Learning can take place once a child is calm and alert.

When a child is learning. he’s taking in information, remembering it, connecting it with other things he knows and then making use of it in everyday life. Learning can take place when watching others, when being taught directly and when trying things out on your own. He’s using all of his executive functions. Those are the brain functions that help him translate knowing into doing. Executive functions include:

planning and organizing
impulse control
working memory
self-monitoring
cognitive flexibility

All of these things are necessary for taking you from having an idea to carrying it out.  Have a look at this great e-book from the National Center for Learning Disabilities on executive functions: executive-function-101-ebook

learningAs shown in the photo, learning doesn’t happen without support and guidance from an adult (notice the subtle guidance provided by the adult). Ideally, the adult provides opportunities for learning which are organized in ways so the children can play a central role in deciding what’s done and how. This way you promote their active involvement and help them plan and manage their own learning.

Children with autism experience many challenges in learning. They tend to learn more readily from visual information and when tasks and experiences are well-organized for them. Their ability to learn from information they hear (which is the way most knowledge is transmitted in classrooms) is usually compromised.

How spark* helps children learn

 

Examples of skills taught in spark* to help the children learn more effectively and efficiently include how to:

  • Take in clear and complete ideas from information they hear
  • Check their own understanding of things they hear and see
  • Use appropriate ways for clearing up misunderstandings
  • Check the quality of their own work and make changes when needed
  • Explain their thinking and reasoning more clearly

These skills help children with autism learn to the best of their abilities. Their listening skills are improved as are their critical thinking skills. These are solidified by helping the child understand and explain her thinking and reasoning.

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