Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Strategies that work
Willis in the article “Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder” offers a detailed explanation about the Autism disorder. Most importantly, the author outlines the main characteristics related with autism and gives some straightforward strategies of dealing with autism. Notably, the author concentrates on how to assist these children to adapt to preschool settings. This paper gives a reflection of Willis’ article and establishes how the information can be used in a classroom set up.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder that affects children under the age of five. It has at least five identifiable types and its’ characteristics appear along a continuum of symptoms and behaviors. It is of great concern that Autism has impinged on the health of millions of children across the globe and the boys tend to be the most affected. There are common characteristics that are exhibited by a child suffering from autism as indicated by the author. These include; problems with communication as well as social relationships, different behavioral characteristics, practice of nonfunctional routines and use of repeated movements.
According to the author, it is imperative for families and teachers to consider a child with the autism disorder as one with ability, strong points and potential. There is therefore a need to give the child a first consideration. Most importantly, the teachers need to understand and know the communication mode of the child. This can be achieved by gaining knowledge about the reason for a child’s behavior. In order for the teachers to have this in depth knowledge, they need to have a thorough interrogation on the child’s behavior from his or her parents before enrolment to class. The author therefore suggests dissimilar strategies that can be used in assisting these children to suit in the normal environments. These include helping them out in making friends. This is intended to help the children to build on their social interaction. Furthermore, there is a need for practicing a routine like morning greetings each day. This can be done through the use of repetitive phrases each time in order to help the child feel secure. Lastly, classroom hunts can be used to assist such a child to explore sections of the classroom, interrelate with toys and attempt new activities.
How this information can be used in the classroom
The information provided by Willis in the article “Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder” can be very useful in the classroom setup. Consequently the educators can use such information to establish a classroom environment that is considerate of the children suffering from autism. The teacher can establish a predictable procedure of doing things in the classroom. The children can be required to raise up their hand before raising a question. Children with autism will therefore relate the raising up of hands to a subsequent activity of answering a question. The educator can also use vocal reminders of the up next activity. After a lesson, a bell can be ringed to indicate a change to a different activity for example a break. Lastly, teachers can make use of picture programs to give a hint about what needs to be done. A timetable with time and pictures of activities can for example be posted on the classroom walls. Time for lunch could be indicated by a picture of food while play time could be suggested by pictures of play items like balls and skipping ropes. These can be very useful in helping children with autism to adapt to the classroom set up.