answers to questions that you always wanted to ask.
is a pervasive developmental disorder, generally evident by age
3, affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction.
Autism is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the
normal functioning of the brain. People with autism frequently exhibit
the following characteristics to varying degrees: difficulty communicating,
problems with social interaction, unusual play with toys and objects,
repetitive behaviors, and difficulty adjusting to changes in routine
does Aspergerís syndrome differ from autism?
syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the
way a person communicates and relates to others. People with Aspergerís
syndrome generally have better language skills than children with
autism, are "high functioning," and are of average or
above average intelligence. Concrete and literal thinking and an
obsession with certain topics often characterize this syndrome.
Children with Aspergerís syndrome may not receive a diagnosis immediately,
since they frequently develop speech at an average rate.
students are most likely to benefit from intervention strategies?
with autism who need to improve their social, academic, behavioral,
and daily living skills are likely to benefit from effective educational
programs. By implementing effective strategies, educators can reduce
or eliminate the behavior and communication problems that interfere
with a childís ability to learn.
should teachers begin to offer vocational instruction?
should introduce basic vocational skills in elementary school, and
then slowly build on these skills throughout middle school and high
school. According to the Autism Society of America, teachers should
help their students with autism to develop vocational and community
living skills at the earliest age possible. These skills help children
develop feelings of independence and provide the opportunity for
students to make more choices about their daily life.
is the difference between "effective" and "promising"
availability of research on "transferability of settings"
distinguishes effective practices from promising ones. According
to Osher and Kane (1993), effective innovations not only have been
assessed in relation to initial benchmark data, but also have been
evaluated for their "transferability" to various settings.
Meanwhile, promising innovations are "convincing recommendations"
by "reputable researchers" that have been "evaluated
for face validity" in a single setting.
about "alternative" intervention strategies?
"alternative" strategies are frequently used in conjunction
with educational programs for children with autism. These methods
include auditory and sensory integration training, megavitamin therapy,
and dietary treatment. Before selecting any intervention, parents
should carefully evaluate research on effectiveness. Some
programs and treatment options have very limited data, at best,
on effectiveness. As Shirley Cohen points out in her book Targeting
Autism, "Educational treatment remains for most autistic
children the most effective approach availableÖ perhaps the greatest
danger in the use of alternative interventions is that they may
distract parents from their efforts to identify the best educational
approach for their child and ensure that it is implemented with
the necessary intensity."
students with autism be included in the general education setting?
are currently studying the impact of inclusive settings on students
with autism. Most educators agree that students with autism can
benefit from regular interaction with their peers. Koegel and Koegel
(1996) believe that the challenge for educators is to identify appropriate
methods of providing individualized education programs to children
with disabilities in regular education classrooms: "The preliminary
reports of full inclusion and the long-term consequences appear
promising. However, those involved with children with autism must
be concerned that the enthusiasm for integrated placements not take
precedence over the more important goal of appropriate education."