Common Challenges At School
One of the most significant challenges that autistic girls in schools face is the requirement for consistent - and almost continuous - social interactions with their teachers and peers.
In classes where children are expected to cooperate and collaborate, autistic girls need to be presented with alternatives to help them focus on the education task at hand, without being distracted and stressed by the concept of managing the complicated social interactions as well. By managing these interactions, stress levels and anxiety in autistic girls can be greatly reduced - a shift in approach that can have a significant impact. 18
Ebony Birch Hanger is a Teacher, Neurodevelopmental Therapist, Education Consultant and Music Specialist. In this video Ebony talks about teamwork and how best to support autistic girls with working in groups and with others at school.
I find that if I bring some structure to the unstructured situations or provide a range of activities for my students at break and lunch times, and provide clear guidelines for group work, it really helps to alleviate anxiety.
Autistic girls may have trouble following group discussions, and may be better at smaller groups. It's also important to allow her to take a role in the group that she is comfortable with and will succeed in.
I preferred to work alone, and when I was put in groups, I was often placed in a role I was not comfortable with. I would have happily been the note taker or time keeper, but being asked to present to the class was not ideal and caused immense anxiety.
Further recommendations on this topic
- Read the fact sheet for more tips and strategies : Team Work.pdf
18 (Moyse& Porter, 2015), Solomon, M., Miller, M., Taylor, S.L., Hinshaw, S.P. & Carter, C.S. (2012).