Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

While the country is still struggling to acknowledge Autism as a disability, I spent three years of my career dealing with two mild autistic siblings (a brother and sister) children in my class. They were physically quite good except for some problems with their handgrips and a bit delayed cognition level. I learned a great deal about teaching techniques that come to play in being successful with these children. I will discuss some ideas that help to deal with such kinds of loving children.  Sometimes the world becomes a confusing and anxious place for autistic kids when they are not understood and not taken care of. As teachers, we need to love and care for them and see things from their perspective to help them. Autism is a developmental disability that affects an individual’s social interactions, behaviour, and overall ability to interact with their environment. If these children have difficulties interacting with others the others should not have difficulty in interacting with them.  We need to establish routines for them so that they get used to some positive activities regularly. They are autistic today but I am pretty sure they will be genius tomorrow. If we create a visual timetable for them then it proves to be more effective for them in the classroom.

Sometimes teaching them may seem daunting but one should be persistent in her effort.  No matter whether we are a teacher or a parent we should keep in our mind that kids with autism are unique. What defines one child may not define another. Some are non-verbal, often some have an unbelievable talent for demonstrating things. Some may be excellent with memorization but struggle with reading and sounding.  Like other class fellows, they have their strengths and weaknesses.  I personally always set my mind whenever I taught them in a class and always put one statement for these two learners in front of my seniors that “why I always try to make them fit in when they are born to stand out?”  Autism is not a syndrome it’s a feature. We just need to see the world from a different angle, from their angle.  Sometimes, we are not able to understand our sensory issues, if the sound is loud we turn it down. If we feel warm, we remove our sweaters. So, imagine an autistic child is just like neurotypical people. Their senses tend to provide them with unreliable information.  Teachers should be vigilant before welcoming an autistic child into the classroom.

 Let me share with you one of the most beautiful sayings of my learner. I remember that was the Teachers Day when my learners wrote a few lines to me and then handover them to me.

          “Dear Teacher, we know we are suffering from Autism. We accept it. We know that we are not able to speak even can’t recall our names back but it’s God gifted, when we hear your voice, your words, and feel the kindness you have for us.”

That was the day when they taught me that love has no language.  We all must realize that they are different but not less.  Usually, such kids face difficulty in understanding verbal instructions. When I face this problem with them I start to give them directional writing with my finger on their hands.  Try to give them directions separately writing instructions are a very easy step for them to their verbal directions.

I truly love them a lot and most of the time when my senior colleagues raised a question regarding them in front of me like why I always ready to help them, give them extra time for their work, play. I love to spend my free time with them. I always answer them that, you know what: “Rome was not built in one day.  It is the same, I need to take time to make them as responsible as they can build their own Eiffel Tower of their life

  Let me make my next point I must say please keep in these words before facing any autistic children in your life that Stop yelling at them. They are flowers, they are very sensitive human beings.  Teachers must groom themselves before taking the challenge of dealing with such children.  Teachers must learn to praise and develop positivity in them. They need our love and they are born to be loved. The two siblings have a good command of computers and a brilliant passion for music and art. They should have their own open choices rather than someone else asking them what to do. Keep talking to them with open-ended questions, like;

“What do you do in your free time?”

“What’s your favorite color?” 

“Would you like to play with toys?”

 Socialization is very good for them, they love to mingle with other children, play with them and take part in activities and plays. They are funny, loving and surely will catch your heart when you gain their confidence. In all my teaching career like other careers, I feel like life is a journey and we all have to learn how to ride the storm for some of us it can seem more like a tidal wave but I believe that with every storm the sun eventually comes back out. We should be kind, be loving and be patient with them.  Our society calls them Autistic but we must be sure that they are perfect in ALLAH’s Almighty eye.   They give us a beautiful rainbow of hope when they stand out. I just want to wind up with one saying: “Be their Friend”

0ur job as teachers is to teach the students we have, not the ones we would wish to have. Those we have right now all of them. Do we need to ask ourselves how much we know about Autism? Have you ever dealt with children with autism in your classroom? I must say that children having this syndrome don’t suffer from Autism they suffer from the way we treat them. Every child in your classroom is someone’s whole world. Autism presents many challenges to a child’s daily life. When we teach an autistic child several different approaches can be employed.  We must keep one thing in our mind that every Autistic child has a different need. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you work with a different child.

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