Please welcome students who are neurodivergent learners. Many have several strengths which can benefit ABE classrooms. Be aware of the following common Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) characteristics:
- Students may have a need for routine and may become anxious when there is a change of plans.
- They may prefer to work by themselves rather than work in group settings.
- Many are visual learners.
- They may interpret information literally.
- They may have sensitivities to bright light, loud noises or certain textures.
Helpful hints for teaching a student with ASD:
- Meet privately with the student and ask about their learning style and how you can support them in class.
- Provide clear, explicit expectations and instruction.
- Write the class schedule on the board.
- Allow the student to work alone, if requested.
- Use visual learning strategies as much as possible. For example, giving instructions in writing and using visual aids, such as pictures, YouTube videos, drawings, or graphs to assist their learning.
- Avoid unnecessary changes. If changes must be made, provide advance warning and give the student a chance to ask questions.
- The student may need more guidance in addressing abstract concepts. Work with them to develop rules, models, learning aids, or protocols for representing and applying new subject matter.
- Some of the instructional strategies described in the chapter on ADHD will apply to students with ASD, if they report challenges with focus.