Working with students that have been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can be challenging, especially if he or she is non-verbal. However, it does not mean that they cannot learn! So many times they can surprise you with their intelligence, and I have found myself wondering if some of my students know more than me! Here are a few strategies that I have found to be helpful.
Build background knowledge. This is so important for students with ASD because they lack the social skills required to learn through interacting. Providing background knowledge through social stories, magazines, movies, or pictures can be useful before reading a new book. I also think it's important to include them in as many social settings as possible (e.g., flex, recess, lunch, clubs, etc.). Whether we realize it or not, those things help build background knowledge!
Use the popular strategy called think-aloud! This is very common in regular classrooms, but it can also be effective for special education classrooms. The teacher thinks out loud to show students what to do in order to better understand texts. Use a graphic organizer along with your think-aloud to give them a way to process the information visually.
Act out the story! Kids of all ages love to pretend and move around! For children with ASD, this can give them a concrete understanding of what's going on in the story.
Retelling is a great comprehension strategy for a broad level of learners. Students can retell verbally, through graphic organizers, or through pointing at pictures. Adapt it to suit your students' needs.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know how you improve reading comprehension for students with ASD!!