Autistic learners are likely to have a different way of processing information and this can impact on their ability to organise themselves, plan, sequence and prioritise their daily activities.
Predictive and sequential thinking can be problematic for those with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. We are required to use predictive thinking in a whole range of situations. This can range from thinking about how someone is going to react to something we have done or something we are going to say to planning and organising what you need to take in your schoolbag or when you pack a case for your holidays. Difficulties in predictive thinking impact on a person’s ability to organise, acquire self-help skills, to be independent or to fully anticipate the likely consequences of their actions. Predictive thinking is also important in coping with and accommodating change.
Autistic learners can experience difficulties:
- Understanding the concept of and managing time
- Predicting the consequences of an action
- Seeing the larger ‘picture’ – for example why they may have to do a task.
The cognitive theory of Executive Function highlights some of the difficulties which are likely to impact on personal organisation. It is really important that staff do not interpret poor planning and organisational skills as a lack of effort on the part of the autistic learner.
Click here to access a number of strategies which can support autistic learners at school and or at home. Consistency of use is important, ensure that there is effective communication between home and school. The level to which individual learners develop independence in using strategies to help them with their personal organisation will vary, some will achieve very good levels of independence and other may always need support.