10 Reasons Why Montessori Method May Be Suitable for Your Autistic Child
When my autistic daughter was 3 years old, I went through a conflicting phase when I had to decide what do I need to do with her educational needs. She is a hyperlexic child who knows how to read before she could speak, and I wanted her to have a normal childhood, go to a regular school, and make friends with other kids. At the same time, I knew she is suitable for a different kind of approach than the regular kindergarten.
Sending my daughter to a private school can be more expensive than homeschooling or sending her to public schools. However, when it is time to decide what is best for her, we decided to let her stay at the Montessori school that she has been attending, with the intention of me working there for a discounted fee and at the same time learning more about the Montessori Method.
With me being there with her, although I was in a separate classroom, it gives me peace that she is thriving in the Montessori environment. Her learning capability is different from others, at an accelerated pace, and that was what she needed. She had speech therapy for four years and is now happy and functioning well in her Montessori Elementary classroom while participating in Dance Team and going to Martial Arts classes 4 times a week!
If you are looking for an environment that will fit your highly-functioning autistic child, perhaps, Montessori schools can be the answer. However, please know that different schools have different teachers who are trained differently and that not all are able to provide the attention and care that an autistic child may need, so kindly discuss and have a proper meeting with the faculty so your child can get the best education for him/her.
Here are 10 reasons why I highly recommend Montessori Method for your autistic child:
- Individualized Learning: Montessori education is tailored to the individual needs of each child, which makes it ideal for children with autism who have unique learning styles and needs.
- Hands-on Learning: The Montessori method emphasizes hands-on learning, which is particularly effective for children with autism who may struggle with abstract concepts and benefit from concrete experiences.
- Focus on Independence: Montessori education encourages independence and self-directed learning, which can help children with autism develop important life skills and foster a sense of autonomy.
- Sensory Integration: The Montessori approach emphasizes sensory integration, which can be especially beneficial for children with autism who may have difficulty processing sensory information.
- Structured Environment: Montessori classrooms are structured and predictable, which can be reassuring and calming for children with autism who may struggle with change and uncertainty.
- Social Skills Development: Montessori classrooms provide opportunities for social interaction and collaboration, which can help children with autism develop social skills and build relationships with peers.
- Positive Reinforcement: Montessori education uses positive reinforcement and praise to encourage children to learn and grow, which is particularly effective for children with autism who may struggle with negative feedback.
- Multi-Sensory Approach: The Montessori method uses a multi-sensory approach to learning, which can help children with autism engage with and retain information more effectively.
- Emphasis on Practical Life Skills: Montessori education places a strong emphasis on practical life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening, which can help children with autism develop important life skills and increase their sense of competence.
- Child-Centered Approach: The Montessori approach is child-centered, which means that the focus is on the child's interests and needs. This can be particularly beneficial for children with autism who may have specific interests or learning styles that are not addressed in traditional classrooms.
Children in the spectrum have different needs and may require an aide to be with them at all times. So, while discussing the possibility of your autistic child being in the Montessori classroom, you should also focus on the child being able to normalize in the setting (after a certain period of time), and that there is an adequate number of staff that can be in the classroom when your child is attending school. The process of finding the right place for your child can be lengthy, but once you found the right place, you should stick with them. Good luck in finding the best school for your little one!
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