The shift to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for students with autism. The home environment may differ significantly from the structured classroom setting, and individuals with autism may require additional support to succeed in this new learning format. In this article, we will explore practical strategies and tips to help students with autism thrive in remote learning settings.
Establish a Consistent Routine
Creating a daily schedule helps individuals with autism understand expectations and transitions. Set specific times for waking up, meals, breaks, and academic activities. Visual schedules or timers can assist in maintaining a predictable routine.
Designate a Dedicated Workspace
Establish a quiet, organized, and distraction-free workspace specifically for learning. This designated area can help individuals focus and differentiate between school time and leisure time.
Use Visual Supports
Visual aids, such as visual schedules, checklists, and calendars, can enhance understanding and support task completion. Visual supports provide structure and help individuals navigate their daily activities.
Break Tasks into Smaller Steps
Complex tasks can be overwhelming for individuals with autism. Break assignments into manageable steps, providing clear instructions and visual cues for each step. This approach promotes a sense of accomplishment and reduces anxiety.
Incorporate Multi-Sensory Learning
Utilize various sensory modalities to enhance learning. Incorporate hands-on activities, visuals, videos, and interactive online resources. Multi-sensory learning engages individuals with autism and helps them grasp concepts more effectively.
Other tips for Remote Learning for Autistic People
- Provide Clear Communication: Use concise and concrete language when providing instructions or explanations. Break down information into simple terms, avoiding ambiguous or figurative language. Repeat and reinforce important information when necessary.
- Utilize Assistive Technology: Explore assistive technology tools that can support learning. Text-to-speech software, speech-to-text applications, and visual organizers can assist individuals with autism in comprehension, expression, and organization.
- Allow for Movement Breaks: Individuals with autism may benefit from regular movement breaks to release energy and maintain focus. Encourage short, structured movement activities, such as stretching, yoga, or sensory-based exercises.
- Foster Social Interaction: Facilitate opportunities for social interaction with peers through video conferencing or online platforms. Virtual group projects, breakout sessions, and online clubs can help individuals with autism maintain social connections and develop social skills.
- Collaborate with Educators and Support Teams: Maintain open communication with teachers, therapists, and support teams. Share insights about what strategies work best for the individual with autism and seek their input and support in adapting remote learning materials and approaches.
- Prioritize Self-Care: Remote learning can be overwhelming for individuals with autism and their families. Prioritize self-care by establishing regular breaks, engaging in relaxation activities, and seeking support from friends, family, or support networks.
- Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals with autism during remote learning. Positive reinforcement, praise, and rewards can motivate and reinforce their efforts.
Remember, every individual with autism is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It is essential to adapt strategies based on individual strengths, needs, and preferences. With patience, flexibility, and a supportive environment, individuals with autism can succeed in remote learning and continue their educational journey.
More information and resources
You can learn more about telehealth, autism diagnosis, and what it means for you and your family here: