Teaching Stategies For Autism Essay

1132 words - 5 pages

Austism spectrum disorders have become an issue of central concern in relation to educational provision, due to its rising profile in society and in particular education. (Marwick et al., 2005) For this reason, this review will outline the background to autism and present information about various approaches used to teach children with severe autism. Recent work has extended knowledge of the effect of autism on interpersonal, communicative, cognitive, imaginative, sensory, perceptual, physiological and behavioural processes, which has allowed for a widening range of interventions and approaches to the education of children with ASD. (Marwick et al., 2005)
The terms autism, autism spectrum ...view middle of the document...

, 2005, Sorensen, 2009). Kanner (1943) gave detailed descriptions outlining extreme autism, in 1956 he modified his criteria and coined the term “early infantile autism” (Eisenberg and Kanner, 1956). This led to perceptions of autism as a childhood disorder. The current concept of autism is that it is a neurological disorder characterized by social and communication impairment, repetitive behaviour and delayed speech, and that Theory of Mind is a core deficit in cases of autism (Sorensen, 2009).
Autism may exist alongside learning disabilities or other developmental disorders and can also occur with other physical or psychological difficulties. Autism can include those with severe learning disabilities to those who have more subtle problems such as limited social skills therefore the concept of a spectrum has evolved and so the terms ‘autistic spectrum disorders’ or ‘autism spectrum’ are often preferred to autism (Marwick et al., 2005). Wing and Gould (1979) proposed a spectrum of autistic disorders based on a triad of impairments which describe three key areas which are affected in people with ASD: impairment of social interaction, communication and imagination. Similarly Gillberg defined the main areas of difficulty in ASD as reciprocal social interaction, reciprocal verbal and non-verbal communication and imagination and behaviour, due to ASD being marked by a lack of reciprocity.
The Autism spectrum ranges from “high functioning” individuals to individuals who may not have any means of communicating with others, this diverse and ever changing description of autism as research methods develop presents the greatest challenges for teachers in providing education (Marwick et al., 2005). As noted by the Task Force on Autism (2001), research conducted by adults with high functioning autism increased the understanding that all the differences included within ASD are not disabilities but rather a statement of who that person is (Williams, 1994; Holliday-Willey, 1999; Joliffe, Lansdown and Robinson, 1992; Grandin, 1995). ‘Classic autism’ is diagnosed by two international classification systems, ICD-10 and DSM-IV, both of which are used by mental health professionals in Ireland (Task Force on Autism, 2001). Both systems take the view that “there is a spectrum of autistic conditions and that they are orders of development, not ‘psychoses’” (Wing, 1996, p.23).
Impairments in communication are among the most important features of ASD, and involve both verbal and non-verbal communication (American psychiatric Association, 2000). It is thought that a large proportion of low-functioning individuals with ASD do not develop language or acquires at most a few functional words or signs (Boucher, Mayes, & Bigham, 2007). Exact percentages of...

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