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When autistic children join the typical classroom setting, it is ideal that you make certain arrangements to make the autistic child comfortable in the traditional classroom. You should be aware that many items which are considered stimulating to typical children may be considered a distraction to an autistic child.
Here are some tips to help you create an ideal learning environment for autistic students:
1. Simple is always better
We all know that some autistic children can easily get overloaded when there are a lot of sensory stimulants present in the environment. To avoid this, it would be best to keep your classroom as simple as possible. Try to do away with colorful posters which surround the classroom walls as well as the various school materials and toys which are not needed as of yet. The simpler, the better. A busy classroom with lots of sensory stimulants will only make your autistic student feel stressed.
2. Reduce distractions
Some autistic children are easily distracted by anything that catches their fancy. To avoid this, it would be best that you cover all windows so that the child will not get distracted every time someone passes by the classroom. If it is possible to block out the sounds coming from outside the classroom, it would be a good idea to do that too. Blocking out all the outside distractions will encourage the child to focus on what is going on in the classroom.
3. Safe-proof your classroom
Compared to typical children, autistic children have a greater tendency to have temper tantrums or seizures. With this in mind, it is a good idea to safe-proof the classroom. Pay special attention to objects which could potentially be dangerous to a child having a tantrum or seizure. Keep the room spacious and free of any sharp edges. It would be a good idea to use rubber mats on the floor and to cover any sharp edges with cushions or rubber.
4. Create learning centers
It is also a good idea to create learning centers that would focus on certain subjects such as reading and math. Having these centers will allow the child to learn in a more comfortable and stress-free environment.
5. Create a visual schedule
Autistic children are more relaxed and comfortable when they can anticipate what will happen next. They do not like the uncertainty of not knowing what they will do next. To avoid this, it is a good idea to create a visual schedule of the activities that are scheduled for the day. This way, they will know exactly what will happen and how long the activity will be.