How to organise preschool work for children with autism

How to organise preschool work for children with autism

Children with autism benefit greatly from learning in a structured environment. Order and routine will be your best allies when teaching children with additional needs.

Most preschools have a set daily schedule and have well-organised equipment for children, particularly Montessori preschools. Other preschools are more free play orientated, having a more flexible routine and environment where the learning is more child-led.

Regardless of which approach you use in your classroom, consider revising how you organise work for your student with ASD, as adding some more structure.

These strategies will help your students engage with the work and complete their work independently.

  1. Reduce physical clutter and visual clutter. Consider putting toys away and rotating toys every few weeks. This reduction in physical clutter will allow children to see the toys available, plus they might be happy to see new toys every few weeks. Having too many toys can easily distract children, particularly children that might have difficulties remaining on task.
  2. Organise equipment in trays or boxes so the child has all the materials needed for the task in hand when he gets the tray/box. If possible, label with pictures the trays and containers to help the child learn the name of the task or toys included, i.e. threading, pegs, cars, pouring, scooping, puzzle, etc. If your student is using PECS, make sure the pictures or symbols you use to label the work are the same as the ones available on his/her PECS book.
  3. If your student has difficulties remaining focused on a task, consider simplifying the tasks. Remove some of the work so that the child can finish the job quickly and successfully. For example, pegboards are normally presented with a bowl with many pegs. Remove some of the pegs; you might leave just a small amount so the child can finish the task easily. This will give the child a sense of achievement. You can add more pegs week after week as the child makes progress with this task.
  4. Consider having a quieter table for children who find it difficult to concentrate when working near other children. Find a quiet corner in the classroom, separated from distractions, if possible. Make sure you have space for 2-3 children at that table, as this will allow the child to do work with another child or a small group. Avoid isolating the child with the teacher or classroom assistant. We want to give the child the opportunity to work in a quieter place, but in the company of some peers.
  5. Consider having a mini schedule for work time. Some children work well just picking up work from shelves. Some others might benefit from a mini schedule. This way, they know what work needs to be done and how much work they have to do. You can also consider a choice board, where you give some work choices, but the child chooses what task he/she wants to do next.

I hope these ideas for organising preschool work for children with ASD help you working with your students. 

Are any of these ideas new to you? 

Which one would you like to try with your child?

Let me know in the comments below.


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You Won’t Be Cold Anymore With Lámh Signs

Last year, I recorded one of Mr Tumble´s songs with Lámh sings. Many parents and teachers commented on how helpful that was, so I recorded an updated version of it so more teachers and parents can use it with their children.

Although the weather is cold, we must make sure children go out to play every day. A walk around the block or, if you are closer to nature like us, a walk by the sea or in the woods, will provide the best movement break for the kids.

The song I recorded for you it´s called “You Won´t Be Cold Anymore” by Mr. Tumble. It´s perfect for teaching children to dress appropriately for the cold weather. It also teaches signs for clothing items such as; coat, scarf, gloves and hat.

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You Wont Be Cold Anymore With Lámh Signs

How to support children with autism learning their peers’ names

Do you know that some children with autism struggle recognising people’s faces?

I was stunned years ago, at the start of my career, when I realised that one of my students didn’t know the names of his classmates. This boy, who had autism, enjoyed being with other children and often engaged in play and conversation, that is what made it even more confusing to be at the time.

My son Sebastian, who also has autism, struggles with that too. Of course, he remembers and knows well close relatives and close friends, but outside this circle, he finds it hard to remember people’s names and faces.

That is because some children with autism can find difficult recognising people’s faces. This deficiency can also be called facial blindness. It does not mean they can’t recognise people, but it can mean that it might take them longer to get to identify a new face.

While recognising faces and remembering people’s names might be an issue for some children with autism, there are ways to support them so they can get to know their classmates.

In today’s video, I talk about two activities you can do in the classroom to make sure your student learns his or her peers’ names, and get to know the other children in the class a bit better.

P.S. Forward this email to any colleagues that you think might benefit from this information.

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How to support children with autism learning their peers’ names

Lámh Sign For Walk

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

One thing that many families have incorporated in their daily routine during the pandemic is a little bit of exercise together as a family.

I hear many families talking about how much children love Joe Wicks, The Body Coach. He runs free online P.E. classes on YouTube for children, and many of my students are enjoying these sessions, which is great!

Another excellent exercise routine is just going for a daily walk. Keep it as part of the daily routine with your kids, and always make it happen at the same time of the day. With the long evenings, you can even schedule one right after dinner if that fits in better with your working from home routine.

No matter what type of exercise activities children do, what?s important is to make sure they stay fit and healthy.

The sign of the week starting next Monday the 22nd of June is WALK.

Sign Of The Week – WALK

Lámh Sign For Father

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

Father?s Day is coming up on Sunday the 21st of June, and today I am going to teach you the sign for FATHER.

People often ask me if they can use the L?mh sign for father and use other words such as dad, daddy, dada or papa instead. The answer to that is yes. Be consistent with young children, so if when you use the sign for father, you use the word ?daddy? try to stick to the same word as much as possible.

On father?s day, we not only celebrate our dads but also other relevant father figures such as grandfathers, uncles, cousins or big brothers. So next week in my social media, I will teach you all these signs for you to use. You can follow my Instagram account here.

The sign of the week starting next Monday the 15th of June is FATHER.

Sign Of The Week – FATHER