IDEAL CHARACTERISTICS FOR EDUCATORS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN
Becoming a good teacher is not a simple feat to accomplish, knowing that you carry the responsibility of molding the younger generations into a better version of themselves. What you teach to your students can greatly impact their lives, emphasizing the importance of your educational methods and materials, especially for children who act like a sponge in absorbing anything that they can learn from their surroundings. As their mentor, you must act as a role model to your young students, and be able to facilitate their growth and development much like their second parent. This responsibility is even made more challenging for educators of children with special needs, such as those who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Knowing that the typical classroom setting may not work as effectively for autistic students, you are now confronted with the challenge of addressing their needs while putting into consideration their autism features that might hinder their learning. That is why to become an effective mentor for autistic children, you must possess more than one or two characteristics that are expected from an ideal educator. Assessing yourself whether you have all or some of these characteristics is important to improve in your teaching career.
Creative and Flexible
Children on the spectrum may have different strengths and weaknesses in relation to the nature of their diagnosis. A great educator for these special needs children must be able to come up with creative teaching methodologies that can create avenues for all students to showcase and hone their skills and talents. When a linear type of teaching technique is proven ineffective, you must be creative and flexible enough to come up with fast and reliable alternative system for classroom teaching. Your teaching method must be able to include all of your students, even if it means having to teach the same educational material in several forms or manners.
A chaotic teaching methodology and a messy classroom will eventually create an undesirable atmosphere that is not conducive for your autistic students. If you want to be an ideal educator to autistic children, you must first develop and enhance your organizing skills. You can start by creating color-coded teaching materials, easy-to-understand visual aids, schedules and graphs, labeled classroom equipment and areas, as well as an up-to-date classroom record. There are dozens of applications and software that you can use to ease your organizing responsibilities and automate most of the time-consuming tasks, making you save resources and time. This sense of orderliness can help boost your students’ confidence and enthusiasm in class, and they might even adopt and bring your systematic methods to each of their homes.
Perceptive and Calm
Being a second parent to your autistic students, it is also your duty to keep an eye on their behavior and detect possible autism-related issues. When autistic kids are not able to communicate their needs and concerns, there’s a possibility that they might go into a meltdown. Hence detecting the signs of these possible meltdowns before they occur will help address their needs as early as possible, avoiding a tough situation from happening. When the situation goes from bad to worse and a meltdown becomes unavoidable, you must be able to maintain your calm to be able to deal with the situation with patience and objectivity. If you also panic in the midst of your student’s outburst, you may not be able to come up with a proper and effective solution. Exhibiting a calm nature will also help decrease your students’ anxiety while in the classroom.
Many educators fail to make a great impact on the lives of their students just because they are lacking vision and direction ever since day one. A good mentor not only sees to it that their teaching methodologies and materials are up-to-date but also finds the means to know how much their students have grown. To become an effective and influential educator, you must not forget to set goals prior to the start of the class which will serve as your guiding point throughout the whole academic year. You will then make periodic assessments on your students’ learning progress to get an idea on who’s lagging behind and needs more attention. Your role as a mentor does not stop after you’ve already shared what needs to be imparted to your students inside the class, but it also includes finding out whether they’ve learned anything out of it.
Naturally Caring for Children
Educators of autistic children embrace the job not just because of the salary and whatnot, but mainly due to their love and concern for these young kids. If you think you have a big and special place in your heart for kids, then count yourself as a good candidate for an ideal educator. As someone who is more than enthusiastic to work with a group of diverse kids, you will eventually develop a good sense of humor and an aura of charm that’s very effective for your young, special students. Children can easily tell whether a person likes them or not, and having a natural desire to nurture and care for kids will easily make your students reciprocate the same positive feeling. When you and your students share a great bond, this will help facilitate a more effective learning process.
Approachable and Cooperative
As a mentor of autistic kids, it is highly important that you always show an approachable personality which most parents like about their child’s teachers. Connecting to your students’ parents may be a tough job, but it is essential in order to discuss specific matters concerning the welfare of your students. You must be willing to understand the situation of every parent and listen to their concerns and suggestions. You must cooperate with them in coming up with better plans and programs, to prove to them that you are worthy of their trust. After all, you and the parents share a common goal and that is preparing the autistic students for a brighter future.