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What are the most important teaching tools for autism?

Developmental disabilities among people with autism are among the main challenges these persons experience, and they include impaired reciprocal social interaction, slowed communication, and restricted behavior. There are also cognitive abnormalities, including poor organizational ability, being easily distracted, and a strong focus on details. Social difficulties associated with autism are impaired play, indifference to others, inability to seek for comfort when stressed, and preference for isolation in the presence of other people. Children with autism respond more to environment than people, and therefore their surroundings must be made friendlier. One of the most important forms of intervention for children with autism is non-verbal intervention. Some children with autism do not acquire functional speech. It is therefore important to examine and assess how a child non-verbally expresses his or her needs. An augmentative and receptive communication system can help children with autism develop their speech and mobility by using specialized tools. Pictographs or line drawings are some of the most helpful aid-tools for children with autism. There are a range of these, and they include Compic and Boardmaker. Boardmaker helps with creating schedules, creating practice lessons, and using talking books and other visual-aid materials, which help the child in communicating and showing his or her feelings. Pictographs and line drawings help the child communicate and they come in a range of objects, actions and feelings. For instance, a child can learn to point at a picture or show a certain object to indicate their needs. These can be organized and put into a wallet or book, which the child carries along. A child can pass along his or her message to others and get her needs met. Photographs of objects, people, and activities are also used where a child has a problem mastering the use of symbols. For instance, PictureSet offers downloadable visual support that is used for receptive and expressive communication at home, in the classroom, or in the community. A child learns how to match a real object with a photograph. A photo vocabulary can then be developed to help the child have as many objects as possible that can be used in expressing her needs and feelings. For example, in a playroom there may be a series of photos that describe the day’s activities that is pinned somewhere on the wall. When an activity is through, the child removes the particular photograph. This is to show that that activity has ended. Choice boards can also be used as a form of pictorial communication. Children with autism can use these choice displays to reduce their situational behavior or problems. The choice display gives the child visual possibilities where she or he can see these possibilities, think about them, and make a decision. In addition, schedules can be presented in pictorial form through use of cards. The cards may be fastened with a leaf ring and they show the day’s activities, and events. For example, in a school day, the card sequential events may include a home, reading in class, a recess, maths in classroom, and lunch in the school cafeteria. Such schedules help in guiding location. A child is able to know what will occur and where. Helping the child understand what will occur throughout the day can help reduce anxiety caused by a change in routine.