Fostering Friendships for an Autistic Child in the Regular Ed. Classroom
An important aspect of the educational experience for a child with autism is the social interactions he or she will have with other students. Creating, maintaining, and reinforcing relationships with other students is important for an autistic child. Interacting with general education students in the classroom can help increase an autistic individual’s ability to function in society.
Here are a few techniques that educators can use to help foster relationships in the classroom:
1) Find students who have similar interests as the autistic student and arrange the seating order so that they are near one another. If each student has a similar interest, it may promote interaction.
2) Identify students who are more receptive to the autistic child and encourage the receptive student to offer assistance. Examples could include in-class assignment help, tutoring, pairing for projects, etc. A student naturally inclined to be helpful can help foster classroom relationships.
3) Be sure to incorporate lessons and activities into your weekly lesson plans that promote social interactions. Each autistic child may respond differently to other students, instructions, or activities. Having a regular session of social interaction, and monitoring how the autistic child responds, can help you refine techniques that can help the autistic student cultivate relationships.
These are just some of the techniques that can help foster friendships in the classroom. Of course each child is different, so these techniques may need to be adjusted to match the personality of the child.