Autism Profile

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Definition:In accordance to the IDEA autism is a developmental disability that significantly affects a student's verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and education performance. Under the IDEA a student cannot be autistic if they have are adversely effected by a primary emotional disturbance. Under the definition found in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, they define the Autism Spectrum as a group of five disorders that vary in severity. Those five disorders are Autistic Disorder, Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Ausperger's Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

*Reflection:I think that the definition of autism is a very complex and intertwining definition that is necessary. I feel that the definition has to be so complex because autism is barely understood based upon my previous experience. I feel that the Autism Spectrum is appropriate because it allows for students who have an obvious disability but do not fall into any other group a place to be placed into so the student can receive an IEP. With an IEP the student will be able to achieve at a high academic level.

Characteristics:Autism is associated with seven distinct characteristics (1) language development, (2) social development, (3) repetive behavior, (4) problem behavior, (5) the need for environmental predictability, (6) sensory and movement disorders, and (7) intellectual function. In regards to language an autistic student can range from no verbal communication to having the ability for complex communication. Typically they will have a large number if impairments. The two most typical are delayed language and echolalia. In today's educational system it is assumed that 85-90% of all students will develop some form of verbal communication. However these children will have some form of a disability with speaking those are often they focus on one topic only, limits a communication to fewer than a couple of interactions, uses limited gestures to supplement their verbal skills, reverses pronouns (the student will use a pronoun appropriate for the person they are talking to not the person they are talking about), and they may often avoid eye contact.

The second common issue is social development. Many children with autism and have social developmental issues will share several symptoms. Those are the lack of peer relationships, an impaired use of nonverbal communication, failure to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests, and achievements with others, and lack of reciprocity.

There are also five other areas that autism is very prominent. Some children with autism can have repetive behavior, this can present such as tics, obsessions, and preservation. Autistic children also have an issue with problem behavior. Problem behavior can be self-injurious behavior, behavior that is harmful to themselves, or aggression to their peers. Autistic students also have a great need for a predictability of their environment. Autistic students need their environment to be the same in order to find comfort so they can function at their best possible level. Autistic students also present with sensory and movement disorders. These can be an under or over-responsiveness to stimuli. It can also present as abnormal posture, abnormal movements of their face, head, trunk, or limbs. Autistic students also present issues with intellectual functioning.

* Reflection:I think that the characteristics of autism are very broad and can confuse a young parent. I believe that the teacher will not be the one to identify whether a student has autism. I believe that the parents will be the first to recognize that their child is not functioning verbally at an appropriate level for their age. That should be the first red flag for a parent once their child reaches the age of three. However if a child is undiagnosed and are autistic when they enter school I believe that I could be very hard to identify an...
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