The Benefits of Visual and Verbal Learning
According to a fact sheet developed by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at SUNY-Albany,
“Students with autism or PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) learn better and are less confused when information is presented visually as well as verbally. Interaction with non-disabled peers is also important, for these students provide models of appropriate language, social, and behavior skills. To overcome frequent problems in generalizing skills learned at school, it is very important to develop programs with parents, so that learning activities, experiences, and approaches can be carried over into the home and community."
Although this sounds easy enough to implement, there are factors working against the teachers who are trying to implement them. The English language is primarily a verbal language, yet information should be presented both visually and verbally. When a child diagnosed with autism is lagging behind peers in language and conversational skills, it becomes extremely difficult for them to interact with other students and for those students to interact with them. To combat this, teachers often use assistive devices and tools in school--but the price and training required with these tools make it difficult and expensive to have crucial carry-over in the home.
So with these inhibitors to teaching success, how can teachers of autistic students teach them better communication?