Most autistic people have ‘special interests’.

These are interests and activities that the person finds fascinating or compelling, that they love to spend time learning about, thinking about or doing.

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.

For example:

  • 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 ChildrenThe 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.







For links to all our school related articles, click on the link below:

Supporting your autistic child through school

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