Autism Julie Williams Special Education Teacher Autism Specialist for MSD September 2012
What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
Autistic Disorder(also called "classic" autism)This is what most people think of when hearing the word "autism." People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
Asperger SyndromePeople with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called "atypical autism")People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.
What is Educational Autism? • A developmental Disability significantly affecting a child’s social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects learning and educational performance. -Wisconsin Eligibility Criteria -IDEA 2004
Prevalence of Autism • The Centers for Disease Control reports that the prevalence for Autism is 1in 88. • Boys are 5xmore likely to be diagnosed (1 in 54 for boys) • The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah. • The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.
How is Autism diagnosed • Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.
Causes and Risk Factors We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors
Causes and Risk Factors • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD. • Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD. • ASDs tend to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions. About 10% of children with ASDs also have been identified as having Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, or other genetic and chromosomal disorders. • When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs. • We know that the once common belief that poor parenting practices cause ASDs is not true. • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASDs occurs before birth • A small percentage of children who are born prematurely or with low birthweight are at greater risk for having ASDs.
Know the signs • Lack of or delay in spoken language • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects) • Little or no eye contact • Lack of interest in peer relationships • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play • Persistent fixation on parts of objects • Resistance to change or change in daily routine -Autism Society of America
Difficulties for individuals with Autism • Transitioning • Changes in routine. • Small range of interest • Level of fixation on one object or activity. • Communication
What we can do to help • Increase predictability of the day • Increase independence • Decrease inappropriate behavior • Decrease anxiety and frustrations • Follow Rules • Clear beginnings and Clear endings
Strengths of Individuals with Autism • Understand concrete concepts well. • Think in a visual way • Recall visual images and memories easily.** • Understand better when see it vs. hear it. • Understands concrete rules and sequences. • Be extremely focused if it is a desired task.
Sensory Processing Disorders • Most ASD individuals either under react or overreact to sensory stimuli(sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). Under react Not realizing how hot/cold something is. Overreact Humming of lights sounds like a freight train.
Sensory Adaptations • Natural lighting, lamp lighting. • Green is one of the most calming colors. • Allow the use of headphones when music is playing or the volume of the room is too loud. • Be aware of smells in your home(cologne, perfume, air fresheners, etc.) • Have a variety of different types of seating (bean bags, rocking chairs, balls, single leg stools, wiggle seats, pompazon chairs, etc.)
What can be done at home to support an ASD child. • Use communication that is less direct (e.g. puppets, funny voice, microphone, video yourself giving directions) • Be clear and precise (e.g. “pick your clothes up off the floor.” Instead of “Go clean your room.”
More helpful strategies….. • Incorporate visual supports (e.g., sign language, written language, visual timers) • Give as many communication opportunities as possible • Teach Alternative Communication to all individuals who have contact with the person with ASD. (e.g., yes/no cards, sign language ,picture cues, writing down communication etc..)
And Finally……….. • Questions • Video: The Power of Words by Judy Endow
Where to find this presentation • http://par.marinette.k12.wi.us/ • Click on staff pages • Click on Julie Williams • Click on presentations