Learning to Code for Children with Autism

One of the beauties of education is its continued evolution. What we teach our child must adapt to the skills required to become an independent member of society. A new focus on computer science skills and coding has taken the center stage for many children in school. 

That’s hardly a surprise, considering the ever-expanding need for skilled developers, analysts, and coders in just about every modern industry. For children on the autism spectrum, this is an especially exciting opportunity for a potential career path. In this post, we’ll discuss coding education’s potential for children with autism. 

Demand for Coders

The demand for employees with coding skills has only grown in recent years, as more companies and nonprofits shift their focus and investments into their technology and applications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than 1.3 million job openings that require computer science skills by the year 2022. This fares well for the students of schools that are incorporating coding and computer science into their curriculum. 

On top of that, the tech industry can often involve more numbers and more independent work than social interaction. It also values structure, and more often than not- flexible working environments. This can be a great fit for adults on the spectrum interested in technology, coding, or mathematics. Some companies even have programs built to hire candidates on the spectrum, like Microsoft.

Skills Beyond Career

Like with other fruitful forms of education, the skills learned when coding tend to go beyond their intended use. Learning to code opens the door to some other helpful skills for your child on the spectrum. Coding education is deeply rooted in concepts that can be incredibly useful in your child’s other educational pursuits, for example:

  • Coding is creative problem solving- Coding is problem solving in the form of organized and project based work. It allows people to think in a different language, and requires out of the box solutions. It can serve as a great way to marry your child’s creativity with their desire for structure and order.
  • Coding work is fragmented and sequential- Coding projects might require several people working on a variety of levels, then coming together to make the final product. This type of teamwork lends itself to children on the spectrum who may face challenges with social communication.
  • Coding can align interests- Many children on the spectrum become hyper focused on things that interest them. Many of those same children are also fascinated by technology. Coding allows for an intersection of these interests by teaching your child how to work with what makes technology tick. 

Whether it’s the appeal of problem solving or simply the aspiration to work in tech, it’s important to show your child how coding can become a viable hobby and career path.

Getting Started with Coding

If you’re interested in getting your child started with coding education, be sure to check in with their school to see if it’s offered as part of the curriculum, an elective or even a club. If it isn’t, seek classes outside of school or turn to the internet for some guidance on resources. There are plenty of coding books and apps available for free that build a solid baseline for beginners. Try learning the basics with your child to ensure you can help them understand. Encouragement on any new interest can go a long way toward their eventual success.


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