Teaching The Spectrum – How To Reach Children With Autism

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

School is in full swing and it’s time to work on development plans for the education of young minds who are on the Autism spectrum.  Here are some basic habits that you can practice to create a great environment for learning:

  1. Structure is key.

Many children on the spectrum have  ADHD symptoms and sensory issues to compete with, so keeping them on task is important.  Keeping on track can be a challenge, but using structure to define goals can help with focus. Be consistent with scheduling and stick to it.

  1. Work with any teachers or tutors that might be involved.

Just like parents need to be on the same page when it comes to discipline or rules for their kids, everyone involved in the academic life of a child on the spectrum needs to be aware of the action plan for development.  Another person might be achieving success using a technique that you didn’t know existed.  Everyone needs to be in the loop.

  1. Peer to peer tutoring can help.

If your child is in a traditional classroom setting, it might be a challenge for the teacher to dedicate time to individual attention for that child.  You might want to suggest peer tutoring as an option. One-on-one peer tutoring can be very effective because often a child with Autism will mimic the actions of their peers and benefit from seeing the way they work and handle social situations.

  1. Use visual aids when possible.

Sometimes a child can tune out verbal cues or have problems retaining attention during spoken instruction.  Using visual aids can help refocus attention and can help block out distraction.

  1. Sign language can help the non-verbal learner.

If you have a non-verbal child, sign language can be a huge asset.  Non-verbal children tend to respond well to hand motions, so knowing sign language can be a valuable tool in communicating.

  1. Use the child’s interests to help teach other areas.

This is a great way to get the most out of your child’s attention span.  If he or she doesn’t like math, but loves music, incorporate song into your math lessons when possible.  If your child likes to paint, try to find a way to match difficult concepts from other subjects with that visual element. You will get a much better response and find your child paying attention for a longer duration if you can dial in to what excites them.

  1. Set clear goals.

Make everything transparent in terms of benchmarks to attain.  Also remember to set goals that make sense.  If a child averages 10 minutes of optimal focus for a task, don’t expect them to complete a 30 minute project.  Break that larger project into smaller segments to make the goal attainable.

  1. Heap praise and reward.

Children on the spectrum revel in praise.  Make sure to use positive reinforcement techniques whenever applicable and reward even small task completion.

  1. Be consistent with consequences.

You really have to mean what you say, and be prepared to stick to it.  You can’t say things like “We aren’t leaving until you finish,” unless you are prepared to stay all day.  Make sure that your consequences are actionable, close ended and attainable.


If you have a child with special needs and are looking for help, we are here.  Peak Potential Therapy believes that therapy should take place wherever it is most needed, whether that is at home or in the classroom.

We will work with you as well as the teachers and staff at your child’s school or daycare to make sure that your student has the most successful action plan possible in place.  Contact us today and let us get started making a difference in your child’s life.