Supporting the individual with autism
Empowerment allows children and young people with autism to form and voice their views and opinions about the decisions that affect them.
Within Northern Ireland, the prevalence rate for those with autism has been found to be 2·3% in 2015/16, Publication of ‘The Prevalence of Autism (including Aspergers Syndrome) in School Age Children in Northern Ireland 2016’ Date published: 16 June 2016.
Many see true empowerment in education coming from the attainment, effective use and development of knowledge rather than the simple transmission of information.
Children and young people with autism can experience challenges with focusing, paying attention, transitioning, organisation and planning, working memory, time management, emotional regulation, and control Using these higher-level skills is required when undertaking everyday daily tasks, for example, when working with others, planning daily routines and in moving from one place or activity to another.
Individuals with autism may have difficulty seeing the ‘bigger picture’.
Some children and young people with autism may find it difficult to see things from other people’s point of view.
Children and young people with autism may find it challenging to interpret and understand their environment and others within their environment.
To help children and young people learn it is important to adapt the environment.
A key aspect of the diagnosis of autism is the presence of restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour.
A common characteristic amongst children and young people with autism is the difficulty in understanding abstract concepts.
Observe Choose a time of day you find challenging for the child you are working with who has autism Create an observation sheet and make notes about what the child is doing, how they respond to others in the environment, what they seem to like or dislike etc.
It is important to avoid giving child or young person with autism complex verbal directions, information and discussion.
As outlined by Stephen Shore (2006), whenever possible, it is important to teach self-advocacy and negotiation skills to children and young people with autism.
Empathy Empathy is a socially relevant skill for all of us but must be taught specifically to children and young people with autism because it enhances their ability to engage in other critical prosocial behaviours and activities.