Teaching autistic children to learn and do work independently is difficult. How can we find someone who thinks outside of the box (to learn) and helps those children be motivated to learn when there is not necessarily intrinsic learning value (set up reward or motivation system).
How do you find a tutor that can work well with children who have autism? In all school subjects
I think the first thing to do is make a list of the qualities that you're looking for. Inquire with the child's school about possible therapists that could be of assistance. I agree that you will get a good sense of the person when you interview them. The key is to see if they match your list and have a good interaction with your child. When you need a therapist to work with an autistic child the key is to find a match with the child.
I would also investigate programs offered in private schools for children with autism. Often there may be more leeway in a private program to "think outside the box" considering the motivations and special interests of individual students to structure a program. Possibly professionals involved with these programs may know of tutors who would be qualified to work with children on the autism spectrum. I hope that this bit of information might help you.
Finding a teacher or therapist that has a good connection with children in general is a good start. Each child is so very different, and when you add a special need, such as autism, the more specialized attention a tutor can give the better the experience. Not saying there is an easy way to find a good match, but I believe you will have a pretty good idea of what type of connection is there upon the first meeting. Experience with children in general is a plus!
I have done some research in this area and have discovered that American Sign Language might be a useful bridge to learning for Autistic children. Standard language and communication avenues, will not work, but using alternative methods, such as American Sign Language (ASL), might be very effective.
My first step would be to talk to the school. In New York the psychologist's or social worker's role is to help the students and parents find what they need. They can be a great resource. Most schools also may employ a consultant that can help you get what you need. In New York students with Autism are entitled to get an in-home tutor. This can be very helpful for parent training as well.
One thing that I would look for in a tutor is someone who has fun. A great motivator is making each session fun. Ask for recommendations from your local Autism Speaks chapter. Search online for other groups that support Autism in your area. There are many organizations out there so be careful who you talk to. Interview the tutor and make sure to gauge their knowledge as well as their enthusiasm.
Hope this is helpful. Let me know how you do in finding someone.
I would go to the experts: in your area (NC), that would be UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, and likely several others. Look at the online course offerings and find contacts for "Special Education" (or similar) courses. The email/call them and get recommendations. Also, many K-12 public schools have experts in these areas - check school websites and/or contact schools directly and ask.
I agree with you about being wary of reward systems - I think you mean to say you want intrinsic (internal to the person) but not extrinsic (from external sources) rewards. Research has shown that extrinsic rewards may actually reduce intrinsic rewards, which is the opposite of what you want to happen. But be careful about too far "outside the box" - there are many charlatains who will be happy to take you for a ride down questionable paths... Trying unproven solutions when a child's future is at stake is not where I would feel comfortable. Good hunting!