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  • Writer's pictureHannah's Hope

Tips for Teaching your Child to Read.

As we know, autism comes with a great deal of challenges, specifically when it comes to learning. Children with autism may find it difficult to hone in their skills of reading and writing. However, autism presents itself differently in each child, some may struggle with reading, while others, don't. Alicia Trautwein is an autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and mom of four; she is also the creator of The Mom Kind. She wrote an article for the site's blog titled "Teaching Your Child with Autism How to Read" to provide some helpful tips and insight on how to inspire your child's learning if they may be struggling with their reading skills due to their autism diagnosis. She says, "It's less about the child's ability to learn and more about how they learn," which is why it is important that you educate yourself on how they learn. It may be helpful to introduce creative learning strategies during each session, so they can not only work on developing their reading skills, but have fun as well. The first tip for doing this is be direct with your instructions. Children with autism tend to learn better when they are given clear and concise instructions, that way their lessons become explicit and nicely sequenced. When you communicate with them, you tell them exactly what they need to learn. This will also help create a routine that they can follow whenever you are holding a lesson with them, so they'll know what to do and how to do it each time you work together. Every time you sit down with them to start a lesson, recap what you learned the day before and then implement a new concept that you're going to be learning about and show them how to do it with direct instruction. To reinforce what you discussed, try to review by asking questions or asking them to repeat what they have learned. This will help you keep track of your child's progress and prepare the following lessons accordingly. The next thing to do is consider a reading program. Every child, autistic or not, can find learning to read to be a challenge, which is why it is essential to equip them with the best tools, so that they don't get overwhelmed or disinterested. Having a reading program can gently prompt them and cue them when they come to a bump in the road to overcome the challenge without feeling anxious or stressed. Your child(ren) may find their reading sessions to be more enjoyable if the reading material is engaging and entertaining, so find a reading program or set of books that is going to be interesting to them. The next tip is to be logical with your lessons. While it is important to make sure that your child understands the lesson and its instructions from the beginning, it is just as crucial to be logical with how you're instructing them. A child with autism will likely need you to break down the skill they are learning into baby steps from time to time. Once you have broken it down into smaller steps, you can present the lesson to them in a logical order. Be sure to help them through each step and ensure that each step moves up from the previous to progress their skills. The next thing to do is use multiple senses. Every child with autism learns slightly differently, so it is essential to get creative with your lessons and implement the use of more than one sense. Try to use sound, touch, and sight with things like role-playing or playing games. By doing this, they will likely be more engaged in the lesson and it will possibly help them remember new terms in a more manageable manner. If your child is a visual learner, they will likely prefer to see the things they are learning about, however, if they are an auditory learner, they will probably like to hear the instructions and then engage in discussion to get through the lesson. Whereas, practical learners prefer to engage in a more hands-on approach to learning by touching the objects they are learning about. If you can discover the type of learner your child is early on, you will be able to easily modify and prepare your lessons based on your child's preferred teaching approach, which will improve their overall learning experience. While children with autism tend to struggle with learning to read in a traditional setting, it is not impossible to teach them to read. You can effectively teach your child to read by finding the right tools to succeed along with their peers.

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