When autistic children are encouraged to take part in their special interests in school, it can:
- Bring enjoyment and relaxation to what might otherwise be a stressful school experience
- Help them trust and build positive relationships with school staff
- Help them learn in subjects they might not otherwise understand or be interested in
- Help them build relationships with other students
Opportunities to engage in special interests can be made in lessons, at break and lunch times, during mentoring sessions or in after school activities.
- An English teacher could choose a text to study on the topic of the special interest, helping a struggling or unmotivated student to gain some confidence and enthusiasm.
- A child who is socially anxious or has friendship problems might gain practise and confidence in socialising at a lunch club linked to their special interests.
- Or they may prefer to talk 1:1 to a teacher who shows some curiosity in their interests.
The Strengths Based Guide to Supporting Autistic Children is a book which guides you to focus on your child’s strengths – to build their confidence and autonomy and to positively shape their future. It is written by autistic parent of autistic children, Claire O’Neill.
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