Date
14 April 2024

Support processing and organisation

Provide a range of supports and visuals to help ākonga to be independent.

Provide structure for task completion

Provide structure for task completion

Give autistic ākonga the time they need to succeed.

Consider reducing the quantity rather than the complexity of the learning for students.

  • Provide instructions in short segments, for example, teach → student activity → teach → student activity.
  • Provide students with a checklist with tasks broken into smaller segments.
  • Highlight key parts of the task.
  • Before beginning a task, have students explain their understanding of expectations. They can do this with a buddy.
  • Give positive feedback to students who start promptly.
  • Check on student progress frequently.
  • Ensure that all materials and resources, including digital resources, are accessible.

Support thinking and pattern recognition

Support thinking and pattern recognition

Use tools and approaches to help students to recognise patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships.
  • Use visuals — graphics, photos, cartoons, pictures — to support text and talk when explaining anything.
  • Offer 3D virtual and physical models and real objects to help students identify critical features.
  • Use mind maps, flowcharts, and outlines to help students unpack big ideas and relationships.
  • Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas and concepts.
  • Provide extra time for students to think and process before they need to respond in a discussion.
  • Use mindmaps to brainstorm ideas.
  • Support group and class discussions with visual annotations to prompt later recall of key ideas.
  • Make thinking tools and approaches available across all curriculum areas.

Support concept development

Support concept development

Build new learning on solid foundations. Provide multiple opportunities to revisit a new idea or concept.
  • Check to ensure that students retain and can demonstrate previously-learned skills before beginning new learning.
  • Teach new skills using a variety of methods, materials and contexts and using concrete, practical and visual materials.
  • Reinforce abstract concepts with visual and concrete materials.
  • Make explicit connections between new knowledge and previous experience.
  • Make connections to high interest and practical everyday situations.
  • Offer multi-sensory explanations and demonstrations.
  • Provide extra time and opportunities for additional repetition and reinforcement – where applicable, involve a buddy, parents, or a support teacher.

Use graphic organisers

Use graphic organisers

Break tasks into smaller pieces and highlight patterns with graphic organisers. 

Find some Free graphic organiser templates | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Popplet

Popplet is a tool for the iPad and web to capture and organise ideas.

Publisher: Notion

Visit website

Website

Graphic organisers

Free graphic organiser templates in pdf format.

Visit website

Website

Classroomscreen

Classroomscreen is a simple online tool that can be displayed onscreen as students complete tasks. The free version includes 19 widgets.

Publisher: Classroomscreen

Visit website

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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