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What strategies do we use?

Communication and Interaction (Autistic Spectrum Disorders)

Difficulty

Strategy

Understands language literally. Will not understand sarcasm.

Avoid  (explain if really necessary) metaphorical language and idiom like ‘pull your socks up’, ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, ‘in a minute’  Repeat instructions in same words rather than different ones.

Struggles with changes in routine.

Explain any changes of routine to the pupil in advance and go through them very thoroughly if needed.

Unable to successfully work in a group and cooperate with peers. This can appear as always wanting/needing things to go their own way.

When group work is problematic pupils are allowed to work alone rather than in a group. If in a group, clear roles are given within the group. For example, person to scribe, give ideas, put ideas into sentences.

Limited theory of mind, unable to very easily see life from another person’s perspective.

Avoid tasks which depend on empathy (e.g. in literature, history, geography, PSHE and citizenship). If unavoidable careful explanation and scaffolding is given to promote understanding.

Needing structure/rules and to know exactly what is expected in as literal terms as possible.

Set explicit and clear expectations e.g. how many lines to write, how many questions to answer, how long to listen (use timer)

Poor acquisition of social skills, limited ability to intuitively learn social norms, expectations and behaviour

Model behaviours. At times expect to explicitly teach pupil social skills e.g. what to say/do when praised, how to ask for help. Always tell the pupil what to do rather than what not to do.

 Not understand how social interactions work. Be unaware of unwritten social rules. Seem to behave in an odd manner as it is difficult to express emotions appropriately. Can leads to difficulty within peer group.

Be patient and intervene when necessary with peers. If differences are causing pronounced problems consider, with pupils consent, an Asperger/Autism awareness assembly. (Advisory Teachings Service have some great resources).

Difficulty understanding social communication. Struggle read body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.

Make sure all communication is explicit and do not rely on body language/facial expression to communicate anything.

Difficulty with social imagination.  This means it can be a struggle to understand and interpret other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions; predict what will or could happen next.

Be aware and ready to intervene with peers, when situations are misinterpreted.

Difficulties understanding and recognising danger.

Prepare activities carefully and ensure pupil is aware of/drilled about  dangers beforehand.

Avoid eye contact as it feels very uncomfortable and threatening.

Do not insist on it.

Can become very anxious and stressed relatively easily.

If pupil becomes anxious allow him/her to remove self to an agreed calm-down area

May not understand general instructions are directed also at them.

Use pupil’s name before asking a question or giving an instruction

 

Can be very strong visual learners

Support oral presentations /explanations with charts, diagrams, pictures, real objects or mime

 

Difficulties seeing the bigger picture/task, more comfortable looking at details

Set tasks with clear goals and write worksheets in step-by-step form. Use short simple instructions. Give one at a time and check for understanding. Write instructions down as a list for pupil to tick off when completed.  Support writing with writing frames, templates (e.g. writing up a science experiment), mind maps, gapped handouts

May want to join in with class discussions but lack confidence or be unsure of appropriate responses

Involve the pupil by asking direct, concrete questions at their level of understanding

 

Obsessive behaviour traits, which pupils find very difficult to regulate

If at all possible allow a student to ‘relieve’ the cause of the obsessive thought if it relates to something concrete, for example having to go and retrieve a bag.

Hypo or hyper sensitive – this means either under or over effected by sensory stimuli in the environment. For example, inability to stand loud noises, strong smells or inability to recognise body sensations hunger or thirst.

Be aware of any issues. Then ensure the environment is adapted to support students who have specific sensory issues, for example avoid strong perfume, busy classroom displays.



Moderate Learning Difficulties - MLD

Difficulty


Strategy

Students are working at word level rather than reading and understanding sentences.


Sentences are kept shorter and key words are underlined. Text Help is available.

Problems acquiring basic skills in numeracy, literacy with a result in a lack of confidence to use the skills they have.Build on the students current knowledge and understanding.
Try to discover any particular interest they have. Ensure learning objectives are realistic so that success is achievable.
Focusing on giving students tasks to do, not just writing e.g handling money or reading timetables.

Poor long or short term memory and remembering what has been taught.


Give clear instructions in the beginning and subsequent questioning to make sure the student remembers what is expected of them. A visual coloured timeline is useful to help students know where they should be.
Tasks should be broken down as much as possible. Low level offences are dealt with in a sensitive manner. Remind students of routines, but understand they may regularly have memory lapses .i.e. forgetting pens/planners.

Lack of confidence in own ability and the fear of failure.

Praise and affirmation are key to promoting improvement in the student’s self-belief and motivation. Pairing students for writing activities can be much less intimidating- this makes weak writers feel less exposed.

Students generating concept that education is not valuable.

Be a good role model. Listen to the students in a non-judgmental manner. Use positive language. Whenever possible use activities that have the students interests in mind to show how skills are transferable to real life.
Working independently can cause students to panic and have a sudden mental block.Give students varied guidelines on how they can plan their work. Make them aware that small note making or brainstorming is as valuable as a standard worded answer. Everyone has a preferred style, sometimes drawing or using colours can help make the process clearer and more interesting.

Too much focus on negativity.

Offer students more discreet support when possible. Often they may feel singled out for not working at the same pace of the class. Make communication reassuring, sitting students near the front of the class can aid this.

Students can be easily distracted.

Peer mentoring can be very beneficial. Pairing the students with a buddy who can provide a good model of work and behaviour.


Specific Learning Difficulties - Dyslexia

Difficulty

Strategy

Reading lots of instructions on a board or work sheet

Provide instructions in different format eg bullet points, diagram, on a sheet / board and leave for student to refer to.

Not enough time to copy down work from the board or dictated notes,

Give more time to copy down or give set of instructions to student to refer to.

Poor classroom layout with poor furniture and displays

Use less displays to make the classroom less visually busy. Restrict detail on posters. Use diagrams, pictures and less words.

Students need a calm and ordered working environment; students often benefit from sitting at the front on the class near a “buddy” who can help them.

Do not dictate notes, provide the information for them in a suitable format.

Have clearly labelled and arranged resources that are easily found. 

Poor handwriting

Encourage use of a computer, alphasmart or different ways to present work eg use of a worksheet for student to add information, annotate, mind map.

Use exercise books with coloured paper.

Difficulties in copying work down

Provide information required in a suitable format that is easily seen with no time pressures.

Speed of reading

Read it to the student, provide a buddy to read with them, use Texthelp on computer.

Gives up trying / lacks confidence

Don’t shout, smile, be friendly, use praise and encouragement, ensure the student knows they are expected to take longer and/or do less, ensure they know that this is acceptable, set achievable goals. One to one time with teacher/ TA.

Mark for content rather than presentation.

Poor reading skills and understanding of text

Ensure student has access to a structured, sequential and regular phonic based reading scheme, like Toe by Toe and Lexia. Check understanding when reading with student; provide smaller pieces of text to be read. Listen to the student read.

Use appropriate coloured overlays and or dyslexia friendly texts/books.

Poor memory - not being organised, being forgetful with bringing in equipment/homework, remembering what to do when asked.

Encourage use of planners, checklists, visual reminders in class for equipment, establish routines,  with homework, deadlines.

Give the work out in small chunks, rather than a long list of “to do’s”.

Have tasks to be completed written down somewhere in the classroom for easy reference. Repeat instructions patiently and calmly.

Allow time for student to process the question or task (eg allow paired discussion before requiring an answer).

Don’t expect them to be able to do more than one task at a time.

Find out and encourage the student to know and use their preferred learning style for learning/revision (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic).

Reluctance to receive help

Ensure student is part of a small group that receives support, in class or out of class and not seen to be the only one who needs support. 

Be subtle in giving support, ie treat all students in the same way, moving around the group, write spellings in the margin of their work.

Differentiate the work / provide appropriate resources so that they need less support and work more independently.

Writing and spelling difficulties

Scaffold writing - use a worksheet / writing frame with gaps to fill in, a diagram/map/mind map to complete/label; provide key words with meanings; give the work to be done in small chunks, checking as they go along to encourage them. Provide key words to be used (check their understanding of them).

Use alternative ways to present work eg computers, mind maps, diagrams.

Provide literacy interventions to give extra support.

Distractions from other students

Use a seating plan that allow student to sit close to the front and away from obvious “distractors”; ensure student is engaged in appropriate work.

Ensure student is listening and focussed before giving out an instruction/ task.


English As An Additional Language (EAL)

English Difficulty

Strategy

Students don’t understand instruction.

Try to carry out some basic research into the culture and personal backgrounds of the EAL pupils in classes in order to build better relationships. Ensure that these pupils are comfortable in the classroom. Have them seated in front of you so that they can easily access pictures and texts and where it is easier for you to make regular eye contact with them.

Problems in communicating result in a lack of confidence to use the skills they have.

Build on the students current knowledge and understanding. Many E.A.L students have been exposed to more than one language. Try to discover any particular interest they have. Ensure learning objectives are realistic so that success is achievable.

Focusing on giving students tasks to do, not just writing e.g handling money or reading timetables.

Students lack basic literacy skills.

Provide key words for students. Visual cues alongside text such as photos, videos and artefacts will all help student’s comprehension. Wherever possible use pictures, and for most E.A.L students it can be helpful to use google translate for some terminology.

Point out the classroom displays to highlight the literacy focus.

 

Writing is disjointed.

Providing writing frames is useful for new starters. Sentence starters are also beneficial.

Encourage students to learn from their mistakes. Reading work aloud often helps students to correct errors.

Using highlighters may help pupils to track their ideas.

ICT and white boards provide opportunities for students to practice, erase and change their work quickly.

 

Students may be reluctant to communicate with peers or teachers.

Whenever possible pair E.A.L students with a reliable pupil who can act as translator.

Always give time for answers and focus on the students meaning rather than the words.

Use gestures or mine. Try to ask the student direct questions at a suitable level of understanding.

Students appear less sociable.

 Students need time to learn the social practices of the classroom and the school which are culturally embedded. These are likely to be far less consistent with their home background than for the majority of children. It can take up to two years to develop basic communication skills (street and survival

Language). Bullying is never overlooked.



Autism/Asperger's/PDD

Difficulty

Strategy

Understands language literally. Will not understand sarcasm.

Avoid  (explain if really necessary) metaphorical language and idiom like ‘pull your socks up’, ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, ‘in a minute’  Repeat instructions in same words rather than different ones.

Struggles with changes in routine.

Explain any changes of routine to the pupil in advance and go through them very thoroughly if needed.

Unable to successfully work in a group and cooperate with peers. This can appear as always wanting/needing things to go their own way.

When group work is problematic pupils are allowed to work alone rather than in a group. If in a group, clear roles are given within the group. For example, person to scribe, give ideas, put ideas into sentences.

Limited theory of mind, unable to very easily see life from another person’s perspective.

Avoid tasks which depend on empathy (e.g. in literature, history, geography, PSHE and citizenship). If unavoidable careful explanation and scaffolding is given to promote understanding.

Needing structure/rules and to know exactly what is expected in as literal terms as possible.

Set explicit and clear expectations e.g. how many lines to write, how many questions to answer, how long to listen (use timer)

Poor acquisition of social skills, limited ability to intuitively learn social norms, expectations and behaviour

Model behaviours. At times expect to explicitly teach pupil social skills e.g. what to say/do when praised, how to ask for help. Always tell the pupil what to do rather than what not to do.

 Not understand how social interactions work. Be unaware of unwritten social rules. Seem to behave in an odd manner as it is difficult to express emotions appropriately. Can leads to difficulty within peer group.

Be patient and intervene when necessary with peers. If differences are causing pronounced problems consider, with pupils consent, an Asperger/Autism awareness assembly. (Advisory Teachings Service have some great resources).

Difficulty understanding social communication. Struggle read body language, facial expressions and tone of voice.

Make sure all communication is explicit and do not rely on body language/facial expression to communicate anything.

Difficulty with social imagination.  This means it can be a struggle to understand and interpret other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions; predict what will or could happen next.

Be aware and ready to intervene with peers, when situations are misinterpreted.

Difficulties understanding and recognising danger.

Prepare activities carefully and ensure pupil is aware of/drilled about  dangers beforehand.

Avoid eye contact as it feels very uncomfortable and threatening.

Do not insist on it.

Can become very anxious and stressed relatively easily.

If pupil becomes anxious allow him/her to remove self to an agreed calm-down area

May not understand general instructions are directed also at them.

Use pupil’s name before asking a question or giving an instruction

 

Can be very strong visual learners

Support oral presentations /explanations with charts, diagrams, pictures, real objects or mime

 

Difficulties seeing the bigger picture/task, more comfortable looking at details

Set tasks with clear goals and write worksheets in step-by-step form. Use short simple instructions. Give one at a time and check for understanding. Write instructions down as a list for pupil to tick off when completed.  Support writing with writing frames, templates (e.g. writing up a science experiment), mind maps, gapped handouts

May want to join in with class discussions but lack confidence or be unsure of appropriate responses

Involve the pupil by asking direct, concrete questions at their level of understanding

 

Obsessive behaviour traits, which pupils find very difficult to regulate

If at all possible allow a student to ‘relieve’ the cause of the obsessive thought if it relates to something concrete, for example having to go and retrieve a bag.

Hypo or hyper sensitive – this means either under or over effected by sensory stimuli in the environment. For example, inability to stand loud noises, strong smells or inability to recognise body sensations hunger or thirst.

Be aware of any issues. Then ensure the environment is adapted to support students who have specific sensory issues, for example avoid strong perfume, busy classroom displays.



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