University of Texas at AustinDivision of Diversity and Community Engagement

Tips for Working with Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders

“Autism is not a processing error, it’s just a different operating system.”

Strengths Of Students With Autism Spectrum Disoders

  • Average, or above average, intelligence
  • Excellent rote memory
  • Very detail-oriented
  • Often savant-like knowledge in certain areas
  • Works well with concrete, rather than abstract or ambiguous, information
  • Extensive vocabulary
  • Incredible gifts/talents in certain areas (arts, math, sciences, etc.)
  • Unique ability to perceive things in new ways, out of the box thinking

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders may benefit from structure and clear expectations. Below are some suggestions to facilitate interactions and provide a positive class experience.

Communication

  • Provide advance notice of topics to be discussed
  • Provide advance notice of meetings or changes in schedules
  • Allow written responses in lieu of verbal responses

Organization/Concentration/Focus

  • Help student develop checklists for assignments
  • Reduce auditory/sensory distractions
  • Facilitate discussions around prioritizing tasks
  • Provide written instructions

Social Dynamics

  • Review classroom policies and expectations
  • Provide concrete examples to explain appropriate behavior and “rules” of the classroom

Please visit our website to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders.