Stages of learning in children with autism spectrum disorder

Stages Of Learning In Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Stages of learning in children with autism spectrum disorder

translation: Ashwaq Al-Anzi

The learning process is a continuous and integrated process that occurs when the child interacts with new information, assimilates it, and puts it in a mental context. In order for the learning process to be achieved effectively, The child must go through four main stages:

  • Acquisition
  • Fluency
  • Governorate
  • Generalization

These phases are essential for achieving a deep understanding and using information correctly in different situations. One of the basic concepts in the field of applied behavior analysis and the framework of interventions and supports for positive behavior is the basis of the stages of learning. The goal of education and training is to help children progress through the stages to promote generalization of skills. The first of these phases is Acquisition stage At this stage, The child learns about new concepts and information and tries to understand and assimilate them.

The child is at this stage when he receives information from the outside. Whether through school, books or multimedia. In order to build a correct understanding, The individual must be prepared to listen, read and observe carefully.

Then comes the second stage, which is the fluency stage At this stage, The child begins to apply the information he has learned in practical life. Until the child is able to use information skillfully and derive benefits from it in specific situations and problems. For example, After the child learns the rules of the language, he can use them to speak correctly and clearly, or after he learns ways to solve mathematical problems, he can solve equations easily.

Then comes the third stage, which is maintenance At this stage, The child consolidates the concepts and information acquired in the first and second stages. The child continually practices and repeats the use and application of information. Continuous exercise contributes to confirming the information and consolidating it in the child’s memory.

finally, The child moves to the fourth stage, which is: Generalization stage. At this stage, The child is able to use the information acquired in different contexts and situations. This means being able to use the concept or information in new and unfamiliar situations. At this stage, the child is able to deal with different challenges and build on their foundations to gain more experience and learning.

Briefly, We can say that the four stages of learning mentioned (acquisition, fluency, maintenance, Generalization represents basic stages in the learning process. When the child is able to pass all these stages successfully, He gains deep understanding and is able to use the information effectively and reliably in his life.

How does a child with autism spectrum disorder learn?

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior in children diagnosed with it. Given that learning is an essential part of children’s development, It can be challenging for children with autism spectrum disorder. A child with normal development goes through the stages of learning automatically and naturally, and in most cases there is no need to intervene and ensure that they are proceeding correctly. There is no need for extensive training and repetition of the skill that has been taught to the child.

While the opposite is true when training or teaching a child with autism spectrum disorder, The parent or specialist may face difficulty in generalizing the skill in the child (the ability to perform the skill in more than one place or model, or with different people). Or he may lose the skill that was previously taught to the child, Or he may perform the skill correctly and completely.

Many specialists or families may ignore that when a child learns, he goes through stages or phases of learning that enable him to perform or learn more effectively. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of and know these stages in order to emphasize them during training and to verify that the education or training process was carried out in a correct manner and to make the correct evaluation of the child’s acquisition of the skill or goal to be taught. Although learning is challenging for children with autism spectrum disorder, However, the learning process can also be enhanced by providing the right environment and receiving appropriate support from parents, school and specialized professionals. By understanding their learning stages and motivating them through appropriate methods, Providing effective learning opportunities to achieve sustainable progress and development for children with autism spectrum disorder.


Simonson, Myers (2019). A framework of interventions and supports for positive behavior at the classroom level. (Dar Al-Kitab Al-Taribi, translated). Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dar Al-Kitab Al-Taribi for Publishing and Distribution. (Original work published in 2015)

Simonsen, B., & Myers, D. (2015). Classwide positive behavior interventions and supports: A guide to proactive classroom management. The Guilford Press.