Accommodations for At-Home Learning for Children with Autism

With many children still at home for virtual learning, the novelty of staring at a screen all day is getting old really fast. Here are some ideas to help keep your child focused and motivated. Hang in there, and remember that this time in our lives will not last forever.

  1. Be sure that your child has a comfortable chair where their feet touch the floor. Encouraging proper posture and seating will help your child feel grounded. You might consider placing a pillow on the chair, and a Theraband around the legs of the chair. Therabands are big rubber bands that your child can rest and bounce their feet on to help with sensory input.
  2. Create an environment void of distractions. You might consider facing the table and chair toward the wall. Be sure to turn off any music or the television (even if the tv volume is muted, your child can still feel the energy coming from the television). Even something like the washer machine and dryer can be incredibly distracting. So, pay close attention to the environment.
  3. Throughout the day, provide structured movement breaks. This can include dancing for 3-5 minutes, doing jumping jacks, or even running laps outside. I discourage you from playing a video for your child to follow during these movement breaks. They have enough screen time, and need something that involves other senses.
  4. If your child is taking breaks throughout their “school-day,” discourage watching tv or playing video games. Again, they are already receiving so much visual input from staring at a screen for school. Try switching it up to give them a brain-break.
  5. Provide healthy snacks to boost their energy. Crunchy snacks are great for waking-up the sensory system (i.e. carrots, celery, healthy crackers, etc.).
  6. Use a visual checklist schedule so that your child can see a clear beginning and end of their school-day. Include movement breaks and snack times. Let them check off each task when it is complete.
  7. Include something super fun and rewarding at the end of their visual schedule! This can be outdoor time, a dance party, a delicious snack, or another favorite activity.

Hang in there. This is such a tricky time for everyone. Just take it day-by-day, and remember that we are all in this together. Reach out to your child’s teacher for support. This is all new for them too, and they want to know if you and your child are having a hard time.



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