Children with Autism: Calendar Teaching Ideas
Children with autism typically struggle more than children without autism in every aspect of learning. Not only do they have difficulty in learning new concepts, they also have more trouble retaining what they have learned. One especially important concept to teach children with autism is how to use a calendar to organize their day-to-day functioning. Understanding the concepts of a calendar also provides children with autism a sense of peace. Just knowing what is going to happen on each day of the week is a strategy that most often helps reduce the stress that comes when they do not know what is happening or what will happen next.
Children with Autism: Calendar Teaching Lesson Planning
Planning a series of lesson plans that teach children with autism about the calendar is an effective way to start to help them begin to put order in their lives and helps them learn what to expect. Not only does teaching about the calendar reduce stress, it also is a good strategy to teach other concepts such as: the names of the days of the week, counting by rote and numerals.
Children with Autism: Calendar Teaching Visual Ideas
Research has shown, for a number of years, that children with autism are most often visual learners. So, then planning your calendar lessons to include as many visual cues as you can will be the most effective way to support learning for children with autism. What this means is that you use pictures to teach the names or labels of things on a calendar. Another effective research-based strategy to help children with autism learn is to be repetitive. Repetition is a natural teaching strategy for the calendar as most teachers go over the calendar on a daily basis, especially at the preschool and elementary levels.
A calendar lesson plan might include these steps:
Purchase a large calendar with big spaces or squares for each day of the week and hang it up in the room where it is easily seen and accessible for children with autism.
Make, or purchase, numerals to be used to identify the days of the month and glue Velcro to the back of each numeral.
Attach a large, legal size envelope beside the calendar. This will be used to hold the Velcro numerals to use to identify the days of the month.
Find small pictures that show what routinely happens on each day of the week such as: a watering can for the day of the week when plants are watered, a picture of the animal(s) in the classroom on the day their cage needs to be cleaned etc. Be sure and find one picture that happens each day and put Velcro on the back so it can be attached to the calendar each day. This strategy is meant to help children with autism be able to identify the day of the week by the picture of what happens on that day.
A good way to start the calendar lesson is to talk about the calendar at the same time each morning or afternoon in the classroom.
Assign a student to be the calendar helper for a week. Their job, during calendar time, is to put on all of the numerals for the dates and to add the pictures for each day of the week. As they do this job, the teachers guides the class through the rote counting of the numerals as they are attached to the calendar and says the name of the pictures as they go on each day of the week. Teachers also encourage each of the children in the class to repeat the numeral names and labels of the pictures.
Teaching children with autism about how to use a calendar to bring order to their lives is a valuable life skill.
ADHD Mental Health Diagnosis Found to Have Genetic Link Mental Health Diagnosis ADHD Uncovered
Fun and Educational Online Games for Children with Autism: Online Kids Games Teach Skills
Autism: Curriculum Adaptations for Preschool Children
Special Education IEP for Autism: IEP for Autism: Coordinated Plan of Services
Facts About Autism: 5 Different Diagnoses: What is It?