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Introduction to Autism

Introduction to Autism

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Introduction to Autism

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  1. Introduction to Autism

  2. What is Autism? • Autism is a group of disorders. • People with autism have problems with • Communication • Relationships • Behavior • Symptoms of autism may be mild or severe

  3. The Autism Spectrum • This is a range of disorders ranging from mild to severe, including: • Autistic Disorder • Asperger’s Syndrome • Rhett Syndrome • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

  4. Causes • Researchers have identified two causes • Genetic mutation • Environmental toxins • There is no link between vaccines and autism.

  5. Frequency • Before the 1990s, 4-5 per 10,000 live births • 1990s, 1 in 1,000 • 2007, 1 in 150 • Better diagnosis • Genetic research

  6. Church Impact • Communication problems • Social functioning • Emotional control • Daily living skills • Behavior • Sensory problems • Ability to read and write

  7. Communication Problems • People with autism may be nonverbal • Some children might struggle with eye contact • Others may have trouble with non-literal language such as idioms • Participating in a conversation could be difficult • Those on the spectrum may have a preferred topic

  8. Communication Interventions • Use a visual communication system • Realize that these children may be listening without eye contact • Speak in concrete terms and avoid idioms and slang • Give prompts for replies in conversations • Relate lessons to preferred topics, or use this as a reward

  9. Social Functioning • People on the spectrum may not notice other people • They may struggle to carry on a conversation • Those with autism are brutally honest • Eye contact is difficult • New situations are especially challenging

  10. Social Interventions • These children can’t learn through observation • Proper behavior must be directly taught • Social skills lessons must be repeated often • Reminder cards may be used to teach social behavior • Social rules must be clear

  11. Emotional Control • Change may be very upsetting • Sensory issues may cause outbursts • Anticipate triggers • Teach peers how to act • Know when to call parents

  12. Emotional Interventions • Taking a walk • Distractions • Sensory interventions such as brushing • Preferred toy or object • Working through a prearranged coping plan • Quiet area to calm down

  13. Daily Living Skills • Hygiene is a big concern • Sensory issues may impact wardrobe • May not understand simple skills such as fixing a snack • May not process up to 60% of a conversation • Can take things very literally

  14. Daily Living Skills Interventions • Clear rules • How to dress for church • Greetings • Church behavior • Routines for leaving the house • Visual schedule • Visual reminders

  15. Behavior • Ask parents for behavior triggers • Reactions to sensory challenges can be mistaken for behavior problems • Preteaching is essential to prevention • Social stories • Reminders (cards, pictures, signals) • Look for reasons behind behaviors

  16. Behavior Interventions • Prevention is the best intervention • Calming down place • Positive self-talk • Sensory interventions • Consistency and routine

  17. Sensory Problems • Flickering fluorescent lighting • Echoing from microphone • Loud noises • Motion of others • Too many people • Clothing (tags, scratchy thread, etc.)

  18. Sensory Interventions • Quiet dark room • Headphones/hat/sunglasses • Brushing away from the heart • Squeeze balls • Weighted lap pad or vest • Wrap in a blanket

  19. Cautions • Consistency is important. • Final goal should be inclusion, not exclusion. • Use technology as a support and reinforcer for personal interactions. • Don’t rely on technology as a babysitter. • Overuse of technology can lead to social withdrawal.

  20. Questions? • http://lds.org/disability • http://www.ldsability.org • http://lynndparsons.com