How do I Teach Kids With Autism to Cross the Street?

Updated March 23, 2017

Due to the nature of their disorder, autistic children often have a more difficult time effectively interacting with the world around them. Depending upon the severity of their infliction, these children may struggle with simple tasks such as safely crossing the street. To ensure that these children do not end up in harm's way, parents and educators must dedicate time to ensuring that they can complete these simple life tasks. With dedication and adherence to a strict training plan, individuals looking to teach these lessons can increase the likelihood of ultimately being successful in their quest.

Discuss street crossing with the child. Determine what the child already knows about the practice of crossing the street by asking her what you should do when you cross the street. Explain the dangers of improper street crossing to the child to ensure that she fully understands why the information you are providing is valuable.

Gather visual aids to use when demonstrating street-crossing procedures. Obtain a movie or video that shows a child or adult properly crossing the road. Purchase a set of posters that explains the process of looking both ways several times before crossing. Draw the learner's attention to these aids to assist her in beginning to understand the process.

Create a virtual street for the children to use in practicing the proper procedure. Use tape to create a road in your room or outside. Treat the virtual road as if it were a real road, and allow the child to use it as a practice area to move through the road-crossing procedures before taking to the actual street.

Practice repeatedly for several days or weeks. The more you practice this procedure, the more likely the child is to commit the steps to memory. Leave your virtual road set up, and revisit it regularly to allow for practice.

Allow the child to practice the learnt procedure on an actual street. Stand next to the child to ensure his safety and let him try the procedure in the real world. Remind the child of the street-crossing procedure if he misses a step to ensure that he commits the full process to memory.

Review the procedure again to clarify any confusion if necessary. Continue to practice until the child has mastered the procedure. After mastery, revisit the process several times to ensure that the learner retains his knowledge of the procedure.

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About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.