Date
15 April 2024

Support participation and confidence

Support ākonga to organise and manage themselves with a range of classroom strategies.

On this page:

Demonstrate you value diversity

Demonstrate you value diversity

Consider how you value uniqueness and diversity in your classroom. 

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

Provide a structured environment

Provide a structured environment

A predictable environment can reduce anxiety and increase access to learning for tāngata whaitakiwātanga — autistic students.

Create a predictable environment

Create a predictable environment

Create predictable routines to reduce anxiety and allow students to manage themselves independently

Use predictable routines and systems

  • Use class and personalised timetables so that students can anticipate transitions and manage themselves independently.
  • Support routines with visuals.
  • Teach and model how to use planning and scheduling tools.
  • Make visuals and resources easy to find by using clearly divided zones, for example a maths resources zone.

Signal and manage transitions and changes

  • Use timers, timetables and visuals or task boards to clarify tasks and transitions.
  • Talk through last minute changes that may be startling to students.

Support transitions to anything new

Support transitions to anything new

Unexpected change and unfamiliar environments can increase anxiety for autistic students. Use this list as a guide for creating smooth transitions.
  • Share information about the transition with whānau and ask their advice.
  • Design changes and new environments with and for students.
  • Preview changes if possible or support with layouts, images or video.
  • Assess the new context or environments for  potential issues, for example, sensory challenges.
  • Discuss or brief students about transitions and changes of routine.
  • Maintain consistent language, routines and systems that are familiar to the student.
  • Make connections to the student's strengths, skills, and interests as part of the transition.

Harness strengths

Harness strengths

Autistic students may demonstrate strengths that can be harnessed in the classroom.

These may include:

  • strong visual-spatial skills, which help literacy
  • non-verbal problem-solving skills, which help when structuring tasks in ways that motivate students
  • auditory memory, which helps when learning socially-appropriate phrases for specific situations
  • strong visual memory which supports skills such as spelling.

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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