Helping your child with autism learn in pictures. I’ll be the first to admit that a closet unschooler lives inside of me. One of my main goals as a homeschooler has always been to impart the love of learning to my children. My motto has always been to teach my children how to find the answers to their questions. Knowing how to find an answer as well as having a zeal for learning will enable them to be successful for their entire lives. If that’s the only thing I accomplish in homeschooling them then I’ve done my job successfully.
We live amazingly close to Mexico after our cross country move to Arizona. We certainly can go into the country to learn about it but it’s not a necessity. There are authentic Mexican items in our grocery stores and many of our local customs are routed in the traditions of Mexico. I never knew how amazing the traditions were of the Day of the Dead until I experienced them first hand. Pinatas can get pretty elaborate too judging from the ones hanging from the ceiling in the local Mexican grocer. So much fun to walk through the produce section to see all the unusual items we’ve never tried before. It certainly makes our history and geography studies come alive.
Travel is also a great teacher. Taking children, even ones with autism, on adventures gives them something tangible to remember when learning about those areas. Logan thinks in pictures. Once I realized this, teaching him became easier. I need to give him the visual images he needs to access when we learn about new things. He needs to utilize all his senses to make this visual picture. The more “pictures” I give him to access, the better he is able to learn new things as well as retain them .
One way you can do this for history and geography is with Swords of Northshire. They sell samurai swords, ninja swords, katanas, knives, and accessories for all those items. You can order a sword through them getting it customized to your specifications.if you desire. They have a glossary with all the sword terms in it that is perfect for leaning about the different aspects of swords and what they do. Logan especially liked the replica swords of video games like Assassin’s Creed and movies like Braveheart. The website was super easy to navigate as it walked us through every step teaching us the purpose behind that aspect of the sword. Their customer service must be out of this world judging by all the 5 star reviews.. A sword would make an excellent purchase to use with lessons.
By putting the visual image of the sword in Logan’s mind, he will be able to access it when read literature this year that pertains to China. We have several missionaries to China that are on our reading list. As we read about them, he will have the sword imagery. This allows him to follow along as he hears a story. It’s not just words to him. It makes the story come alive. For a person who thinks in pictures, it is imperative that he have some sort of imagery to access or we lose him to his other thoughts.
Continuing the sword imagery into geography had us learning all about the sword making town of Longquan. This town has a sword making history that goes back two thousand years. This makes all those stories about ninjas and samurais come alive when you know how the swords were made. We found the city on the map & looked at the terrain. This opened up more questions about why they would make swords there. Now when I tell him to find China on the map, I mention where swords are made. He remembers exactly where that is so he can find China easily. To Logan, China equals swords.
Don’t underestimate the importance of taking the time to help your child with autism paint “pictures’ in his brain to attribute to certain things. You can make their education much easier by teaching them in this manner. Teaching to their learning style is imperative to making them successful. It’s one reason homeschooling works so well for children with autism. If your child can’t learn the way you teach then you change the way you teach not the child. Teaching to their strengths will only increase their confidence as well as build positive episodic memories. These two things will make all the hard work and effort worth it in the end. You will marvel at their growth when they feel competent to learn.