Monday, November 28, 2011

Teaching Autistic Children - Schedules, Symbols, and Cards You Can Make to Help Your Child Learn

Increasing an autistic child's comprehension of activities and daily tasks that need to be performed daily or even occasionally is one of the most essential needs to build skills such as organization, self help tasks, how to follow directions, and build correct social behavior. As a result this method of autistic teaching of skills helps the child become more independent and increases his or her self confidence. Many of the strategies are simple and straightforward. Here are a few "low tech" support strategies you can use to help your child comprehend and build such skills.


It is very helpful to provide your child with a daily, visual schedule. This will help organization skills and develop independence and confidence. A schedule can be made with a 3-ring binder type layout, a clipboard, a whiteboard, or even a poster board that you create together. It should detail what is happening and when and what is next in the schedule. Pictures and words combined make the best schedule so that your child can learn to correlate the words and images to form a connection between the whole word and the picture of the activity.

Picture Communication Symbols

Picture Communication Symbols consist of over 10,000 simple line drawings designed to represent words and short phrases to support children and adults with communication challenges. PCS, which was developed by Mayer-Johnson and is available on their website, is used to improve comprehension skills and encouraged appropriate behavior in autistic teaching of children. You can find them for sale on their site but you can also find some free printable versions on the internet too. If you print out the symbols be sure to use a color printer or color them yourself and laminate for durability.

International "No" Symbol

The international "No" symbol is the red circle with a line drawn through it. It is a very abstract concept of "no" for an autistic child. You can use the "No" symbol to convey several visual behavior management cards. For example, you can use the symbol as a card to place on a door that the child should not go out of. You can also place it over an activity on the child's schedule to convey that the activity is not occurring that day or you can keep a "No" symbol card handy to display to your child whenever he or she begins to behave or act inappropriately.

Steps Directions

Certain tasks require a number of steps to be completed. For example, washing hands, getting ready for bed, getting ready for school, cleaning up after play, and brushing teeth. Using the task of "washing hands" as an example you can create a card that has images and words for:

Turn water on

Put soap in hand

Rub soap all over hands

Rinse hands

Turn off water

Dry hands

Make images with text for each of these and paste these on a card. Laminate it for durability.

There are many simple yet effective strategies you can use to help your child develop comprehension skills and improve behavior.

Learn to help your autistic child embrace the world with his or her own special abilities and challenges. For more information, resources, and ideas for teaching autistic children visit []

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