Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)

Pupils with ASD are characterised by the following:

  • Difficulty in social understanding and interaction
  • Weak understanding of verbal/ non-verbal information
  • Weak comprehension skills
  • Difficulties with flexibility of thought and behaviour
  • Difficulty with emotional regulation and anxiety
  • Sensory issues

Teaching and learning strategies typically used by schools for pupils with ASD may include:

  • Ensure you always use the pupil’s name first to obtain their attention
  • Get the pupil’s attention first, then encourage pupils to listen and concentrate when instructions are being given out
  • Use language that is clear, precise and concrete
  • Use visual cues (symbols / pictures) to support understanding of activity
  • Offer differentiated tasks with clear achievable goals
  • Provide subject specific key words and ensure pupil understands these
  • Give clear instructions in both verbal and written form
  • Explain tasks in small manageable chunks
  • Identify and use the pupil’s strengths and special interests when planning activities
  • Repeat and reinforce instructions and information regularly
  • Ensure actual comprehension has been achieved – may be masked by learned phrases / echolalia
  • Help organise thoughts / answers by – use writing frames / cues
  • Be aware of limited understanding of the emotions of others
  • Offer alternative methods of recording work, i.e. spider diagrams / mind maps / ICT / oral / tape
  • Maintain consistency around rules and expectations
  • Establish distraction free work areas for pupil
  • Be aware of sensory and motor coordination difficulties
  • Plan carefully pupil’s involvement in any group / paired work – pupil could work independently but contribute to the group

Relevant links

Support services for Autism (ASD)