Date
20 June 2024

Support participation and confidence

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

Seek advice from parents

Seek advice from parents

Listen and learn from whānau and ākonga.

Allow their insights to influence how you plan to provide support.

 

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.

Provide a predictable environment

Provide a predictable environment

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

  • Use personalised and class timetables
  • Clarify expectations and teach appropriate behaviours
  • Signal upcoming transitions
  • Talk through last minute changes that may be startling to students
  • Use task boards to break large tasks into components
  • Develop strategies for times of anxiety
  • Share key information across the school for example with staff, leaders and relief teachers.

Establish routines

Establish routines

Wherever possible, build predictability into your classroom.

Support routines and spoken instructions with visuals.

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.

Design the day to maximise participation

Design the day to maximise participation

Discuss with students what will support their participation and motivation.

Build these suggestions into your teaching practice.

  • Check in with the student regularly.
  • Connect learning to the student's interests.
  • Establish clear classroom routines, expectations and rules.
  • Provide task and lesson outlines.
  • Break work into short manageable chunks.
  • Schedule brain and movement breaks.
  • Offer leadership opportunities and group roles based on the student's expertise and interests.
  • Foster tuakana-teina relationships where students support each other.
  • Provide easy access to quiet spaces for working or winding down.
  • Develop and teach strategies to help students when they get stuck.
  • Notice task avoidance or increasing anxiety and implement supports quickly.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Helpful classroom strategies years 1-8”:

Return to the guide “Autism and learning”

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