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Please left click selector button to move to next slide. Autism Spectrum Disorder: What is it and How Can We Help? By Kerrie Harrison
Autism Spectrum Disorder: • Will impact on an individual’s ability to read social cues and, consequently how they relate and communicate their needs and wants. • Has a profound impact on children’s behaviours as anxiety and levels of frustration result from an inability to express themselves. • Means children and teachers alike have many obstacles to overcome so that children can be nurtured to learn and develop. • Requires a range of strategies and combined teaching models to assist children to work through these difficulties. Kerrie Harrison
Autism Spectrum Disorder Presents itself with three Core Impairments:- Impairment of Social Communication Impairment of Social Interaction and Relationships. Impairment of Imagination.
Impairment of Social Interaction and Relationships. Children are detached and will only approach others to meet their needs. Children experience difficulty initiating contact with others. May have some friendships based upon common interests, obsessions but they are ego centric. .Manjivoni (2008)
Impairment of Social Communication. Some may have no language At times children will not respond to dialogue from others Children may not read body language or gestures, eg. A nod, They may only communicate to illicit a reward or have needs met Children may have difficulty initiating a conversation without teaching of this skill or sustaining a conversation Content of speech is mostly factual and indifferent to normal social exchanges. Children may experience anxiety and frustration due to an inability to process social language difficulties (eg. turn-taking, assessing listener’s response, understanding gestures, facial expressions, etc). Manjivoni (2008)
Impairment of Imagination and understanding Children experience difficulty entering into pretend play situations and will resort to mimicking their favourite TV show (sometimes repetitively). Toys/objects are often handled for physical and sensory purposes only. They have difficulty modifying play situations to include other children. Older individuals may realise others have minds but no insight into how others use this to guide behaviour. Manjivoni (2008)
The Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder May Present With Many Other Challenges Also, for example:- • Difficulty filtering information from their environment, eg. noises, light, flickering of objects, fears. (We take these for-granted) • Heightened levels of anxiety. • Hypo- or hyper-sensory issues. • Difficulty organising themselves. • Fine and Gross Motor Awkwardness due to poor muscle tone.
Janzen (2003) Describes Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as:- Having unexpected “gaps because bits and pieces or whole strings of important information are missed while they focus intently on irrelevant detail” or are distracted.
Temple Grandin (1995), p.152 referred to her thinking as:- A videocassette being view in her imagination. She discusses how all her abstract thoughts were converted to visuals or pictures to help her understand them. This meant that additional time was spent processing and storing information
Kaifas-Tennyson (2008, p.37-40) Suggests that our expectations of the child with Autism Spectrum Disorder be neither “Too high” nor “Too Low”.
In a Special Setting, Students are Prepared with:- • Skills through functional, real-life experiences. • Taught life-skills so that they can be prepared for their future, eg. excursions to the shopping centre provide the basis to learn how to use money (mathematics). • Academic skills are taught in settings free from distractions, eg. noise, displays, etc. • Provided with scheduled work sessions to reduce anxiety and provide constancy. • Supported through challenging tasks using positive strategies, eg. Using rewards or motivators that are of interest to the child.
Many of These Strategies and Models Can be Modified and Applied to Mainstream Settings to Support Children on the Spectrum
When Supporting Children on the Spectrum Consideration Needs to be Given to the Following:- • Children with Asperger’s Syndrome may seem eloquent in their use of language, however, they may not be able to process it as well as they appear to use it. Therefore, expressive and receptive language learning opportunities are essential. • Compound sentences are quite difficult for children on the spectrum to work through. • Negatives may propose a challenge for them to work through. • We begin teaching by providing small steps for children to take moving to more complex ones. • Concrete materials are essential for modelling steps and for children to use to work through tasks.
The Following Would Be Helpful Considerations for Settings that Cater for the Needs of Children on the Autism Spectrum:- • All developmental needs of children, eg. social, emotional, physical, etc. • Sensory issues that children on the spectrum experience, eg. tactile, visual, auditory, etc. • Regular fine-motor experiences to strengthen development in this area. • Regular gross-motor exercise program to build on stability, balance and strength. • The use of visuals are essential for the the ASD child.
The Following Are Also Essential Components to Consider When Planning and Implementing the Curriculum:- • Teaching components of Social Skills, eg. turntaking, initiating play situations, asking for help, rules, etc. • Encouraging children to request assistance. • Implementing learning experiences for working through inappropriate displays of emotion and frustration. • Giving opportunities to develop language and listening skills to maintain communication. • Building on attention span and levels of interest beyond the obsessions. • Encapsulating child’s interests in the learning so that the child’s focus is maintained. • Extending opportunities to learn about other concepts using aspects of the child’s interest embedded in them.
The following is an overview of selected Models from which to draw upon for curriculum planning and development
Picture Exchange Communication Is a modified applied behaviour analysis program that teaches students who are non-verbal to use symbols and representations of real objects to communicate their needs and wants and to illicit a response. (Vicker, 2008)
TEACCH Autism Program Is an educational program that outlines the education approaches for planning for individual children on the spectrum. It considers the Physical Organisation; Work Areas; Scheduling to decrease child’s anxiety; and Giving Directions. (The University of North Caroline, 2006)
Developmental Approaches Developmental Social-Pragmatic Model is used to promote positive and meaningful relationships with other people. The aim is to develop attention span; encourage relating to others; to acknowledge and work through a range of feelings and to organize logical thought. (Prior, 2008) (Autism Teaching Institute, 2008)
Behavioural and Educational Approaches Applied Behavioural Analysis provides a systematic approach to help individuals learn new skills or change behaviours. It involves presenting a stimulus (antecedent) to encourage specific behaviours then providing a consequence (a”reinforcer” or a “punisher”) dependent on the child’s response. (New York State Department of Health Early Intervention Program). (Autism Teaching Institute, 2008)
Therapy Based Interventions Communication Focused Interventions, Visual Strategies and Visually Cued Instruction, Manual Signing, Social Stories, Speech Generating Devices, Facilitated Communication (FC), Functional Communication Training (FCT), Sensory-Motor Interventions, Auditory Integration Training (AIT), Sensory Integration; (Prior, 2008) (Autism Teaching Institute, 2008)
Family Based Interventions Family-CentredLearning The NAS Early Bird Program The Help Program Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Programs and The Hanen Program (More than Words). (Prior, 2008) (Autism Teaching Institute, 2008)
References Autism Teaching Institute (2008) Vocational Certificate for Teaching Children with Autism, Reading Packs March-June, Melbourne Grandin, T (1995) “How People with Autism Think” cited in “Learning and Cognition in autism” Edited by: Eric Schopler and Gary B. Mesibov, Plenum Press, New York Grandin, T. (Ph.D) (Feb 1999) Social Problems: Understanding emotions and Developing Talents, http://www.autism.org/temple/social.html Janzen, Janice E., M.S. (2003) Understanding the Nature of Autism – The Brain as a Computer –An Analogy. Second Edition. Harcourt Assessment Inc. Kaifas-Tennyson, K (2008) Patience-The Least Important “Super Power” Cited in Embracing Autism, Jossey Bass A Wiley Imprint Robert Parsh and Friends, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Manjivoni, Dr. J. (2008) Apply Learning Approaches to Educate Students with ASD. (Author)
References (Continued) • New York State Department of Health Early Intervention Program, Clinical Practice Guideline, Report of the Guideline Recommendations “Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorders”, • http://www.heath.state.ny.us/community/infants_children/early_intervention/autism/in... • Prior, M. (2008) Prior, Margot (2008) Research Based Educational Interventions, (Author) • The University of North Carolina, (2006) TEACCH Autism Program, Chapel Hill, mhtml:file://C:\Documents and Settings\02278328.MTHOMPSON-LAPTO\MyDocuments\articles\T • Vicker, Beverly (2008) What is the Picture Exchange Communication System or PECS?http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/communication/WhatisthePEC.html