9 Things I’d Like Teachers To Know About My Autistic Child
Information is your best resource when it comes to helping Houston teachers understand autism. Autistic children are like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike. As your child’s advocate, your goal is to help those involved in the education process do their jobs more effectively by providing them with the knowledge they need. Consider 10 things you might want to tell the teacher about your autistic child.
1. There is More to My Child Than Autism
Don’t get so caught up in the autism label that you lose track of that fact. Yes, my child has special needs, but that is because he or she is a special person with a strong sense of curiosity. Use it to fuel a desire to learn instead of focusing only on the label.
2. My Child has Special Talents, Too
Autism is about communication and socialization, not intellect. A child with autism will have special talents and unique abilities like anyone. It is a teacher’s job to bring those skills to the surface and help them grow.
3. My Child is Like No Other
Just because you’ve taught special needs for years, doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all. Every child is unique, so develop a teaching plan that fits the way my child can learn.
4. My Autistic Child Doesn’t Need Pity
Pity does not have a place in a classroom. Learning is about finding solutions to problems. Autism is just one of many challenges my child will face in life.
5. Empathy is not the Same Thing as Pity
What my child does need are patience and empathy. Autism is an inner struggle that can lead to frustration and acting out. Show compassion and understand that the world looks different when you have autism. You’ll need to accept that to be effective as my child’s teacher.
6. Autism is not a Hassle
My child is not in your classroom is make things difficult, just to get the same quality education all children deserve. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder – not something that happened because I was a bad parent or spoiled my child, either.
7. My Child Needs Protection
Autism puts my child at great risk. Work with me to manage those risks and create a safe and stable environment that reduces wandering and improves learning opportunities. It’s my job to advocate for my autistic child. Let me help you understand what’s at stake and to create a safety plan that works for everyone.
8. My Child Needs Your Help Making Friends
It may seem like my child is not interested in making friends, but that is not the case. Autistic children lack the natural social skills necessary to promote relationships, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn them. Friends are important to everyone. Keep working with my child to show the power of social interactions and how to make friends.
9. Positive Reinforcement Works Better Than Punishment
Negativity creates stress and anxiety, so it will work against the learning process and eventually lead to meltdowns. Instead, provide positive reinforcement and rewards to teach my child. Work with me to create a system of positively in the classroom that complements the things we do as a family at home.
You know your child in a way no teacher ever will. Use that knowledge to help structure a learning strategy through communication with the school and your child’s teacher.