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Right, I said I’d do a follow up thread for what happened after this incident yesterday, so this is today’s second thread on how #teachers can be more specific to help #autistic students understand what you’re asking them to do. #EduTwitter 1/
The second thing that caused a Fairy meltdown yesterday was the art teacher asking the students to choose ‘a famous painting’ from google image search. She said it could be any painting, it didn’t matter what they chose. 2/
Most people would think that giving a free choice like this would be easier than setting specific parameters by which to choose.

Not so if you’re autistic. The choice is too wide, and it’s overwhelming. 3/
Fairy doesn’t even know how to *begin* to make that choice. She doesn’t know which factors she needs to consider when making her choice. A painting she likes? A particular style? Lots of colours? 4/
She asks the teacher, who says it doesn’t matter what she chooses. But remember Fairy is already worried about getting things wrong, already paranoid that there’s a hidden meaning to what the teacher is saying that she hasn’t picked up on, because that has been her experience. 5/
To help Fairy understand how to choose, she needs to understand what parameters to put around that choice.

For her to accept that it didn’t matter which painting she chose, she had to understand WHY it didn’t matter. 6/
I explained to F that the teacher wanted them to use a painting to practice making digital image adjustments, to see what effect the changes have on how the painting comes across to a viewer.

So, the only thing that mattered was comparing the original to the new version. 7/
Once F understood the purpose of the exercise, she was able to accept that there wasn’t any hidden meaning she wasn’t picking up on, and the anxiety that was preventing her from choosing abated enough for her to choose a painting she liked, with a bit of support from me. 8/
#Autistic students will almost certainly need much more specific instructions than NT students. They may need to understand the context of what they’re doing in order that they can focus in on the detail. 9/
And they may be so used to misinterpreting things that they are constantly on the look out for hidden meanings, or assume they’ve got it wrong when they haven’t. Or like Fairy, they may need every scrap of information available in order to make the best possible decision. /end
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