Autistic Tutoring

tutor working with young student

Autistic tutoring can enhance an autism treatment program and help your child make progress in skill areas that need extra work. An autism tutor with specialized training can help a child improve in language, communication, social interaction and academics. Learn about autistic tutoring and find out how it can benefit your child.

Role of Autistic Tutors

Autistic tutors are generally certified teachers, student teachers seeking certification, consultants or therapists who are specially trained to work with students with autism. Many autistic tutors specialize in a particular autism treatment method, such as applied behavioral analysis, and have received training or certification in that specialty. There are also special education tutors who have experience working with autism students in a variety of treatment methods.

An autistic tutor generally provides one-to-one tutoring to help a student with autism work on aspects of an autism treatment program and academic subjects. A tutor can be especially helpful if focused work is needed in a problem area.

Benefits of Autistic Tutoring

According to a 2007 University of Southampton study in the UK, one-to-one tutoring can significantly improve the IQ of autistic children, especially young children. The two-year study compared a group of toddlers who received intensive one-to-one tutoring as part an early intensive behavioral intervention (EDI) program to a control group of toddlers who standard therapy interventions. The toddlers who received intensive one-to-one tutoring progressed significantly faster than the control group. In some cases, toddlers in the EDI program improved their IQ by 40 points after two years of intensive tutoring.

Autistic tutoring can be beneficial if you need expert help in a certain area of a home-based autism treatment program. Home autism programs may require hiring therapists, teachers and tutors in a number of autism specialty areas.

The tutor also expands your child's social circle, helping improve social skills.

Peer Tutoring and Autism

Some schools use peer tutoring to encourage social interaction and communication as part of an inclusion program. The teacher will match an autistic student with a nonautistic (neurotypical) student. In a structured teaching setting, the teacher will assign the neurotypical student to the role of tutor and the autistic student to the role of tutee to go over specific tasks during the session. The idea is that the peer interaction will improve the autistic student's social skills, language, two-way communication, a better understanding of others' reactions and socially appropriate behavior.

If you want to know more about peer tutoring, read the 1985 May Institute Study.

Online Autistic Tutoring

Online autistic tutoring programs can be a convenient option for home autism programs. Your child can work at her own pace. Online tutoring programs may also appeal to a child who enjoys working on the computer. Sometimes these programs are also more affordable than hiring an individual tutor. Online tutoring can also be used while you search for the right tutor so that your child can still make progress in any problem area.

Examples of online tutoring program include:

  • Tutorvista: The Tutorvista site has a tutoring program options especially for autistic students as well as general tutoring services for nonautistic students. The site allows instant tutoring sessions or scheduled sessions in a large number of subject areas. The program uses an interactive whiteboard (like those in classrooms) to work on tasks, which creates a helpful visual aid for students during the tutoring session. Tutorvista requires a subscription for access.
  • Tutorzilla: Tutorzilla is a general online tutoring program for students in kindergarten through college level. Although the program is not designed specifically for students with autism, it is autism user-friendly. Students schedule sessions and can pay per session or subscribe for a flat rate to have unlimited access.

Online Resources for Autistic Tutoring

The Internet has numerous source to learn about autistic tutoring and online educational programs. Helpful online resources include:

  • Autism Tutors: The Autistic Tutors site has helpful advice and a directory of qualified tutors. They also have a database of parents searching for tutors and tutors looking for work.
  • UC Santa Cruz: The University of California Santa Cruz site has an informative article about psychology professor Dominic Massaro, who developed an animated tutoring software that has improve language and reading skills in autistic students.
  • Zac Browser: The Zac browser, which is designed specifically for children with autism, has both educational and play activities. The browser helps autistic students safely browse the Internet


Autistic tutoring can make a significant difference in a student with autism's development and education. Research options carefully so that you can find the right tutor or tutoring program for your child.

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