Teaching an Autistic Child How to Write
Writing is an important form of communication. When someone writes something down it helps them clear their mind and later retrieve important information. Autistic children experience many challenges when it comes to learning to write. To teach an autistic child to write the best way to start is to first improve the child’s fine motor skills. One way to do that is to teach the child how to string beads. The process of how to string beads is easy, first model the behavior using a straw to string the beads, then move on to using a pipe cleaner, then finally move on to a string. There are also card stringing and finger painting activities that can help these children.
Using hand therapy to strengthen a child’s fine motor skills is another way to help reinforce the child's learning to write. These activities strengthen the child’s hands and build muscle tone. Some of these activities are to have children squeeze stress balls, play stretch rubber band games like tug of war and create with playdough. Another way to use hand therapy is also to have children paint or draw on vertical surfaces. When the child’s fine motor skills improve, the child can now start using a soft pencil grip or specially designed pencils.
Then train the child how to hold these pencils or crayons correctly by modeling the wanted behavior. Make it a daily routine to teach children how to learn to copy shapes, letters, numbers, and draft documents about topics that are interesting to them. Make sure that the environment is quiet, with good lighting and without distractions. Also, make sure the child gets clear and simple directions. Children should practice these skills every day for short periods of time so these activities are fun and engaging.
Along with just the act of writing, the child needs to learn basic language skills. This can be done by exposing the child to the alphabet using alphabet magnets, foam puzzles and reading to them.
To aid parents in getting additional help. The parent can work with the teacher, and the school psychologist to create an individualized education plan (IEP). Parents can also work with a hand therapy occupational therapist that might be covered by their insurance. Parents can join a local chapter of an autistic parent group to get emotional support. This will help them interact with other parents to get ideas who are in the same situation as them. And lastly, parents can take classes and workshops at local hospitals, mental centers or community facilities.