Autism Thinking Styles and Educational Methods

There are many techniques out there for teaching individuals with autism.

Many even claim to be the ONLY method that will be effective, but not all people with autism learn or think in the same way.

We must take into account autism thinking styles when considering educational methods.


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Remember that old saying, “When you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism?”

I believe the same holds true when teaching our kids on the spectrum!

One size does not fit all in the education of people who have autism!

It is Temple Grandin’s belief that there are three thinking types in autism.

Individuals on the spectrum are either visual thinkers, music and mathematical thinkers, or verbal thinkers.

Some are also combinations of the three.

  • Your child is probably a visual thinker if he or she learns best when lessons are taught using pictures, diagrams, and hands-on activities.
  • Your child is most likely a music and mathematical thinker if he or she spots patterns everywhere in their environment and enjoys finding relationships between numbers and musical notes.
  • Your child is probably a verbal thinkers if they love words, lists, and memorizing information! (Different Types of Thinking in Autism)

Once you have discovered how your child with autism thinks, you can then have a better idea of how to effectively teach your child whatever it is that you’d like for him or her to learn.

  • Visual thinkers will thrive when you use photographs, realistic pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, and hands-on projects when presenting your lessons. Movies, videos, demonstrations, and field trips are also great tools for visual learners! Visual thinkers might grow up to be graphic designers, artists, architects, or photographers
  • Pattern thinkers might enjoy rhythms and should be encouraged in the maths. Provide them with lots of instruments to experiment with. Music lessons might be appropriate also. Use a multiplication times table to teach multiplication facts. Tap out rhythms while reciting word definitions. Teach your child the formulas for Algebra and Geometry. Art and Chess fit right in there in with pattern thinkers too. Pattern thinkers might like to pursue careers in statistics, engineering, music, or computer programming.
  • Verbal thinkers might appreciate writing their own or reading prepared lists of terms and their definitions relevant to the lesson being taught. The good old fashioned lecture with note taking is also a recommendation. Recorded lectures are a sure hit. Use Mnemonics and acronyms to help your verbal learner remember facts. Some careers to encourage your verbal learner in pursuing might be a public speaking, journalism, record keeping, or or becoming a librarian .

Educating our children in ways that match their learning styles and encouraging them to pursue their own unique interests which could develop into meaningful careers will be our best bet in ensuring that our children will grow up to be  successful, self-sufficient, independent, happy, and fulfilled adults!

Our world needs all types of thinkers!

Our world needs all kinds of minds.

Our world needs our children with autism!


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