Managing Schoolwork for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Transitioning back to an in-person educational system is stressful enough for kids to handle. The challenges are even greater for those on the autism spectrum, especially when it comes to completing schoolwork, as they may find it difficult to plan their work with the sudden shift from virtual school to face-to-face learning.


Children on the autism spectrum often have learning differences in sensory perception and motor skills. Although no two children on the spectrum are exactly alike and thus face different challenges, many might find common ground with repetitive and restrictive behaviors. Thus, children with ASD are often more comfortable when they have a fixed schedule. However, the events of the past year have done much to disrupt the normal way of life, affecting many people in different ways. The educational system has largely been affected due to COVID-19, and the transition from in-person learning to remote learning and back provides many with additional challenges in keeping up with homework assignments. To support parents in helping their children adapt to the transition to in-person learning, AUesome has compiled seven tips for managing schoolwork.

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Here are a few tips to managing schoolwork for children on the autism spectrum:


Put together a timetable: You can set a time suitable for your child to complete work so that both you and your child can get accustomed to the routine. This contributes to reducing sudden shifts and ensures consistency.


Divide up assignments: Rather than attempting to complete all tasks in one session, you can split the tasks to ensure that your child does not get tired.

Prioritize interests: Children differ with their learning styles, and the same can be said for children on the autism spectrum. You can take your child’s interests into consideration to make schoolwork engaging and fun using online resources.


Make the environment learning-friendly: There are many resources available to make children feel relaxed in their learning environment. Make the atmosphere distraction-free so that children can focus on their tasks. For instance, remove sources of noise, electronic devices, or other causes for distraction. This way, learning can be less cumbersome and more efficient. 


Provide company: Support children by being there for them every step of the way, as children may find it best to manage their work with your support. 


Establish communication: Talk to your child about expressing his or her feelings and refrain from passing judgement. Such communications allow for meaningful and supportive interactions.


It is OK to get help: Navigating through homework assignments is not only tiring for children but also for parents. Ask for help whenever necessary and connect with others to cope with emotions and challenges.

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To learn more about managing schoolwork and other ways of engagement, parents can refer to The Asperkid's Game Plan: Extraordinary Minds, Purposeful Play... Ordinary Stuff by Jennifer Cook O'Toole. The Asperkid’s Game Plan explores the varied learning styles of children on the autism spectrum and offers engaging projects to improve core skills. Such enjoyable projects will go beyond the playtime to address fundamental strengths and improve weaknesses. Ultimately, the different learning styles of children on the autism spectrum does not constitute ignoring their needs and abilities. 


As the saying goes:

If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.

- Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas