Facing The Demands Of High School
Meanwhile, the demands on teens increase dramatically. By high school, students are expected to change classes hourly, keep track of books and assignments for each class, follow complex directions, complete multi-phase projects, and turn in homework on time.
Amy Keefer, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, said schools and parents can help teens who struggle with planning, organization and other executive skills.
“Teens on the spectrum will require a greater level of external supports from family and the school,” Dr. Keefer said. Those supports may take the form of frequent parent-school communication, teachers checking assignment books to make sure they’re filled out correctly, and teachers helping students break down projects into smaller steps, with due dates for each step, she said.
Many elementary schools provide those types of organizational supports, plus help with social skills, she said. However, educators often reduce or eliminate such help in middle or high school, when students are expected to be more self-sufficient.
“In general, as you move up the grades, the amount of support and scaffolding you get from teachers drops off,” agreed Dr. Rosenthal.
That can cause problems. “For most kids on the spectrum, they need those supports throughout their school careers,” Dr. Keefer said.
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:
- autistic disorder
- pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified
- childhood disintegrative disorder
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 Are The Current Regulations In The Uk
There are currently no regulations in place to ensure teachers in mainstream schools have qualifications and experience in teaching autistic children.
We contacted The Department of Education who could not give us any information in this area. We too contacted The Institute of Education at the University of London, who informed us that their teaching courses do not provide any training in teaching special needs children.
In order to have experience in teaching special needs children, teachers would have to go on to do a Masters degree in Special Needs.
Currently, the only regulation in place in the UK in mainstream schools is that every school must have a designated SENCO who will communicate the needs of the student to the relevant staff.
Dan Leighton, speaking on behalf of the National Autistic Society highlighted the issues: The problem is there is no initial teacher training in relation to teaching children with autism – this is not directly regulated by the Department of Education.
Leighton went on to say, Access to a specialist teacher is patchy, with relatively few local authorities providing autism advisory teachers for schools. It is the responsibility of the SENCOs and head teachers to ensure that staff have access to adequate training and expertise.
This highlights the lack of structure in the education given to autistic children – some head teachers and SENCOs may be more proactive than others.
Also Check: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Dont Assume Nonverbal Children Cant Communicate
Many children with autism don’t speak at all. But never assume that they don’t have something to say.
For children with autism, behavior is a form of communication. That includes:
- Walking away
Listen to what the child is trying to say. Ignore it, and the behavior may escalate until the child gets the point across.
Calming Activities To Prevent Autism Meltdowns In Class
When students with autism are feeling overwhelmed, the intense response that they feel may cause them to lose control of their emotions. This is called an autism meltdown and is different from when students without autism act out in class. While the best strategy for autism meltdowns is to seek help from a school specialist, these calm down activities can help to de-escalate stressful situations.
You May Like: What Does Autism Look Like In Girls
Terminology And Distinction From Schizophrenia
As late as the mid-1970s there was little evidence of a genetic role in autism while in 2007 it was believed to be one of the most heritable psychiatric conditions. Although the rise of parent organizations and the destigmatization of childhood ASD have affected how ASD is viewed, parents continue to feel social stigma in situations where their child’s autistic behavior is perceived negatively, and many primary care physicians and medical specialists express some beliefs consistent with outdated autism research.
It took until 1980 for the DSM-III to differentiate autism from childhood schizophrenia. In 1987, the DSM-III-R provided a checklist for diagnosing autism. In May 2013, the DSM-5 was released, updating the classification for pervasive developmental disorders. The grouping of disorders, including PDD-NOS, autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and CDD, has been removed and replaced with the general term of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The two categories that exist are impaired social communication and/or interaction, and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors.
The Internet has helped autistic individuals bypass nonverbal cues and emotional sharing that they find difficult to deal with, and has given them a way to form online communities and work remotely.Societal and cultural aspects of autism have developed: some in the community seek a cure, while others believe that autism is simply another way of being.
The Details Fascinate Me
While fixating on the little things may frustrate those around me, its this attention to detail that makes me truly unique. Children on the autism spectrum who hyper-focus on something may have difficulties forming relationships and relating to others who dont share their interest. But as adults, these traits can be highly valuable in certain fields that rely on experts who not only pay attention to the details, but who are actually fixated on them fields like cybersecurity, engineering, applied mathematics, research and development In other words, what may seem like a challenging trait at first can end up being a highly valuable one later on as I look to make my way in the world.
Recommended Reading: Is The Good Doctor Actor Autistic
As Parents We Arent Looking For An Autism Cure
Parents of neurotypical children are often surprised to hear that parents of children on the Autism Spectrum arent really looking for a cure. Autism is part of their childs life and identity, and they wouldnt be themselves if they werent autistic. These parents might research to find management tips and tricks , but they understand that finding a magical cure to get rid of autism altogether is, for lack of a better word, just silly.
Offer Accommodations For Students With Limited Motor Skills
Some students with autism may have more trouble with activities that require fine motor skills than others. In an article with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, renowned scientist and advocate Dr. Temple Grandin suggests offering accommodationslike typing on a computer instead of writingto mitigate these challenges.
When it comes to specific accommodations, it may depend on the individual. Its always a good idea to reach out to a students family to determine the best resources for their child.
You May Like: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Help For Parents Of Children With Autism
If you have a child with autism, it is important to get support. The day-to-day care of children with autism can be stressful. Making sure your child get the help they need can also pose a challenge, depending on whether quality support services are available in your area. At the same time, you are likely to have ongoing worries about your child’s prognosis and long-term well being. For all these reasons, you need to take care of yourself, as well as your child. Make an effort to reach out and find the support you need.
Plan Playdates And Social Time
It’s important for kids with autism to socialize with their peers, even if sometimes it can be challenging for them. Playdates and other activities are some much-needed chances to practice social skills and make new friends. Those who are struggling can sign up for a social skills group, which helps with things like introducing yourself, talking to others, reading social cues, and more.
When helping your child choose a playmate, look for someone who shares the same interests. Pre-plan the activities , and avoid places with too much noise and stimulation if you think it will overwhelm your child. Let your child know what to expect ahead of time. Consider using a visual schedule with pictures or create social stories to help “tell ahead” what will happen during a playdate.
Don’t Miss: Heritability Of Autism
No I Dont Just Need To Discipline My Child More
Meltdowns are not tantrums. They are not the result of a lack of discipline on the part of the parent. Children on the Autism Spectrum have sensory issues. One child may be a sensory avoider, while another is a sensory seeker. And kids with sensory issues do not respond well to physical punishment. Spanking, time out, and yelling are not usually effective tools of discipline for a child with autism. Rather, parents of children on the Autism Spectrum rely on routine and repeated exposure to teach their autistic children rules and boundaries.
You Cant Always See Autism
There is still a shocking amount of ignorance among the general population when it comes to the Autism Spectrum. Many people assume that children with autism have certain identifiable facial features or particular habits. But as it has already has been mentioned, every single person with autism is different and mild cases of autism are common. These stereotypes and lack of understanding often make things difficult for parents. Its especially hard in the case of schools, coaches, or other organizations who deny a diagnosis because it is not easily seen.
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Mutation Causes Autism
Autism Screening And Diagnosis
It can be hard to get a definite diagnosis of autism. Your doctor will focus on behavior and development.
For children, diagnosis usually takes two steps.
- A developmental screening will tell your doctor whether your child is on track with basic skills like learning, speaking, behavior, and moving. Experts suggest that children be screened for these developmental delays during their regular checkups at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months of age. Children are routinely checked specifically for autism at their 18-month and 24-month checkups.
- If your child shows signs of a problem on these screenings, theyâll need a more complete evaluation. This might include hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Your doctor might want to bring in someone who specializes in autism disorders, like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. Some psychologists can also give a test called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule .
If you werenât diagnosed with autism as a child but notice yourself showing signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Autism In The Teen Years: What To Expect How To Help
What parent doesn’t watch their “tween” become a teen without a twinge of anxiety? Factor autism into the equation, and parents may well wonder how the physical and hormonal changes of adolescence will affect their child on the spectrum.
How will typical teenage rebellion look in someone who struggles with behavioral control? What will it be like traversing the social minefield of high school for someone with a social disability?
Many a teen boy has had to be convinced of the need for daily showers and shaving. How do you convince someone who has sensory problems to stand under water or drag a sharp razor across his face?
Also Check: Does Gestational Diabetes Cause Autism
Listen To The Parents
Just as you surround a child with autism with acceptance, do the same for parents. Your support could mean the world to them.
Advocates explain that parents would love a night off to decompress and get away. If you feel comfortable with the idea, offer to babysit. If you don’t, provide a listening ear to a parent in need. Schedule a regular coffee date for decompression and chatter, or set up play dates between your children while you both supervise.
Thinking And Learning Strengths In Autistic Children
Autistic children have many strengths and abilities.
These might be strengths when compared with typically developing children, or individual strengths within their own skill sets.
Once you work out what your childs strengths and abilities are, you can use them to help your childs development.
The following tools can help you learn more about your childs thinking and learning strengths:
- Developmental assessment: this is used for children as part of autism diagnosis. It measures childrens strengths in areas like non-verbal thinking skills, language and communication, and movement.
- IQ test: this test measures intellectual potential and abilities compared with children the same age. Its used only for children aged four years and over.
You May Like: Is Asd Hereditary
People With Autism Are Non
Because individuals with autism have a literal perception of the world, they tend to take things at face value without judging or interpreting them. This has led some researchers to conclude that people with autism perceive the world as it actually is as they dont allow their brain to shape how they see things.
When My Child Is Having A Meltdown Please Stay Calm
Meltdowns occur because children on the Autism Spectrum often feel overwhelmed by their surroundings. Therefore, a sense of calm is required to end the meltdown and restore a childs feeling of control. During a meltdown, the parent will likely be busy trying to calm their child. A helpful person standing by shouldnt approach the parent and child. They can help by trying to make the immediate area as peaceful as possible. As Autism Speaks recommends, Scan the area around the child for sights and sounds that may have contributed to the meltdown. . . . Is there an alarm that can be silenced? A flashing display that can be temporarily turned off?
Also Check: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
People With Autism Are Good At Repetitive Tasks
People with autism feel most comfortable with routine and predictability. They dont thrive well in stressful environments where there is lots of change. As a result individuals with autism tend to excel at repetitive tasks which require deep focus on one thing. More and more technology companies including Microsoft, Vodafone and HP are hiring individuals with autism for their unique ability to thrive at repetitive tasks. We find them good for software testing and quality assurance they can concentrate a long time on a repetitive task and spot mistakes better, said Anka Wittenberg, SAPs head of diversity.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The younger kids are when they start treatment, the better.
Doctors, therapists, and special education teachers can help kids learn to talk, play, and learn. Therapists also help kids learn about making friends, taking turns, and getting along.
Read Also: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
Mapping The Futures Of Autistic Children
Researchers can roughly project what autistic childrens lives will look like years down the road. But how good is their crystal ball and what are its benefits?
by Elizabeth Svoboda / 14 July 2021
Listen to this story:
Kimberlee McCafferty knew something was different about her son Justin when he was just a baby. He had stopped babbling around his first birthday. He rarely accepted the food she offered or interacted with others, and his favorite pastime was spinning his toys across the wood floor. Before he turned 2, Justin was diagnosed with autism.
The diagnosis sent McCafferty, of Brick, New Jersey, on the kind of medical odyssey familiar to many parents: batteries of behavioral tests, dietary changes and a menu of therapy options. A few months into this journey, an autism specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., examined Justin, who is now 18, and rendered a sweeping judgment about his future. Your child will never speak or live independently, the doctor told McCafferty flat out. His words dropped like an anvil, leaving McCafferty shaken. I remember thinking, Thats a pretty damning statement to make when the child is not yet potty trained.
People With Autism Have An Eye For Detail
Many researchers believe that its because of autisms impact on the brain that people with the condition have the ability to remain focused, and notice even the tiniest of details. Individuals with autism tend to enjoy detail-orientated work and are able to work persistently without getting distracted.
Don’t Miss: Nonny Bubble Guppies Autistic
How To Identify Children With Autism
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in early childhood. Autism is the most common condition in a related constellation of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders, also called ASDs. Other autism spectrum disorders include Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD. Autism and other autism spectrum disorders can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms and degree of impairment — ranging from mild to severe — are different for every child.
Some features of autism include:
- Social withdrawal
- Verbal or nonverbal communication problems
- Rigid and repetitive behavior
In severe cases, an autistic child may never learn to speak or make eye contact. But many children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders are able to live relatively normal lives.