Practical Teaching Strategies for students with ASDs

This page contains links to nine video scenarios illustrating different teaching strategies for pupils with ASDs.

Eve loves to play

Video still of Eve standing in a classroom

  • Children with ASDs respond well to visual structure.
  • A visual schedule gives clear structure to the day because it presents daily activities in a logical sequence.
  • Using a change card, the teacher can help the child with ASD to transition more easily from one activity to another.

Eve asks for help

Video still of Eve playing with a game with a teacher

  • Try to encourage the child with ASD to ask for help in any given situation.
  • If the child with an ASD doesn’t verbalise the help request, encourage her to do so as soon as she asks for help by non-verbal means.

Stephen lines up

Video still of two kids walking through a classroom door

  • Visual structure or signposts are needed for many typical classroom situations when working with pupils with ASDs.
  • In all situations with pupils with ASDs, try to look for opportunities to boost their self-esteem and confidence, and encourage independence.

Christopher is out of bounds

Video still of Christopher standing in a hall

  • Pupils with ASDs are visual learners so they respond better to visual stimuli when marking boundaries within the class or school environment.
  • Creating obvious visual boundaries for play activities is very important as pupils with ASDs find it hard to process two tasks at once – for example, play the game and watch out for the boundary sign at the same time.

Stephen take a note

Video still of Stephen drawing at a table with two other classmates

  • Pupils with ASDs have difficulty understanding and remembering lengthy verbal instructions.
  • If verbal instructions are to be given, check that the pupil with an ASD knows what to do at all times – giving him a separate handout or writing the key points down for him can help.

Mark – all in place

Video still of a pair of hands filling out a questionnaire

  • Forward planning and organisation pose many challenges.
  • Using a simple colour coding system can help to overcome planning difficulties.
  • In this video, the other pupils are aware of Mark’s difficulties. This works in this situation but with another pupil, more discretion may be needed, depending on the pupil’s needs.

Mark the expert

Video still of Mark sitting at a desk with other classmates

  • To prevent disruption, getting the pupil to write down their queries to be discussed later can work effectively.
  • Follow up action / teaching on why it is not good to disrupt lessons may also be necessary.
  • Think about using social stories or comic strips to show the show the pupil with an ASD how his actions affect others.

Mark’s favourite subject

Video still of Mark sitting at a desk talking to a teacher

  • Setting out the structure of a lesson in advance so that the pupil with an ASD understands his role at all times can minimise problems with obsessive tendencies.
  • Even if the lesson structure is spelled out in advance , the teacher may frequently have to remind the pupil of what they had agreed for the lesson structure.

Mark – a tale of two cities

Video still of Mark sitting at a desk with other classmates

  • If a pupil with an ASD has problems understanding when is appropriate to contribute to a class discussion, give him his own answer sheet and agree with him beforehand how he will use it.
  • Think about using social stories or comic strips to show the show the pupil with an ASD how his actions affect others.


These videos are from the learning zone of the ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder - A Teacher’s Toolkit’ CD-ROM. The video clips and images have been reproduced according to the Crown-Copyright. This material is acknowledged as a joint initiative by the Department of Education, PAPA, the Department of Education and Science and The Irish Society for Autism.