Angi Reid Sisk
October 24, 2011
Autism is a disability that affects thousands of children today. The causes are yet to be known but there are many theories floating around as to how children develop this disorder. More importantly than how they have gotten the diagnosis, is what can be done do to help them thrive in their educational environment. Many of these children are staring school and are faced with an entirely new set of challenges other than adjusting to life in a home setting. There are many common characteristics that children with autism exhibit; educators must be aware of these traits and understand the best way to deal with them and other needs required by the students due to this disability. It is vital to be knowledgeable in the best teaching strategies and have access to support services and aids available to give children with this disorder the tools needed to achieve success along with their non-disabled peers. Autism has six distinct characteristics that involve students with the disability, (Turnbull and Wehmeyer, 2009). Several characteristics accompany students with autism that can drastically impact their progression in a general classroom environment. One common characteristic that children on the autism spectrum face is difficulty with speech. Children with autism are likely to develop speech more slowly than other children. In some children they may never start talking and with others they could develop speech and then lose it suddenly or over a period of time. Students with autism may experience the lack of social language skills; they can also exhibit lack of eye contact and unusual facial expressions. These deficiencies are not done intentionally, but because students with autism have an inability to communicate on the same level as their other peers, (Brittish Columbia; Ministry of Education, 2000). For the students who have developed speech it can differ in other ways such as odd pitch tones or repetitive speech patterns. In the past studies were done and showed that only about fifty percent of individuals with autism would acquire full use of complete accomplished speech, (Turnbull and Wehmeyer, 2009). Today those statistics have drastically increased and show that with appropriate therapy including help from speech pathologists and other trained educators; the number of individuals that increase effective speech has grown to eighty five to ninety percent especially with early intervention. Speech therapists can help children with severe language impairments develop great communication skills and give them the needed skills to better communicate with their peers, (Powers, 2000). Social development is another common characteristic that students with autism share. Many find this characteristic to be the most alarming trait that children with autism share. Social interaction between autistic students and their classmates and teacher can be extremely difficult. This often occurs because these students may not have the ability to socialize well with others and could also exhibit other attributes like poor eye contact and can be resistive to comforting from others including their parents. Autistic students have difficulty understanding the feelings of others and how to distinguish that those feelings are separate from their own. They also have a hard time being empathetic and understanding the needs of their classmates and instructors, (Turnbull and Wehmeyer, 2009). Commonly children with autism can have a hard time establishing relationships in school settings because they tend to interact with others awkwardly and in a rigid manner, British Colombia: Ministry of Education, 2000). Most children with autism do not begin exhibiting the strong lack in social interaction until around the age of two years, (Powers, 2000). The progression that children make socially depends widely on their cognitive development; children who are less...
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