Have you ever heard the phrase ‘If you’ve met one child with autism… you’ve done exactly that’?
It’s a phrase that has always resonated with me. And it’s also why when I look back over the years at all of the students I’ve ever worked with, each one has needed a different approach.
When you look online you’ll see literally hundreds of autism providers all claiming that their methods are the most effective. But the truth is no one method is the most effective, not for everyone. Because by their very nature people are not clones of each other. Instead they are individuals, each with their own needs.
It’s why I believe in a pick and mix approach.
Over the years I’ve worked on ABA programmes, Son Rise Programmes, used Teaach and worked in numerous schools, each one determined that they have the right approach. But the truth is when we stick dogmatically to one approach, we miss what is good about the others, we miss what doesn’t work so well about ours and most importantly we often miss what would work best for the child sat in front of us.
I ask you this simple question.
How often do you argue with your partner or spouse about the way the clothes should be folded or which position the toilet seat should be in?
We all have our preferences. Our brains all prioritise and order things differently.
And your children are no different.
An individualised approach to education means that their learning styles and preferences are taken into account. It means thought goes into whether information is presented visually or aurally. It means learning can take place by doing as well as writing. But above all, it means that children can be given the best chance of fulfilling their true potential.
And that doesn’t just apply to children and young people with Autism.
But it is even more important. Especially if you take an individualised approach one step further and incorporate a young person’s special interest into their education, if you do that you really do have the potential to hit gold.
A little known fact is that autistic brains process special interests in the part of the brain that neurotypicals reserve for love. Their connection to their interest is so powerful, that anything associated with it becomes more closely connected to this area of the brain.
For young people who find learning difficult, who struggle to see the point of academic tasks, or who become anxious about learning new things, it is a tool more valuable than anything else.
Learning should me more than a one size fits all approach. It should be specifically targeted at an individual. It should be carefully crafted.
Because our children deserve the best. Because they deserve to reach their potential. And because they are individuals not clones…. and that is something their education should reflect.
Do you need more help?
Why not join our lovely, friendly Facebook Group full of parents and teachers working together to share strategies to help our children.
If you do want to learn more you might find our journal useful place to start. It’s full of different posts containing strategies to try out.
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