Homework is a task that can sometimes be stressful for parents and their children to get through. For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), homework can often be more difficult than enjoyable. If you have a child with ASD you are likely sitting down with them to help them complete any homework assignments after they come home from school. Similar to daily routines that can help your child with ASD thrive, a homework routine can also do the same. To ease the process, and reduce stress, consider some of these useful homework strategies that can improve how homework is done.
Designated Homework Area
The first step in creating an easy homework routine is finding a comfortable area in your home and making it a designated homework space. This space should be an open, quiet location, with limited distractions. Whether it’s in a quiet living space, or at a desk in your child’s room, this area should be a separate space from any general household commotion. Keep in mind, if the chosen homework space is in your child’s room, make sure the area is clutter free and any other major distractions are removed. Once you have decided on the space, set it up with the necessary materials needed (pencils, erasers, colored markers, calculator, etc.).
Establish a Time and Task Schedule
An essential part of a homework routine is establishing a homework time and task schedule. Your homework time should be generally the same each day, so your child knows when to expect to sit down and get things done. Once the time is established, build out a task schedule to organize everything that needs to get done each day. This can be done in various ways and can be customized to how your child works best. For example, you may find your child focuses best at the beginning of homework time, so you may set the more difficult assignments for the beginning. On the opposite end, if it takes your child a little while to begin to focus, you may want to get the easy ones out of the way first.
Set Goals and Incentives
Incentives are a great way to keep your child motivated, and help them reach their goals; again, this is something that can be customized based on your child’s personality. In some cases, using the potential for a good grade is a great incentive. In other cases, you may use a fun activity, such as a game or playing outside as another incentive. Either way, find what motivates your child best, and teach them that reaching their homework goals first will bring positive rewards later on.
Take Breaks When Needed
Some days, homework time may be easy, while others, it may be stressful and more difficult. Know when to take breaks and come back to what you’re doing. Children with ASD may have a more difficult time focusing for long periods. Scheduled breaks can help bring the focus back to the homework tasks without completely breaking your schedule. Depending on how your child focuses, frequent breaks may be required, or you can use a break following the completion of an assignment of activity.