How to get your child with autism engaged in remote learning

May 26, 2020

Some of us were accustomed to working from home far before the Coronavirus pandemic became a part of our daily lives. Technology allows many of us to work from home, sit in front of the computer for hours, and get all the work done that we need to. However, this concept is entirely new to our children!

Manuel Ramirez

AnswersNow BCBA

Some of us were accustomed to working from home far before the Coronavirus pandemic became a part of our daily lives. Technology allows many of us to work from home, sit in front of the computer for hours, and get all the work done that we need to. However, this concept is entirely new to our children!

Our little ones are used to running around, learning through play, and engaging with their friends. They’re constantly stimulated by the environment around them and fascinated by what the world has to offer. And while remote learning may not fit into their normal way to learn, we have some suggestions to set your ‘quaranteam’ up for success.


  1. Dress for success! - The night before, have your child choose their outfit for the day. Give them the autonomy to dress however they want and wear whatever they think looks awesome on them. If they want to wear a costume and dress like Cinderella for the day, why not? How about wearing a crown for today’s lesson? Absolutely! This can start getting them excited for the activities the next day. If they’re joining in on a zoom call with their teacher and fellow classmates, it can give them all something to talk about before they start class. 


  1. Talk about it - As they are choosing what to wear the next day, try engaging them in conversation. Start talking about what they can expect tomorrow, and how the lesson will be conducted. The conversation can be brief, but allows some preparation to occur - we call this priming! When tomorrow comes, this priming sets the stage for a little more calm and understanding when expectations are set.   


  1. Create a schedule - Children want to know what’s going to happen next. If the lesson they are working on doesn’t interest them as much, then having a daily schedule nearby will let them know that there might be something to look forward to after they finish their given task quickly. The schedule can consist of a checklist of all the assignments and projects that need to be completed by the end of the day - or it can be a timed schedule, briefly elaborating on how many minutes will be dedicated to each assignment. 


  1. Keep them active! - Start off your lesson by doing a little stretch with your child. They’re going to be sitting down for long periods at a time, and they most certainly will start to get antsy and have energy to burn. Prep them for success at the beginning of the day. A simple stretch like raising their hands in the air, wiggling their bodies, and reaching down to touch their toes can help release that energy out. End the stretch with a little breathing activity, having your child take deep breaths in and deep breaths out five times. Try repeating this throughout the day, in between lessons or after finishing a long assignment.


  1. Praise, praise, praise - Once it’s time to start the lesson, try not to get caught up in teaching and finishing all the tasks. Remember to stop and praise your child for doing a great job, even for the little things. Children love to be recognized for their hard work!


  1. Take breaks - Our bodies were not meant to sit down for long periods of time. If your child has a difficult time sitting down, break the time into manageable amounts and allow for movement and breathing breaks in between. Make sure they know when snack and lunch times happen - and how they can appropriately request a break if they feel they need it sooner.  


  1. Let them teach - Time for a little recap! Give them the reins and allow them to reiterate what they learned today. This will help them retain the information they were shown, but also allow them to build their leadership skills and build the confidence to conduct their own lesson. If they're not up for the task, try having them record themselves on a video camera and reiterating what they learned to an invisible audience. This will also allow them to be comfortable talking into a camera when they are in a virtual classroom.

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If you feel like your child may need some extra help to succeed in virtual learning, our BCBAs are always available. Call today to start working with AnswersNow.

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