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How To Learn About Autism

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Use Special Interests As A Gateway To Teaching Skills


In general, children with autism have special preferences or special interests. This could be anything from a sport to a movie or television character. For some children, it may be appropriate to utilize this special interest as a way to teach other important skills.

If a child has a special interest in a character from a movie, this character could be used to teach appropriate social skills. The character could be used in social stories to teach a variety of social norms and skills, and using the character would facilitate trust and also keep the child engaged.

It is important to get to know the children you are working with before implementing this type of strategy, as it could be distracting to some. However, in most situations, it can be a gateway to teaching skills.

What If My Friend Has Autism Spectrum Disorder

Some people with ASD do not feel that they have a disorder and don’t want to change. They’re proud of who they are and they want to be accepted, even though they may have different strengths and weaknesses than most other people.

All people deserve respect. But kids with ASD may be teased, bullied, or left out because they’re different. Bullying and teasing are never the right way to treat other people, but it may be hard to be a friend with someone who has ASD.

Kids with ASD often don’t understand playful jokes. You may need to be very clear when you communicate with someone who has ASD.

Try to be patient and kind. Remember how hard it might be for the person with ASD to understand how to be a friend. Stand up for classmates who are bullied. Tell adults, so they can help protect kids who are bullied.

Hold A Professional Development Session On Autism

Its so important to teach faculty about autism awareness, too. If youre a school administrator, consider holding a professional development session on teaching students with autism or sharing a few resources.

For example, the Regional Educational Laboratory Program has put together a helpful resource for administrators on how educators can support students with autism during remote learning.

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • The National Institute for Mental Health. A Parents Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Shapiro, L.E. 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills. The Bureau for At-Risk Youth, 2004.
  • Dougan, R. Social Emotional Learning Guidebook: Ideas for Incorporating SEL Activities into your Classroom.
  • Shapiro, L.E. 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills. The Bureau for At-Risk Youth, 2004.
  • Autism Parenting Magazine. Sensory Play Ideas and Summer Activities for Kids with Autism.
  • Autism Speaks. 10 Fun Summer DIY Sensory Games for Kids.
  • Noelke, K. Grounding Worksheet.
  • Tullemans, A. Self-Calming Strategies. Autism Spectrum Disorder News, July 2013, 23.
  • Don’t Miss: Autism Colors Represent

    How Would It Feel To Be : : : :

    Next time you read a book to your class, try asking your students how it would feel to be the main character in the story. If youre reading a picture book about Cinderella, for example, you could ask how they would feel if they had two evil stepsisters who were mean to them. Or if youre reading Peter Pan as a class, you could ask them what happy memories they would think about to fly with magic pixie dust.

    This can help students with autism learn empathy as well as how to see situations in their lives from another perspective. It can also teach them how to recognize emotional cues by encouraging them to put themselves in the perspective of another person.

    Activities Teaching Strategies And Resources For Teaching Children With Autism

    30 activities for kids with autism that are not on the ...

    Because approximately 1 in 59 students are diagnosed with autism, learning how to help students with this disorder in the classroom is so important. Teaching young students with autism communication skills and learning strategies makes it all the more likely that theyll reach their academic potential later on. And the more you learn about autism spectrum disorder, the better youll be able to prepare these students for lifelong success.

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that causes hypersensitivity to sights, sounds, and other sensory information. Symptoms of autism generally fall into three categories:

    • Communication issues
    • Social impairment
    • Repetitive behaviors

    Here are 15 fun activities to help children with autism feel welcome in your class while addressing their symptoms and individual learning styles. Whether you play them one-on-one or as group activities, these are excellent ways to keep students with autism engaged and ready to learn.

    Also Check: Autism Rating Scales

    Associated Medical & Mental Health Conditions

    • Autism can affect the whole body.
    • Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent of children with autism.
    • More than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems.
    • Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum.
    • Depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism.
    • Children with autism are nearly eight times more likely to suffer from one or more chronic gastrointestinal disorders than are other children.
    • As many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy .
    • Studies suggest that schizophrenia affects between 4 and 35 percent of adults with autism. By contrast, schizophrenia affects an estimated 1.1 percent of the general population.
    • Autism-associated health problems extend across the life span from young children to senior citizens. Nearly a third of 2 to 5 year olds with autism are overweight and 16 percent are obese. By contrast, less than a quarter of 2 to 5 year olds in the general population are overweight and only 10 percent are medically obese.
    • Risperidone and aripiprazole, the only FDA-approved medications for autism-associated agitation and irritability.

    What Does A Certified Autism Specialist Do

    An autism specialist is someone who works with children who are diagnosed with ASD, which can include a range of behaviors and challenges. Not all children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum behave the same way or struggle with the same issues. Some children with ASD may have extreme sensory processing issues, such as reacting negatively to loud noises or unpleasant smells. Others may have difficulty with social interactions, such as being able to process anothers emotions or using appropriate manners. Children with ASD can have mild or severe neurological challenges.

    Autism specialists who get an advanced autism certification learn the specific skills necessary to work with these children and help them meet their goals. They can provide therapy or assistance in a classroom, private counseling, or even at home. For example, Dr. David Rago, the academic program director of the Graduate Certificate in Autism program at National University, said that an autism specialist could help those on the autism spectrum learn social skills through modeling.

    It could be learning about visual modeling or peer training, so if theres a specific behavior or social interaction that the student needs to learn, like how to take turns, they could use visual modeling. It could also be in person, in real time, what it looks like to take turns, he says.

    Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

    What Are The Different Types Of Autism

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is published by the American Psychiatric Association . Clinicians use it to diagnose a variety of psychiatric disorders.

    The most recent fifth edition of the DSM was released in 2013. The DSM-5 currently recognizes five different ASD subtypes, or specifiers. They are:

    • with or without accompanying intellectual impairment
    • with or without accompanying language impairment
    • associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
    • associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder

    Someone can receive a diagnosis of one or more specifiers.

    Before the DSM-5, autistic people may have received a diagnosis of:

    Its important to note that a person who received one of these earlier diagnoses hasnt lost their diagnosis and wont need to be reevaluated.

    Symptoms of ASD typically become clearly evident during early childhood, between 12 and 24 months of age. However, symptoms may also appear earlier or later.

    Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development.

    The DSM-5 divides symptoms of ASD into two categories: problems with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.

    What Research Is Being Done

    Treating Your Child : How to Learn the Signs of Autism

    The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world. NINDS and several other NIH Institutes and Centers support research on autism spectrum disorder.

    Nearly 20 years ago the NIH formed the Autism Coordinating Committee to enhance the quality, pace, and coordination of efforts at the NIH to find a cure for autism. The NIH/ACC has been instrumental in promoting research to understand and advance ASD. The NIH/ACC also participates in the broader Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee , composed of representatives from various U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the Department of Education, and other governmental organizations, as well as public members, including individuals with ASD and representatives of patient advocacy organizations. One responsibility of the IACC is to develop a strategic plan for ASD research, which guides research programs supported by NIH and other participating organizations.

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    Reward Your Child For His Or Her Attempt At Trying

    When you choose to reward your childs attempt at trying instead of only correct behavior, your child will develop more willingness to attend and try, even when the task may be difficult for him or her.

    One common mistake is rewarding only correct behaviors or upon completion of the task. You should always reward your child for his or her attempt at trying .

    Trying means your child is attending and putting in his best effort to execute the task

    Career Outcomes For An Autism Specialist

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that special education teachers make a median salary of ranging from $55,840 for special ed preschool teachers to $60,600 for special ed teachers working at the secondary school level. The BLS does not track information on autism specialists, specifically, but these professionals are counted among special education teachers and the bureau estimates that the number of jobs will grow by 8% percent between 2016 and 2026..

    In practice, professionals who are classified as a certified autism specialist likely make more money than special education teachers. Rago says that the majority of people who enroll in the program at National University are already credentialed as special education teachers. By getting that extra autism training, they are increasing their marketability and are likely to get paid a larger salary.

    Somebody with a special ed license can work with students with autism in a special education setting, Rago says. But most of the schools and this is specific to California because that is where the certificate is approved if youre going to be in a classroom specific to autism, they would like to see that you have some specialized training in addition to your general ed license.

    Also Check: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning

    What Do The Numbers Tell Us

    The whole word or whole languageapproach has been the method of choice in most schools in the U.S. since thelate 1930s. So where has that led us?

    • In 1990, 60 million adults didnthave the reading and writing skills necessary to meet basic needs. In 2004 thisnumber rose to almost 90 million.
    • In 1999 Barbara Foorman and JackFletcher ran a study for one year at the University of Texas. They found thatchildren who were taught phonics had better reading skills than those trainedin the whole word approach.
    • Another study in the United Kingdomshowed that students who were taught to read phonetically were able to readseveral grade levels higher than other students.
    • The National Center for EducationalStatistics stated that in 1998, 38% of children in the fourth grade didnt havebasic reading skills mastered.

    So why does phonics appear to give children better success? Let’s examine each approach further to find out.

    Supporting Students With Autism: 10 Ideas For Inclusive Classrooms

    Autism isometric poster with behavior difficulties ...

    Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication. These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of these needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism.

    Adapted from: P. Kluth . Youre Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom.

    While most educators agree that no recipe exists for teaching any individual student or group of students, there are certainly some guidelines that can be helpful for supporting students with certain labels. Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication, therefore, teachers will need strategies to address each one of these areas. These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of the aforementioned needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism labels.

    Also Check: What Is The Symbol For Autism

    Your Learning Your Rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Becoming A Certified Autism Specialist

    To become a certified autism specialist, you need to get additional education on the specific needs of individuals with ASD, as well as on the most effective therapeutic strategies to help them, including their educational, behavioral, social, and emotional needs.

    National University is one of the top San Diego universities and colleges offering this certification. The Graduate Certificate in Autism at National University consists of four courses, which can each be completed in four weeks. The courses are designed to be taken sequentially, so the program can be finished in as little as four months, making it especially convenient for working professionals to complete.

    This program, in particular, is designed for teachers who have some special education electives and are working with children who have special needs, Rago says. First, the program gives them a foundational understanding of what autism is and what it looks like in students, and then it gives them the practical methods and strategies to address their needs.

    Rago says the program teaches students how to design lessons and curriculum to meet the particular learning needs of students with ASD, as well as strategies to help them overcome their emotional and social challenges.

    At National,s possible for teachers who are being asked to get it by their district to get it done in one school year, he says.

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    Online Courses And Tutorials

    A variety of online courses and tutorials are available to families, support providers, life coaches and professionals who wish to deepen their knowledge or acquire credentials in supporting individuals with ASD and related conditions. Courses range from free introductory programs to professional development workshops to fee-based online courses that can lead to specialized certification. Some of these online providers offer courses specifically for individuals on the autism spectrum.

    The Autism Society

    This online course will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The course covers the following areas:

    Introduction to the Autism Spectrum Overview of Treatment Options Transition to Adulthood What We Can Do Every Day

    At the end of the course you will be able to download a certificate of completion. The certificate is in PDF format and you will need Adobe Reader to open and/or print it. If you dont have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you can download it for free at .

    Ready to begin? Click here to begin the Autism 101 course. If you want information about autism and do not wish to take the course, visit our About Autism page.

    Autism Internet Modules, Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence

    NARPAAs e-Class: Electronic Curriculum for Learning Autism Specific Strategies

    Person Centered Planning Education Site, Cornell University, ILR School, Employment and Disability Institute

    A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support

    Autistic children learn to speak

    If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.

    While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.

    When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.

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    Social Skills And Autism

    Many children and adults on the autism spectrum need help in learning how to act in different types of social situations. They often have the desire to interact with others, but may not know how to engage friends or may be overwhelmed by the idea of new experiences.

    Building up social skills with practice can help enhance participation in the community and support outcomes like happiness and friendships. We have compiled social skills tips and information from experts, teachers, and families, along with useful tools to help enhance opportunities to be part of the community.

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