Tips for Teachers

This information was provided by a teacher with 40 years experience in both mainstream and specialist schools.

These are suggestions which can make life more comfortable for ASC pupils in the class. There may be others in the class with particular sensitivities who would also benefit from the suggestions. 

  • Check the lighting in the classroom – do any of the lights buzz or flicker?

  • Check that displays are secure – do displays or curtains flap when the windows are open?

  • Set up an enclosure for ASC pupils to work in - an ‘office’ where classroom distractions can be minimised. Headphones could be useful here to block distracting noises, normal in the classroom but difficult for ASC pupils to work through.

  • Display the day’s programme somewhere in the classroom so pupils know what to expect.

  • Give warning if a routine is going to change.

  • Experiment with different background colours on the interactive whiteboard. Many pupils, not only ASC, find that the white background glares making it difficult to focus enough to read what is written on the board. Watch out for children who squint at the board to find out who is affected and try other colours.

  • In the same way, some children find it easier to work on coloured paper rather than white. Packs of pastel coloured paper are available from Rymans (possibly others, too). It is, though, more expensive than buying white paper in bulk through the catalogues.

  • Coloured acetate overlays can be useful for pupils who find white pages in books too bright. This is a useful strategy for pupils with dyslexia, too.

  • ASC pupils, and others, find breaktime daunting – too much noise, too many people, too much movement, apparent chaos etc. If possible, organise activities in a quiet area for particular pupils – often other children ask if they can join.

  • Be aware of pupils who feel the heat or cold, or who find some clothing uncomfortable. Consider the school’s uniform – is it restrictive? For example, polo shirts are less restrictive than shirts with ties.

  • Consider allocating specific places on the carpet at story time so that pupils don’t have to decide every day where to sit. If pupils choose where they sit some children will always have no-one to sit next to – ASC pupils find it difficult to make and maintain friendships and frequently get left out.