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Autism and learning
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Support the learning and wellbeing of autistic students or tāngata whaitakiwātanga.

On this page:

​Understanding autism

Learn about key characteristics of autism.

Video hosted on Youtube http://youtu.be/jQ95xlZeHo8

Consider how you value uniqueness and diversity in your classroom. 

Summary of important concepts:

Strategies for action

Four key strategies to support tāngata whaitakiwātanga, autistic students.

Show material for:

Identify needs and ways to provide support

Get to know the student. Take an evidence-based approach to identify where they need support. Work in partnership with the student, their whānau, and those with expertise and experience.

Video hosted on Youtube http://youtu.be/MT33QhYfRb8

Matt Frost talks about his experience of autism and what worked well for him at school.

Three suggestions for implementing this strategy:

  1. Build whanaungatanga

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources
  2. Gather information to inform practice

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources
  3. Organisations, programmes, and resources

    Includes:

    • Resources

Key areas of support

Communication, social interaction, sensory challenges, positive behaviour and self management are areas that autistic students may need some specific support with.

People who know the details of my autism are usually more comfortable dealing with me. Also, the more information my teachers have, the more ideas they have to help me learn.

Autistic student

Five suggestions for implementing this strategy:

  1. Support communication

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources
  2. Foster social interaction

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources
  3. Minimise sensory challenges

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources
  4. Support positive behaviour

    Includes:

    • Resources
  5. Support self-management

    Includes:

    • Video
    • Resources

Helpful classroom strategies years 1-8

Approaches that support tāngata whaitakiwātanga - autistic students are often valuable for all students. The year 1-8 strategies should be read alongside the Key areas of support section of this guide.

Video hosted on Vimeo http://vimeo.com/100662410

Linda Ojala uses a UDL approach to ensure her classroom is an effective learning space for a student with ASD.

Four suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Helpful classroom strategies years 9-13

Approaches that support tāngata whaitakiwātanga - autistic students are often valuable for all students. The year 9-13 strategies should be read alongside the Key areas of support section of this guide.

7448 [Onslow-student-Nick.png]

Look at your learning environment, including your teaching strategies, assessment processes, materials and the ways you construct learning tasks. Consider how it works for tāngata whaitakiwātanga — autistic students.

Source: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Source:
Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Four suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Key resources

Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD A resource for educators

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A resource for educators

Read time: 25 min

This booklet examines how autism can influence learning. It provides strategies teachers can use relating to key areas where autistic students may need support.

Website

Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline: He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau

Third edition 2022. Collates research on effective ways to support autistic people and their families. It includes advice about well-researched approaches, therapies, and supports which have been proven to work.

Publisher: Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

Autism spectrum disorder in Aotearoa New Zealand Promising practices and interesting issues

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Aotearoa New Zealand: Promising Practices and Interesting Issues

This book aims to help teachers and other education professionals provide for autistic children and young people at all levels of education. Chapters include exploring specific strategies including video modelling, and social scripts.

Publisher: NZCER Press

Price: One off charge NZ$44.95

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