Date
15 April 2024

Present information in different ways

Support access and understanding by presenting information to tāngata whaitakiwātanga - autistic students in different ways.

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Use visuals

Use visuals

Build a shared understanding of the meaning of visuals.

Some students may focus on unexpected parts of the image that you have not noticed, for example, items in the background.

  • Make visuals of daily tasks, processes and steps.
  • Label resources with visuals, colours and text for easy identification.
  • Make visuals and resources easy to find by using clearly divided zones, for example a maths resources zone.
  • Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers, and visual cues to increase the predictability of regular activities.
  • Offer graphic organisers and flowcharts to break tasks into shorter chunks.
  • Use visuals, social stories and video models to support learning of new skills or behaviours.

Support understanding with visuals

Support understanding with visuals

Offer information in more than one way.

Use symbols and graphics to illustrate key concepts.

Keep the layout clean and uncluttered.

Take a multi-sensory approach

Take a multi-sensory approach

Ask the student what will help and offer multiple ways to build understanding.
  • Offer real experiences.
  • Use images, audio and video to support text and spoken information.
  • Use physical or online manipulatives and tools to support tasks. For example number lines, base ten blocks, counters and scales.
  • Use closed captions on videos.
  • Use online simulations when possible, for example, online experiments.
  • Offer digital text alongside printed versions so students can personalise it by enlarging it, listening to it, or changing the font, colours and filters.
  • Make instructions, demonstrations, or key content rewindable and accessible 24/7 using screencasts, recordings, images and videos.
  • Put content in a variety of formats in one place, for example, a video, a graphic and text document, by using online tools and digital platforms.

Use video modelling

Use video modelling

Models can support understanding and the development of skills and appropriate behaviours.
  • A video model shows the student, a peer or someone else doing the desired skill or behaviour.
  • A video model could show a variety of skills, for example a hand washing routine, a social interaction such as turn taking or a model of a transition between the classes, to assembly or an emergency drill.
  • A video model of the autistic student may be made using snippets from multiple occasions.
  • The student watches the video to learn and copy the skill or behaviour.
  • When making video models do not include “what not to do” as these may be learnt instead of the positive model.

Use emoticons

Use emoticons

Reading facial expressions can be confusing for autistic students. In online contexts support understanding using emoticons.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Helpful classroom strategies years 9-13 ”:

Return to the guide “Autism and learning”

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