which kids can be taught is the use of printables.
- Folder Games. Take the usual folder pieces and use it to tell a story that a child can relate to, for example, a picture of a pond and a frog that you can download from the internet. Take these photos, print these out, cut these into separate pieces, and then stick these photos into the folders. You can download and print as many pictures as you like for as long as these are related to each other. More examples: chicken and egg, shoes and socks, t-shirt and pants. As soon as the child recognizes these match-ups, you can play a game by asking him to match which ones go together.
- PECS. Or Picture Exchange Communication System. Children with autism seldom use verbal means to communicate feelings and thoughts. You can help the child by showing pictures and explaining how each picture can help him tell you how he feels or if he needs something. For example, if he wants to drink water or have a cookie, he can show the picture that tells you that he needs exactly that from you.
- Picture schedules. Children with autism need to follow a routine or schedule on a daily basis. This schedule creates a reassuring environment for children with autism who find harmony and order in the form of repetitive actions. One of the most effective ways of having him stick to a schedule is to tack a picture schedule that he can easily identify like brushing teeth, taking a bath, dressing up, having breakfast, and so on and so forth. The schedule is preferably on an hourly basis and is relevant to his schedule at home and in school.
- Coloring printables. You can use any type of figure or image that she can take a coloring pen to and color within the borders. Observe the type of printables that inspires her the most and stock up on these. Not only will she get used to color different images, she will also get to sharpen and practice her grip on the crayons. This also prepares the way for her to learn writing later on.
There’s nothing stopping a child with autism to learn as much as she can and function in society, if you lead her through the most ideal learning patterns in an environment that nurtures her mind, there’s nothing she can’t do!