Disability Resource Notebook Brytnei Rocha. What is Autism?. Definition of Autism.
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Autism can be defined as a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
There is no known single cause for autism but is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function.
Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU).
Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.
There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the individual's communication, behavior, and developmental levels. However, because many of the behaviors associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms being exhibited
Many children diagnosed with autism suffer from heavy metal toxicity. Chelation therapy involves the use of chelating drugs which bind to and remove heavy metals from the body
Speech therapy services focus on enhancing or restoring limited or lost communicative skills or swallowing capabilities lost due to injury, disease, aging or congenital abnormality
Vision therapy is based on the fact that vision is learned. The ability to see and correctly interpret what is seen does not appear automatically at birth. It develops over a lifetime and is shaped by the experiences a person has.
1).People with autism have trouble with organizational skills , regardless of their intelligence and/or age. Even a "straight A" student with autism who has a photographic memory can be incapable of remembering to bring a pencil to class or of remembering a deadline for an assignment. In such cases, aid should be provided in the least restrictive way possible. Strategies could include having the student put a picture of a pencil on the cover of his notebook or maintaining a list of assignments to be completed at home. Always praise the student when he remembers something he has previously forgotten. Never denigrate or "harp" at him when he fails. A lecture on the subject will not only NOT help, it will often make the problem worse. He may begin to believe he can not remember to do or bring these things.
2). People with autism have problems with abstract and conceptual thinking. Some may eventually acquire abstract skills, but others never will. When abstract concepts must be used, use visual cues, such as drawings or written words, to augment the abstract idea. Avoid asking vague questions such as, "Why did you do that?" Instead, say, "I did not like it when you slammed your book down when I said it was time for gym. Next time put the book down gently and tell me you are angry.
3). An increase in unusual or difficult behaviors probably indicates an increase in stress. Sometimes stress is caused by feeling a loss of control. Many times the stress will only be alleviated when the student physically removes himself from the stressful event or situation. If this occurs, a program should be set up to assist the student in re-entering and/or staying in the stressful situation. When this occurs, a "safe-place" or "safe-person" may come in handy.
4). Do not take misbehavior personally. The high-functioning person with autism is not a manipulative, scheming person who is trying to make life difficult.They are seldom, if ever, capable of being manipulative. Usually misbehavior is the result of efforts to survive experiences which may be confusing, disorienting or frightening. People with autism are, by virtue of their disability, egocentric. Most have extreme difficulty reading the reactions of others
5). Avoid verbal overload. Be clear. Use shorter sentences if you perceive that the student is not fully understanding you. Although he probably has no hearing problem and may be paying attention, he may have difficulty understanding your main point and identifying important information
O.A.S.I.S (print off)
Assistive Technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This definition is broad and includes a range of devices from low technology to high technology items as well as software.
The following can be used to help assist Autistic children.
With this device, which is more expensive than others listed here, you can customize the icon sheets, as well as the recorded phrases. This allows the user to say complete sentences
instead of one word phrases.
A trackball can be used in place of a mouse and uses a rolling stationary ball to move the cursor instead of having to moving a mouse across a mouse pad. This allows children to more accurately position the cursor and the left and right mouse buttons are generally easier to use on a trackball.
Therapy brushes can be used as part of the sensory diet for kids with sensory integration issues. Using them before play or any interaction can increase concentration and assist in the learning process.
1). In a series of steps to create an inclusive classroom environment, M.A. Prater (2003), lists elements relating to teacher attitude as the first two steps. The first step to a successful inclusive environment, according to Prater, is to set a positive tone for the classroom, and focus on the strengths and abilities of the students, not just their areas of weakness; the second step is to believe in the student, as well as yourself as a teacher.
2). Focus on Interests \Whenever possible, educators should use interests, strengths, skills, areas of expertise, and gifts as tools for teaching. For instance, student strength areas can be used to facilitate relationships. Some students who find conversation and “typical” ways of socializing a challenge, are amazingly adept at connecting with others when the interaction occurs in relation to an activity or favorite interest. One of my former students, Patrick, had few friendships and seldom spoke to other students until a new student came into the classroom wearing a Star Wars tee-shirt. Patrick's face lit up upon seeing the shirt and he began bombarding the newcomer with questions and trivia about his favorite film. The new student, eager to make a friend, began bringing pieces of his science fiction memorabilia to class. Eventually, the two students struck up a friendship related to their common interest and even formed a lunch club where students gathered to play trivia board games related to science fiction films.
People on the spectrum can have problems with abstract and conceptual thinking. Some may eventually acquire a few or even many abstract skills, but others never will. Avoid abstract ideas when possible. When abstract concepts must be used, use visual cues, such as gestures, or written words to augment the abstract idea.
Prepare the student for all environmental and/or routine changes, such as assembly, substitute teacher, rescheduling, etc. Use his written or visual schedule to prepare for change.
Considerations in Teaching More Advanced Students with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Other Pervasive Developmental DisordersBy Susan Moreno, Mary Anne Neiner, and Carol O’NealIn this guide, the three terms used above will be referenced as “AS” or “the spectrum.”
Here teacher’s will learn about inclusion in the classroom, positive attitudes and teaching tips to help autistic children.
This is about helping new teacher’s learn to work with autistic children and provides information on how to make a comfortable and safe environment.
Teacher’s will use several different steps to help train autistic children in organization skills.
Wings Learning Center
This is about helping mainstream autistic children for the regular education teacher. It guides you with several tips for dealing with autistic children.
This website offers tips and strategies on how to teach students with Autism
1) Know Your Child
Few autistic children are intentionally "bad." Many have difficult behaviors. So what's going on? Each child is different, and knowing your own child is key to taking action. Is your child extra-sensitive to sound and light? Does she need lots of sensory input? Is he likely to misunderstand a close approach? The more you know, the easier it is to troubleshoot a situation.
2) Modify Your Expectations
Your mother may have expected you to sit still through a full dinner hour. But that's not a reasonable expectation for most children with autism. Consider starting with a smaller goal -- sitting still for three minutes, eating with a fork, or whatever you think he can handle -- and building toward the larger goal of sitting through a full meal.
3) Modify the Environment
Safety is key. And for autistic children, creating a safe environment is a challenge. Since so many of your child's behaviors may have the potential to be dangerous, it's important to take precautions such as bolting shelves to the walls and floor, putting a dead bolt on the front door, and latching cabinets securely. One About.com reader even put plexiglass on the fronts of bookshelves to keep her child from climbing
4) Consider the Possible Sources of the Behavior
Many children on the autism spectrum either crave or over-respond to sensory input. Some alternate between the two extremes. Very often, "bad" behavior is actually a reaction to too much or too little sensory input. By carefully observing your child, you may be able to figure out what's setting him off.
5) Remove Overwhelming Sensory Input
If your child is over-reacting to sensory input, there are many ways to change the situation. Of course, the first option is to simply avoid overwhelming sensory settings such as parades, amusement parks and the like. When that's not an option, consider ear plugs, distracting sensory toys, or plain old bribery to get through difficult moments.
If your child is crashing into couches, climbing the walls or spinning in circles, chances are she's craving sensory input. You can provide that in any number of more appropriate ways. Some people recommend bear hugs; other suggest squeezing youngsters between sofa cushions, rolling them up like "hot dogs" in blankets, or providing them with weighted vests or quilts.
7) Look for Positive Outlets for Unusual Behaviors
While climbing the entertainment center may be "bad" behavior, climbing at a rock gym can be a great way to build muscles and friendships at the same time. While spinning at the grocery store may be odd, it's ok to twirl on a tire swing. What's a problem in one place may be a virtue in another!
8) Enjoy Your Child's Successes
We were the only parents on the block to cheer at our son's first intentional fib. We're thrilled when he says "yes" to a playdate, completes a full sentence, or kicks a ball back and forth a few times. He's not likely to captain the soccer team -- but he is successfully becoming himself.
9) Worry Less About Others' Opinions
Your child is really doing a fine job in the grocery store. He may be flapping a bit, but it's no big deal. Until you catch the eye of the mom with the perfect little girl -- staring at your son. Suddenly his flapping seems like a very big deal, and you find yourself snapping at your son to "just put his hands down!" It's not easy, but it's important to remember that he's autistic -- not intentionally embarrassing!
10) Find Ways to Have Fun Together
It's not always easy to associate autism and fun. But if you think about it, rolling your child up like a hot dog, bouncing on a trampoline or even sitting and cuddling together can be a lot of fun. Instead of worrying about the therapeutic value of each action, try just enjoying the silliness, the tickling, the cuddling...and the child. At least for a little while!
Part I focuses on The Fundamentals of Autistic Learning Styles. It discusses the possible origins of autism, how learning proceeds, autistic learning disabilities and how these contribute to autistic learning styles. Some of the language in these chapters is highly technical and is not written for the reader casually interested in the subject. Chapters are divided into sections and words are clearly defined, but this might not be the book to start with if one is new to the diagnosis. I can mostly see it useful for those directly involved with teaching and therapy situations, and parents who have had some training and perspective on the disorder.Part II discusses learning styles. Social, communication for both non-verbal and verbal children, objects, and daily living skills are all explored. Different treatment styles are covered and success rates, strategies, and reinforcement is clearly defined. Questions such as "should I spank an autistic child?" and different strategies for handling situations will be extremely helpful to parents who are looking for practical advice. This section is much more applicable to parents and is not too technical to understand and apply.Part III talks about different methods of teaching children with autism. Applied Behavior Analysis, TEACCH, mainstreaming, model programs, and IEP are all thoroughly discussed and analyzed. Again, I think parents need a bit of perspective before tackling such detailed information. I have a friend with a son who has been diagnosed with autism for three years. I had her look through the book and make some comments to me. She agrees with a great deal of the information (her son attends Applied Behavior Analysis therapy) but also cautions that it's a gradual learning process for parents as well as their children.
This website will help the parent to understand and manage their child. Links and other websites are also available to them.
How to teach your autistic child
This will help parents learn different ways of teaching their autistic child and how to take that approach.
Curl Up Kids
This website offers three different parts to approaching and helping autistic children giving specific insights on what to do.
Teaching Children with Autism
Parents will be able to get information on how to parent their child and different strategies.
Teaching Play Skills
This website gives insight on ways to play with your autistic child and what kinds of toys to use.
Living With Autism
This explains what it is like to live with Autism so that you can have a better understanding.
Living with Autism in a world made of others
CNN has provided a autism page about a girl who is autistic and describes her feelings and thoughts about it. This can give autistic children an understand that others have autism as well and can have an example of how to deal with it.
Being Different: Living With Autism
This website will allow autistic children to play, discover and respond.
The National Autistic Society
This has several links to teach children about autism and answer any questions they have.
Living the Autism Maze
This website provides insight on many other families that have someone with autism. Also helping children with a guide to their future.
Families for Effective autism treatment North Texas
Denton County Autism Society http://www.geocities.com/heartland/plains/3565/
List of meetings and support groups.http://www.autismonline.org/conferences/texas.htm
The North Texas Autism Education Center
Autism Treatment Center of Dallas
Texas Autism Advocacy
Autism Education Services Center
Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders
Texas Resource for Early Autism Treatment
Autism Society of America
National Autism Association
National Council for Exceptional Children