Coding for autistic kids is more than an activity to stay busy. It’s an effective tool to teach a variety of skills and provide a promising career path. Research has shown that learning how to program and continuing to do so has many cognitive benefits. As for the question, is coding good for autism, know that most autistic kids are natural-born coders! These children are often logical thinkers who prefer structure and predictability – all qualities of expert computer programmers. So, if you’re interested to learn all the reasons why coding is great for autistic kids, keep reading.
Coding Is Logical
Kids with autism are generally left-brain dominant, which means they process logical concepts better than abstract ones. This natural tendency is one of the reasons autistic kids do well in subjects such as mathematics and science. Therefore, such children can also do well in coding, which is deeply rooted in mathematics and logic. Also, coding has structure, defined rules, repetition, and order without assumptions or hidden messages. This is the kind of environment in which kids on the spectrum feel the most comfortable. The idea that specific inputs produce predictable outputs is the foundation of coding. Autistic kids are more inclined to take an interest because this logic makes sense to them. But coding is not just logic. There is also a great deal of English reading and writing because of the syntax. Therefore coding helps literacy.
Coding Teaches Problem Solving
Any set of instructions that solves a problem is a code. So when kids learn how to code, they are learning three things. Firstly, they learn how to break a big problem into smaller, manageable parts. Secondly, they understand how to study each smaller problem, taking all aspects and organizing the data. And finally, they learn how to devise a set of steps to solve that problem. This problem-solving process eventually filters through to other aspects of their life. Soon they are using the same steps to handle other problems they face in their daily activities effectively. Learning to code is also learning how to think.
Coding Improves Creativity
Coding for autistic kids is great because, despite being highly structured, it’s also very creative. This is because there are often multiple ways to solve a problem, which allows for different interpretations. For kids on the autistic spectrum, coding gives a structured freedom. So they can explore and think outside the box without getting overwhelmed or confused by too many options. Autistic kids also learn flexibility. Seeing the same result from different sets of instructions shows there is more than one way to approach a problem. Coding also teaches autistic kids that there isn’t one solution for all problems. Yes, there are defined rules, but they can use them differently to solve different coding situations.
Coding Improves Spatial Thinking
Coding teaches you how to organize and manipulate data in a way that provides the results you need. Many autistic kids already have a need to be organized. Coding utilizes and hones that skill. Spatial thinking also improves visualization skills for an autistic child. Coding is also about taking the available data, thinking about all possible outcomes, and picturing how they will succeed or fail. They also need to be able to imagine potential errors and come up with ways to avoid them. The more they code, the more these skills improve.
Coding Boosts Self Confidence
One of the most gratifying aspects of coding is it gets easier the more you learn. Each successful run of your code will put a smile on your face because what you create works. Autistic children will get the same kind of satisfaction which boosts their self-esteem and confidence. It’s a positive feedback loop that will encourage them to continue coding. This boost can also come after their codes fail. Handling failures is usually difficult for kids on the autistic spectrum. Coding teaches them that failing is part of the process. Instead of becoming sad and angry, they will learn to go back and check their work. They will look for and rectify the mistakes until they succeed. By overcoming this hurdle, they will feel good about themselves.
Coding Improves Social Skills
For autistic kids who struggle in social settings, coding projects with others can help them develop their social skills. By providing a defined objective, they learn to interact with others without the social niceties and cues that are often lost on them. As they work with others to solve the problem at hand, kids with autism learn how to communicate more effectively, listen to others, share, collaborate and ask questions. Project-based coding for autistic kids introduces them to handling conflicts because there will be disagreements as they work with others. This allows them to navigate their feelings in a more controlled environment and teaches them the importance of listening to others.
Coding Makes Kids With Autism Tech Savvy
Learning how to code makes autistic kids more comfortable with technology in general because one aspect of coding is learning how computational systems work. With this understanding, these kids are more likely to pick up and explore devices like iPads and laptops, increasing their proficiency. Being comfortable with technology in today’s world is vital as it has become a regular part of modern life.
Coding Opens Career Doors
Autistic kids who enjoy coding can make a comfortable living out of it. Coding is still one of the most critical job skills out there because every business in every industry is moving towards computer systems. With this tech move, the demand for skilled coders will continue to increase, which is why programming courses are so prevalent. It’s never too early to think about your child’s future. Investing in practical skills like coding is a great way to start. Coding is a universal skill. It can translate to a job in any part of the world. And with the rise of work-from-home setups, those with autism who know how to code have much better chances of finding employment.
From problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity to organization, patience, and communication, there is a long list of skills gained from coding. Autistic kids can take each of these that they learn in a computer lab and apply it to their lives in the real world. With a bit of practice and determination, they can shine, showing off their true potential. Skill Samurai is a kids’ coding school with an after-school care program that introduces coding to kids. If you want your kid to develop coding skills via face-to-face learning, get in touch with us today!