Understanding Students with Autism By Adrianna Gette
Defining Autism • Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. • Autism is the severe form of a broader group of disorders referred to as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). These include : Rhett's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not specified.
Autism’s Characteristics • Autism has seven distinct characteristics: • Atypical language development • Atypical social development • Repetitive behavior • Problem Behavior • Need for environmental predictability • Sensory and movement disorders • Differences in intellectual functioning
Determining Causes • Causes are unknown. Current research is focusing in areas such as brain development, structure, genetic factors and biochemical imbalance in the brain. Not caused by psychological factors. • Between 2-6 per 100 children (1-500 to 1-150) have some form of Autism/PDD. • Four times more common in boys than girls
Evaluating Students with Autism • Children initially diagnosed with Autism in early childhood • Diagnostic Tools: • Autism Diagnostic Interview • Functional Behavioral assessment
Designing an IEP for students with Autism • Collaborative and positive family-school partnerships are essential • Supplementary aids and services • Planning for Universal design for learning • Other educational needs
Effective instructional strategies • Social stories • Positive behavior support • Applied behavior analysis
Inclusion tips • Autistic children have lowest rate of inclusion in general education classes • Strategies: • Help peers to understand behavior • Pair student with students that understand her preferred communication method • Provide opportunities for peer tutoring with visual images and music
Assessment and Accommodations • Progress in general curriculum • The Autism Screening Instrument for Educational Planning (ASIEP-2) • Most common subtest is the Autism behavior Checklist which is a screening tool to help identify the need for further assessment with regard to the presence of autism • Accommodations: Provide an examiner that is familiar to the child and who’s had positive interactions with child. This minimizes the students anxiety and stress related to testing.
Resources • Turnbull, Ann, Turnbull, Rud & Wehmeyer, Michael L. (2007). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. • http://www.sutism-society.org