Online Learning Challenges Faced By Students On The Autism Spectrum p (2)

4 Online Learning Challenges Faced By Students On The Autism Spectrum

The advent of the novel coronavirus on the planet has brought a lot of changes for all of us, especially children. One such drastic change that happened in the lives of children is the concept of virtual learning. Well, before the pandemic, it was merely a concept. As the cases started to increase, the schools worldwide shut down, with an estimated 1.2 billion children sitting at home. This has led the schools to take up the possibility of virtual learning to ensure the continuity of education among children. Currently, students around the globe have adapted differently to virtual learning- while some find it extremely comfortable without any distractions, others find it remarkably difficult to concentrate. However, virtual learning is particularly challenging for kids with the autistic spectrum- a group of tiny tots who find consistency and routine very important in their life.

From difficulty in understanding to anxiety and lack of social connections, here are some of the online learning challenges faced by students on the autistic spectrum.

Lack of special care and attention

While a lot of kids on the autistic spectrum benefits from virtual learning, some of them need special attention and care. Virtual learning can’t provide individual care and attention that they used to get in the specialized environment at schools. Most of the kids face difficulty concentrating and doing things independently when the teacher is not around. Through virtual classes, the teachers can’t give the attention they used to give during school hours.

Regression in the progress

Many parents complained that online classes hindered the progress of their children. The main worry arises when it comes to social connection. Some of the kids have adapted to the zoom sessions, while some of them shut down from the outer world completely. This has affected their academic performance also.

Challenging for parents

Teachers looking after autistic students are actually trained to do their job. However, for virtual learning, the parents should take the role of teaching their kids. This might overwhelm a parent with a lack of experience looking after an autistic kid. Apart from that, they will also have other responsibilities at home and the workplace.

Ease in accessibility and understanding

While most of the virtual learning platforms are designed for easy navigation, it might not be easily accessible and understandable for all, especially kids with autism who needs special attention.

Now that we know the challenges let us check the tips to help your child with online learning.

  • Explain the current situation stating that this is necessary and is not forever.
  • Allocate a special room and space for the kids to learn. But never expect them to adapt and adjust to the new space quickly.
  • Use fidget toys and headphones to avoid distractions.
  • Use parental controls on your computer to avoid disturbances during online classes.

Virtual learning has many pros and cons, but the trend is here to stay, at least for some time. Patience and perseverance can help your child with the autistic spectrum attend online classes smoothly.

Dr. Arif Khan is a British Board certified Consultant Pediatric Neurologist. He is currently the CEO/Medical Director and Founder of Neuropedia Children’s Neuroscience Center in Dubai and is also an Associate Professor (Adj) at Mohammed Bin Rashid University, Dubai.He is a visiting Consultant Pediatric Neurologist at King's College Hospital Dubai. He is also the Director of Pediatric Neuroscience at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi. He founded and developed the first comprehensive children’s neuroscience center in the region called Neuropedia. It has now successfully completed 3 years of service to the regional population and has extensive plans to reach out to Northern Emirates. Dr. Khan had been working as a Consultant Pediatric Neurologist at the University Hospitals of Leicester and has been the lead clinician for complex epilepsies, vagal nerve stimulation service and ketogenic diet in the region. He also worked as Head of Children’s Services at American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, UAE prior to his current assignments. He is an avid writer, authoring more than 40 peer-reviewed and public health publications. He has recently authored a book called Pediatrics – A clinical handbook. His professional memberships include fellowship of the royal college of pediatrics and child health, core member of the European pediatric neurology society and member of the British Pediatric Neurology Association. He has been a lecturer for medical students at the University Hospital of Leicester and has been teaching on the national training courses like pediatric epilepsy training course. He is also an accredited examiner for the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.

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