Teaching the Quran to autistic children
Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that affects a person’s development and is caused by differences in the brain. It usually appears before the age of 3 and continues throughout one’s life. People with autism may have unique behaviors, communication patterns, social interactions, and learning approaches compared to the general population.
For parents of children with autism, there are specific strategies to help them learn the Quran. To engage your autistic child in Quranic education, you can show them deep affection, improve their communication abilities, start with foundational Arabic concepts, give clear and audible instructions, use visual cues for comprehension, and more. These methods can be integrated into your daily Quranic sessions with your autistic child. You can find further insights and detailed exploration of these strategies here.
Here are 9 strategies for teaching the Quran to autistic children:
1. Foster a strong affection towards the child:
It’s important to cultivate a love for the Quran in children, and this is particularly important when teaching autistic children. The teachings of the Quran should inspire a deep affection for the scripture in the child’s heart. Regardless of their circumstances, the child should feel encouraged to recite and learn the Quran, just like any other child.
2. Enhance the child’s communication abilities:
Autism can affect a child’s communication skills in various ways. Teachers can use communication boards, symbols, or the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to enable nonverbal expression. Speech Generating Devices can also help in communication. Teachers proficient in sign language can utilize it effectively to enhance the communication skills of autistic children.
3. Teach the child fundamental Arabic:
The first step in helping a child recite the Quran beautifully is to teach them fundamental Arabic. As the child learns Arabic letters and begins to articulate words, the teacher can witness and appreciate their progress.
4. Ensure clear audibility:
When teaching Quranic recitation to autistic children, it is important to speak clearly so that the child can hear the instruction. The child may not readily communicate if they are struggling to hear the words.
5. Use a gentle tone:
Islamic teachings encourage speaking and praying in a moderate tone. Speaking loudly contradicts proper etiquette and may distress autistic children. Teachers should maintain a gentle and calming tone to create a safe and secure learning environment.
6. Utilize gestures:
Using signs and gestures can be an effective method for teaching autistic children. The teacher can guide the child to pay attention to words and signs, helping them understand their meanings. Encouraging vocalization is also crucial, as Quranic recitation involves vocal expression.
7. Limit physical contact:
Due to difficulties in interpreting body language and touch, it is advisable to minimize physical contact when teaching autistic children. Limiting physical interaction is preferred in their instruction.
8. Repeat instructions frequently:
Teaching the Quran to autistic children requires patience and time. Unlike typical instruction, which may take an hour, teaching autistic children may take more time. Teachers should repeat Quranic verses as many times as necessary to facilitate understanding and retention.
9. Maintain consistency in teaching methods:
Developing a structured teaching plan is important for instructing autistic children. Once a plan is established, it is crucial to stick to it consistently. Frequent changes to the teaching approach can disrupt the child’s learning process.
Which Surah is Most Beneficial for Autism?
Surah Al-Ikhlas has shown to be particularly beneficial in enhancing the self-monitoring skills of autistic children. By reciting this surah, autistic children have exhibited improved abilities to listen not only to their own voices but also to others during regular conversations, leading to enhanced sound quality and communication skills. The concise yet profound message of the oneness of God in this Quranic verse appears to contribute positively to the auditory and communication development of children with autism.