Summary of Two Articles
ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorders
Summary of Two Articles
I chose to base this paper on two articles about Autism. The first is an article from the Organization for Autism Research, entitled Understanding Autism, and the second is from Brain Connection entitled Autism in the Classroom by Lisa Batchelder.
OAR-Organization for Autism Research
OAR/Educators & Service Providers
This article is very good at outlining what autism is, the symptoms of autism and how they can impact a child’s ability. The beginning of the article states that autism is a neurological disorder and is usually diagnosed by the age of three. Autism involves three major areas of development, thus affecting a child’s ability to participate in typical behaviour and activities, communicate with others and engage in social interactions.
The middle of the article comments on the range of impairments may exhibit, because “one of the hallmarks of autism is that the characteristics vary significantly among children with autism. No two children with autism are the same.” The symptoms can appear to be mild, resulting in a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, to a diagnosis of classic autism, which means that the symptoms are very severe.
The ending of the article brings to light the fact that autism is not rare. In fact, there has been a recent increase in the amount of reported cases. Because of this fact, the significance of effective intervention is necessary, but not just at an individual level, but at a familial and societal level as well. This is important because, cases of autism have been reported in all socio-economic groups and in all cultures.
Autism in the Classroom
The beginning of this article highlights the fact that the main concern of classroom teachers is no longer making sure that the children are sitting in rows in alphabetical order. The main concern is accommodating all students in inclusive classrooms.
The middle of this article defines what autism is and how the more severe cases of autism may be treated. It also offers a caution for doctors to be, “cautious when prescribing medicine for children whose brains are still developing.” It also states that despite the fact that the origin of autism is still unknown, there are several factors that may explain the occurrence of autism. These include, diet, reaction to immunization, early trauma and genetic makeup.
The end of the article states that early intervention is critical. “Students with autism have remarkable success when given early and consistent guidance in communicative and sensory areas…community effort, combined with parental support and the attention of specialists and teachers can help cultivate a comfortable and productive learning environment for children with autism.”
Both articles are very good at shedding light on what some of the causes of autism may be, the behaviors that may be evident in a child with autism, and some strategies for making an autistic child feel like an active part of the classroom environment.
Implications for Classroom Teachers
The implications of having a child with autism in the classroom include developing a working understanding of this disorder and the associated behaviors. A teacher also has to understand that the parents must become educational partners.
Open communication between the parents should happen on a daily basis. A teacher doesn’t necessarily have to talk directly to the parents everyday, however a note should be written or a form outlying the problem areas and the success should be sent home. The parents could also send a similar form to the school, with the child so that the teacher is informed about anything that may have happened the night before, or in the morning before school starts. This would allow the teacher the ability to modify their program to meet the needs of the child, and possibly ensuring that everyone’s day goes a little smoother.
Before an autistic child joins a class, the classroom will have to be physically prepared. This could include changing the layout of the classroom and adding visual cues. These cues could be signs with words and pictures placed above items that are used frequently during the day. These signs would help not only the autistic child, but all children in the class, gain a sense of independence. They wouldn’t have to ask the teacher where the extra supplies were kept; they would be able to locate what they need on their own.
Social skills, behaviors and objectives should be a part of the autistic child’s IEP. Having researched the IEP, researching Autism Spectrum Disorders, talking to the administration and other teachers, having a support system in place, and talking to the parents prior to September should all be done to ensure that the year is the best that it can be for everyone involved. The other students in the class will also have to be prepared for the involvement of the autistic child. Therefore, the teacher must ensure that the classroom is a positive learning environment for everyone in the class, and consistent behavioral reinforcement will make a difference in the lives of all students.
Hutchinson, Nancy, Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian Schools, A Practical Handbook for Teachers, Pearson Education Canada Inc., Toronto, Ontario, 2001
http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/learnsigns.php; Autism Speaks Inc., 2007
http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/autism-class; “Autism in the Classroom,” Lisa Batchelder, brainconnection.com, 2000
http://www.researchautism.org/educators/autismsteps/index.asp; OAR-Organization for Autism Research, Educators & Service Providers, Arlington VA, 2007