Category Archives: Special need children

Art as a teaching tool for Children with Autism

art

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that manifests in children by the age of three. The incidence of Autism is on the rise. But the exact cause of it is not known. Experts believe that it occurs due to neurological impairment that has an effect on normal brain function and cause significant social, communication, and behavioural challenges. Autistic children process information in their brain differently than other people. Hence teaching to these children needs different strategies.

Autistic children are usually visual learners. They understand pictures better than verbal instructions. So, it is advisable to educators to avoid giving long strings of verbal instructions while teaching a child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) child. The use of art as a teaching tool can be a great and effective way in developing the learning process of an ASD child.

Many children with autism are good at drawing. These talent areas should be encouraged by parents, educators and therapist. Art gives them a degree of control over their learning. An ASD child when shown a picture and taught prepositions (in, on, under, in front of etc.), may become bored. However, if the same child is asked to draw “A rat sits on a mat” or “The ball is under a table”, he finds it more interesting and achieves much more control over his learning experience.

Although many autistic children are good in numbers, they usually find difficulties in solving story sums or word problems. They face issues in understanding the language of the problem. So for better results, break down the whole sums into parts and help the child “translate” the language into pictures. Drawing a picture of the problem facilitate them to understand “What the problem is actually asking?” This can be a one of the effective ways of teaching story sums to an ASD child.

Many autistic children have problems with their fine motor skills. Art activities like colouring with crayon over pictures can bring an improvement. Educator can ask a child to “colour big ball or colour small balloon” while teaching the basic functional concepts. In this way, not only he can help a child to learn concepts but also hone his motor skills.

Children with ASD struggle with focus and attention, and that affects their learning process. So, incorporating close-ended activities like art and drawing assignment which requires more focus and concentration in teaching methods would be a better idea for their effective learning.

An autistic child, who is non-verbal and cannot communicate gets angry and frustrated when unable to open up his feelings and choice. Art can be used as a medium to express his emotions, interest or choice. Communicating a simple choice of “No” and “Yes” can be encouraged by drawing “X” or “\/” .More the child is able to express his thoughts, better the teacher understands him. It is of enormous benefit when it comes to teaching an ASD child.

Teaching through creative methods has no second to providing an highly interesting and unparalleled level of communication and engagement with autistic children. Educators, therapist and parents should also encourage the talents of ASD children which often goes unnoticed and not utilized properly. ASD children are not unskilled but there is a need to guide and help a child in recognizing and highlighting his talent so that it can be converted into skills. Art as a teaching tool undoubtedly helps struggling learners and allow them to experience happy learning.

Note: The above post written by me earlier in “The progressive teacher ” magazine @ Jan,2017

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Happy mothers day to all Moms with Special Need Child!!!

Motherhood is not only a beautiful and rewarding journey but also a tough one. Mother is the one who shapes an individual with care and love. Mother is the one who makes all sacrifices to bring happiness into a child’s life. She is the one who always stands besides her child like a shadow. There is no great warrior than a mother protecting her child. She is the one who teaches the child how to live life and make wise decision even in the toughest situation. Every mother deserves our thanks and appreciation.

 

But on this mother’s day, I especially want to appreciate all mothers who has special need children. For them, every day is a battle. Whether it is to assist their child in performing daily chores or help in learning new skill, she comes across lot of challenges and difficulties day in and day out. But their never give up attitude helps her to win all these battles. When the whole world including the child’s father lose faith on the child’s ability then her determination, patience and splendid perseverance takes the child to next level of learning. She ignores the words of others and focus on the betterment of her child’s future. Everyday they see other children doing more. But their understanding nature makes no big expectations from the child. They are more than happy if their child learn the word “ Maa” or if their child learns to wave  goodbye or if the child learns to eat with spoon or if a child starts identify “ A” after a long wait or if their child starts expressing their basic needs or perform any other age appropriate activity. Most of the moms with a special need child engage in constant battle with school, neighbourhood, insurance company etc which is really exhausting and tiring but still they don’t lose hope and work hard to make sure that their children get what they deserve.

 

Let’s all take a moment to admire these mothers. Our small initiative can make the world a better place. I agree, it is difficult to understand what it is like to walk in their shoes but still our positive and caring behaviour towards these children can bring some relief to all these stressed out moms and bring happiness to the little ones. You don’t have to be a birth mother to show your unconditional love for them. Yes, a mother’s love comes can come in any way, shape or form and it is beautifully shown in the latest NIVEA ad which is a tribute to everyone who is #just like MAA.

 

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