Planning for choices and change
Making choices and coping with changes can prove challenging for young people with autism. Other areas of the toolbox identify issues and support which may be required at times of various transitions when there may be increased levels of anxiety around changes eg during daily classroom activities/ moving from next year group / from one area of school to another. The difficulties around predicting outcomes and consequences, and transferring skills across contexts will affect abilities to make choices. Resilience is required to deal with outcomes which are not expected.
There are implications within teaching and learning across the curriculum to enable young people with autism to make effective decisions, recognize their own strengths, abilities and needs, and cope with important transition periods in their life. This will involve making choices for life and work which are suitable, realistic and manageable.
Are there opportunities across the lesson /day /week to recognize and teach key skills at the level appropriate to the individual?
• Reflection – what did we learn from experiences and how mistakes help us learn
• Prediction – what are possible / likely outcomes
• Problem solving – what have we seen/tried before – realistic solutions
• Ability to make informed choices – what factors should we consider
• Negotiation – and it’s ok to use someone else’s suggestion
• Self-evaluation – what are my strengths, what help do I need, and that’s ok
• Planning/organisation (especially time) – would a visual help
• Emotional resilience/ self regulation –personal accessible strategies
• Developing relationships – circles of relationships
• Independence – within tasks and activities up to skills required for life and work
• Healthy living – recognising and understanding healthy options