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Last Updated on April 28, 2021 by Steph Reed
It can be challenging to engage any child if they are not interested.
It can be even harder to engage children with autism if they are not motivated.

A child must want to take part in a teaching activity otherwise it will be difficult to engage and keep their attention in order for learning to take place.

One way of engaging a child’s attention is to use the things they are already interested in during learning activities. You will have to be really creative in finding different ways of using the child’s interests! Here are some examples:

A Child Who Loves Messy Play:

Messy play can be used for so many different learning activities! Different language, sign and core vocabulary can by modelled and learnt (i.e. “let’s pour water in the bowl”), number concepts can be taught (i.e. counting, adding etc. with the addition of different objects), colours, scientific concepts (i.e. mixing/ changing materials), life skills such as cleaning hands (and bodies if it’s really messy!) and lots more.
messy play asdteacher

A Child Who Loves Specific Cartoon Or Film Characters:

Use the characters in any way to get the child’s attention. Here are some photos of some characters used in learning activities. The children were learning concepts such as identifying and matching pictures and photos and learning the concept of ‘big’ and ‘small’.

I would love to see some of the ways that you have used a child’s interests in learning to keep them engaged and motivated!

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Steph Reed

Hi I’m Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher and Consultant. I teach schools, service and families practical ways to meet the needs of autistic children, to maximise their outcomes.

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