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Some ways to help kids with autism prepare for exams

Exams are stressful for most children and even parents. Students come under pressure in school to score high marks and many base their sense of self worth on how thyley perform academically. For students with autism and other disabilities, the situation is no different. So what are some of the ways you can help them study better?

Use of bigger-sized text, fonts and lessons explained through pictures makes learning easier for children. Explaining the lessons through examples can help clarify concepts for students. Some subjects such as science can also be explained through videos online and children understand them faster. Learning through different methods instead of only books is very effective. - Anuradha Srinivasan, parent of child with autism, SCAN member

Here are some simple ideas that can be used to prepare for exams and worry less.

  1. Making a timetable is an effective approach. Create a simple chart or table with different time slots accorded for studying, relaxing, revision etc. This will help the students with autism follow a set routine and also create a disciplined pattern for the day. Students will be able to use their time in the best possible way and parents will also feel less tense.
  2. Start the exam preparations a little earlier so that there is not a lot left to do when exams come. A little practice every day can help the child get into the habit of studying and revising.
  3. Make sure the child nderstands the questions or topics he or she is learning. Cramming an answer will not be enough and may result in errors. Students with autism can feel more interested in a topic if it is understood.
  4. Making notes and study material yourself can make learning easier. Remembering something that has been written yourself is easier. Make a point to write down the answers or notes that are expected to be asked in exams.
  5. Revise again and again as practice makes perfect.
  6. For parents, it is important to stay patient and calm. If you get nervous, the children will also feel anxious.
  7. Keep your admit cards safe and handy. Checking the bag for supplies before going to school will ensure you don't forget to take pens, pencils or other stationary during exams.
  8. Get proper rest and sleep and eat healthy food. A tired brain cannot help you much during exams.
  9. It is also advisable to check the arrangements at the exam room. For some students autism, there might be requirements such as a private room, ear plugs, reader to read out questions, rest breaks etc.

Another SCAN member, Seetha Ravichandran shares some useful advice about preparing for exams. Her son, who has Down syndrome, completed his initial education with "support from the school, special educator and tutoring at home. He was also helped by a scribe and that made giving exams easier. Making notes of important topics works well and helps in preparing for exams, apart from taking reference from previous question papers."

There are several other things such as visual aids, videos lessons, flash cards that can help memories lessons and understand the concepts. It is recommended that parents can try out different methods and observe what works best for the child. Children can learn better when the medium suits them. There is nothing that the children with disabilities cannot do with a little help and a lots of love and support.

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