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Autism and activities to learn spatial concepts

Spatial concepts are concepts that describe the position of one object in relation to another. These concepts are important as the child gradually learns to organise and understand the concept of space and develops the ability to relate spatial relationships and geometric concepts in everyday life.

Activities related to more abstract and/or mathematical concepts are difficult for Flora and students with ASC.

In a previous post we have mentioned how combining Maths with play and fun(see here), as well as organizing activities with a purpose( see here), makes the activity more engaging.

To combine learning spatial concepts with play and a purpose, we organized an activity related to decorating the Christmas tree.

1.Choosing the concepts

It is important, when planning an activity that aims to teach and new abstract concepts, to choose 2-4 new concepts, depending on the cognitive level of the student. In this way, we avoid exposing the student to many unfamiliar concepts that may lead to discomfort, a feeling of failure or avoidance of the activity. In this particular case, Flora is learning the concept of up, down, left, right.

2. Making the activity purposeful

It is important that the activity has a purpose that the student can understand and is relevant to them. In this way the activity becomes more attractive to the learner as they can understand what they have to do and why. And what could be more attractive than decorating the Christmas tree, more information can be found here.

3. Using symbols

As in any educational activity, it is important to have symbols. As well as new concepts, it is important to have symbols for the objects we will be using and the instructions the pupil will need to follow, for example 'place' 'ornament'.

4. Encouraging communication - interaction

Every activity we plan is good to include opportunities for the student to communicate with us, and vice versa. In this case, we ask the student to choose the colour of the ornament they want, and where they would like to place it. Depending on the student's abilities, each step may need to be done with adult support.

5. Having fun

As our activity is meant to be fun and enjoyable, it is important as adults to act as role models and share enjoyment with the student.


We will share more tips and activities in the future, so keep visiting us.

We are looking forward to hearing your views and experiences.

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