Vocabulary Flash Cards and Children with Autism

Flashcards, in general, are a great way to learn. That is because it prioritizes the answer within a set of two.

Flashcards have been used for studying and teaching for a long time. Many people still use this technique.

Children with Autism, depending on the level of functionality, see the world differently than us. That must not be ignored in education.

Muscle Memory

Working in special education, primarily with Autistic children, has taught me quite a lot in the way they learn.

Maximizing memorization skills is a great tool, but what happens when new words appear. Many times when using flashcards, children simply identify the answer based on experience and muscle memory.

That is why when using flashcards, it's important to mix them up. Avoid using the same two cards at all costs. Even putting them in a different order might give you genuine data results.

Try putting flashcards on top of each other, or separate them at least a foot apart. Doing that forces the child to look at the card, instead of possibly using muscle memory.

Using flashcards is, by all means, one of the best visual supports there are. It's important to always switch things up when using them-although.


While working in a special education classroom, I noticed repetition is applied to master learning. Autistic children benefit from this greatly.

Typically, flashcards are used in combination with repetition drills. Doing that gives fairly accurate data on whether the student is learning or not.

Doing a three to five count for flashcards is ideal. Doing that, you can see whether the child is guessing or not.

Having the child answer the same question multiple times, in different orders, tells the teacher if the student knows what's being asked.

Visual and Auditory Prompts

For lower functioning Autism, using fewer words is better. While doing a teaching session with flashcards, cards should display the item and not the word.

For example, if the word is 'Boat', the card should show a picture of a boat. Understanding how to read the boat can come later, but knowing what the picture is, is the priority.

To maximize learning, one should only say something similar to "Pick the boat." Doing this three to five times, along with moving and using different cards will give you the best data, and will vastly improve what is learned.

If the student still has trouble, pointing to the correct card will help the child learn the correct answer.

Remember, flashcards are one of the best visual support tools for children with Autism, but avoid using too much muscle memory.

Keep the cards always fresh and constantly move them. In doing so, you will see great results.

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