As a therapist, consultant and speaker I’ve train lots of support staff. Here are some key concepts that they have benefitted from understanding about those students with ASD.
- These students generally understand what they SEE better than what they HEAR
They tend to be VISUAL learners. Try to SHOW them more than you TELL them. That’s the beginning of being a really good communication partner.
- Just because a student is verbal. . .it doesn’t mean he understands
It is very common for people to think that verbal students understand more than non-verbal students. That simply is not true. Sometimes the students with the most challenge are those with “high functioning autism” or Asperger’s. They can experience significant difficulty understanding the meaning of language and the social actions of others. Then they encounter problems because their communication partners don’t realize what they don’t understand.
- He DOESN’T understand everything you say
Even though it can seem like it, he doesn’t. There are many reasons students do what we want. They learn routines, they watch what others are doing and they pay attention to the visual cues in the environment. Assuming students understand everything increases your frustration and cancels a lot of important teaching opportunities.