“See the Able, Not the Label” – Advice from a Special Education Teacher
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders that begin early in childhood and last throughout a person’s life. These disorders are grouped together because of how they similarly interfere with a person’s ability to communicate, socialize, behave and develop.
My journey with Early Intervention Programme (EIP) students began in January 2019. It has always been my passion to teach younger children.
I noticed some of my students have speech delay, difficulties in socialising and delay in development. Due to all these difficulties, they are unable to express themselves appropriately. They tend to exhibit their emotions by crying, throwing tantrums or hitting others.
Just because they are unable to express their emotions, it does not mean that they are not listening, thinking, feeling or understanding it.
So, I try to understand them better by using communication tools such as pictures, visual schedule, social cue cards and positive reinforcement. We believe we can help them to communicate their intentions appropriately, gradually.
In EIP, we teach fine and gross motor activities, language, simple mathematics, basic concepts, self-help skills and cooking. We encourage learning through PLAY.
I love this quote “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”.
My humble advice to educators and volunteers is to know that you are not alone in this journey, there is a support system available to you, always. Take all the help offered and be bold enough to ask for more.
Students with autism learn differently. It is challenging at times, but believe me, this different approach to teaching makes a difference. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
It shouldn’t matter how slow some children learn. We should always encourage them to keep trying. I know I will never stop helping and encouraging them to achieve their potential.