Students with Autism and ADHD displayed at 50% of viewport width
January 2019 by V. R. Duin

LESSONS FROM AUTISM AND ADHD

Those on the autism spectrum
Need adventures that aren't ho-hum
And prefer fun, rhyming word flows
Over straightforward-sounding prose.

Lessons from students with autism and ADHD are helping improve learning by children of all cognitive types. New ways are being tested to fix standardized lessons and testing in public and private literacy programs.

Autism is a different way of thinking. It may focus thought, raise levels of emotion and cloud communication. Students with autism and ADHD are helping put Common Core standards under fire in the United States.


Students welcome stimulation outside the standard curriculum. They like the suspense of problem-solving as they read. They must have something exciting and new to see, hear, discuss and learn.


Common Core is giving way to lessons focused on subjects of individual interest. This individualized teaching tool helps build strong vocabulary and communication skills for specific career development skills.


Individuals on the autism spectrum may have attachments. Their interest is piqued by lessons structured around these objects or subjects. Half of children with autism spectrum disorders also have ADHD.


Learning development requires student awareness. Working alongside students with autism and ADHD can be rewarding. They help teach patience and tolerance. Their opinions and behaviors should be acknowledged.


Rhyme may help learning. ADHD tends to produce inattentive and impulsive behavior. It may compromise focus and ability to start or finish work. Overly strict subjects and teaching methods add conflict.


Patterns of rhythm and rhyme may aid learning. As students with autism and ADHD squirm in their seats, wiggle their feet and tap their pencils, they can sharpen awareness of subtle building blocks for classmates.


Autistic children often have a greater sense of metrics and patterns. They find subtle patterns in math, music and rhyming texts. This unique ability enables savants to process numbers with machine-like speed.


Some students process sounds better than visuals. Whether language ability is challenged or advanced, active rhyme may engage children of all cognitive types with new information presented during classroom activities.


Sounds unnoticed by other students may be distractions for autistic individuals. Class bells and school announcements may unnerve sensitive students. Awareness is needed. Differences must be accepted and respected.


Patterns guide learning. Autism has shown educators and parents a link between rhythm, rhyme and the development of learning and memory skills. Autism reveals patterns and metrics for others to hear or see.


Behaviors are likely to improve when work is interesting and fun. Students with autism and ADHD may show the way to better social interaction. They may halt rigid teaching and work wonders for all students.


Stealth and novelty draw students into classwork. They become restless and disengaged with boring, flat drills of Common Core. Recognizing the importance of patterns to learning may bring welcome change.


Many students learn better when visual stimulus accompanies the spoken word. Pictures may connect visual thinkers to the world. Step-by-step lessons focused on one task at a time may help them see and learn.


Standardization causes stress. Children do not fit into one box. They do not learn the same way. The “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2002 launched standardization and pressure to achieve good test results.


The law has come at a heavy cost. Payments for test maker fees pale next to costs of failing ethics. The conviction of eleven teachers in Atlanta for a cheating racket indicate mass standardization is out of control.


A calm environment is required for learning. Task avoidance to escape the stress of drills may produce disruptive behavior. Quality and strength of learning must match different learning styles.


One half of students are failing standardized tests. Only a small percentage of these students have autism and ADHD. These students may have no learning disability. Many of them have above-average intelligence.


Standardization may hurt learning by children of all cognitive types. These programs are not boosting learning quality or morale. The focus of learning should be to develop individual talents rather than mass thinking.


Students are trapped in courses set by law. There is no proof of developing the passion required for learning success. Students are being taught only those subjects with those materials on which they will be tested in class.


Opportunity should be granted to explore interests. Special needs must be met. The learning process is not an exact science. The human brain is not fully understood. Ground-breaking ideas must be pursued.


Standardization is causing students to disengage and “hate” school. Extra time for test completion accommodated a recent college entrance cheating scandal. Special equipment may be preferable for some needs.


Learning cannot be standardized for individuals. They have different cognitive types, learning styles, socio-economic levels and areas of interest. They are not products on shelves in need of uniform marketing appearance.


Parents are getting involved. According to the Harvard Political Review, parents of stressed and disheartened children have accelerated The Case Against Standardized Testing to encourage creativity and individualism.


Parents often do not understand the strange learning formulas. The experimental math is especially confusing and unhelpful for them. Common Core standardization is a failed exercise in guesswork.


Standardized tests contain mistakes. The content may be poorly worded. It may contain developmentally inappropriate material. Test takers contend with malfunctioning answer sheets and exam booklets with missing pages.


These problems frustrate learning. Students who operate step-by-step may be especially challenged. They may not associate proper actions with misleading words and instructions. The current system is broken.


Standardization is failing teachers. They are not happy with Common Core. Their salaries depend upon test scores. To receive pay increases, public school teachers must focus on raising lower-functioning students.


Students and learning methods are different. It is time to bring in outside opinions and ideas to end the failed singular approach. Parents may become the leaders for literacy program improvements.


Students must receive the individual attention they deserve. Students often are bored and under-challenged by the system of repetitive routines and narrow subjects. Students may require other types of preparation.


Learning no longer appears to be happening. Common sense recognizes that differences in learning styles and abilities cannot be served by a one-size-fits-all approach.


Home-schooling is on the rise. Parents are teaching their children from the comforts of home, instead of sending them to school. Online connections help stimulate ideas, discussions and activities for learning.


Parents can use online pictures to guide learning. They can encourage critical thinking and discuss global threats in a positive way. They can guide their children to bravery from the fears acquired in schools.


Illustrations may help children who have autism and ADHD. Pre-verbal, verbally challenged and early readers may be empowered by creative art. Performance may improve with a break from rigid age-based concepts.


Schools are similar in outlook and approach. They cannot be objective about their limitations. New options for rigid group-think from parents and outsiders may fix standardized lessons and testing.


Parents can stop the pressure to conform. Parents have a big role in early diagnosis of learning differences. Rather than a browser, a roller ball or a pointing device may accommodate their special learners.


Parents can be the “devil's advocate”. Schools must be informed about individual needs and learning styles. A new viewpoint might develop as educators learn from parents and along with the students.


Avoiding unnecessary conflict may help students achieve success. Respect for the different ways in which people of different cognitive types think and learn may make education friendlier and more engaging.


Student should be allowed some sense of command over personal learning styles and methods. Students may benefit from personalized instructions. Writing may benefit by allowing students to type words.


Test results may be misleading. Studies show Student Engagement Affects Test Performance. Tests may reflect levels of engagement or disengagement rather than levels of learning.


Schools seem to recognize alternatives are needed. The system is replacing must-pass exams. Under development are new standardized systems with new loopholes for the graduation of marginalized students.


Parents are not happy with the stress of high-stakes standardized testing on their children. They are calling for greater variety in teaching approaches to boost language, math, listening and analytic skills.


Experiments include: mentoring, visual stimulation, peer modeling and individual guidance. Parents of students with autism and ADHD play an important role in the outcome of learning by children of all cognitive types.