AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results in difficulty in communication and social reciprocity, and repetitive or unusual mannerisms. ASD usually begin during the early stages of a child development usually, the first three years of a child’s life. The social deficits make the child become socially refined and mostly have a difficult time socializing with his/her peers. In this essay, we will look at the core impairments and strengths associated with autism and the effects of the syndrome on students in their classrooms.
The core impairments of ASD
Autistic Spectrum Disorder has various symptoms and behaviors portrayed by the group of people affected by the syndrome. Some of the core impairments include difficulty in communication, interaction and display unusual behaviors (Aspect, 2016). People diagnosed with ASD have difficulty in communication and understanding the language as used by others. For example, most children have delayed development of functional speech. Similarly, the individuals with ASD experience social difficulties in understanding or behaving in socially appropriate ways. Affected children have difficulties with empathy and, therefore, experience a hard time communicating and playing with other children. Lastly, people with ADS, children included also have a difficult time with thinking and imaginative flexibility. Besides, they have a hard time transferring their skills to other activities (Bellini, 2006).
Diagnosing ASD can be complicated since most psychiatric disorders affect social communication. Therefore, physicians should develop the best diagnosis practice (Amaral, Geschwind, & Dawson, 2011). Some of the diagnostic approaches are questionnaires, diagnostic interview-revised, diagnostic observational program, and complementary assessment measures. Preferably, questionnaires and diagnostic interviews should be used since they have the advantage of collecting a lot of information in a very short time (Huerta & Lord, 2012).
Learning characteristics of students with ASD reflect the core impairments of ASD
Most students with ASD learn at a slower rate than their peers because of their difficulties in communication and attention. Adaptive, functional or problem-solving skills in a child can be trapped within the mode of communication among the peers. Most autism children have a difficult time engaging and interacting with others. One of the core impairments includes difficulty in communication and interaction. As a result, students with ASD prefer solitude since they seem indifferent to others. Besides, most students with ASD are slower in learning as they have a characteristic of slowly interpreting what others are feeling and thinking. Furthermore, the students have difficulties with empathy and therefore experience a hard time understanding what they are taught in school.
Normally, children have the ability to interpret facial expressions and gestures, but it becomes a challenge to a student with ASD. This inability to interpret others feelings and thoughts leaves the students with ASD unable to understand the actions of people surrounding them.
Most people with autism have difficulty controlling their emotions this is due to their inability to communicate verbally. A student with the disorder might display disruptive behaviors or become physically aggressive during classes. The disruptive behaviors may also manifest as verbal outbursts, aggression or crying. Some may attack or hurt others, while others injure themselves like bite their arms or pull their hair in their frustration. Their classmates usually find these behaviors very inappropriate.
Strengths and challenges students experience in the classroom
Students with ASD experience several challenges in their classrooms. Most children with autism have sleep dysfunction. The sleep problems may be a product of other related medical issues such as gastro esophageal reflux. With these medical issues, many children experience difficulties trying to fall asleep while some experience night walking. A student’s ability to concentrate in class is directly affected by the amount of sleep he/she has at night especially what is considered normal sleep. Mostly, lack of sleep affects the learners’ attention during the day.
Many students with autism have abnormal sensory responses or processing. Most of them do experience difficulties responding to sensory experiences during class time and may interfere with their ability to concentrate or demonstrate their skills or knowledge to others in the classrooms. (Dunn, 2008). These unusual responses result from difficulties in sensory integrating and processing information such as hearing, vision, sense of movement and smell. The affected students who portray sensory integration difficulty are highly attuned to certain textures or sound. They are hypersensitive. Subsequently, their over-reactivity to situations may cause disruption in classrooms while learning.
Although rare, some individuals with ASD possess exceptional abilities and skills which make them unique and exciting. People with autism have the habit of focusing on a particular area that interests them. They, therefore, develop strong visual skills and a great memory of facts or details subjects or items in which they have interest. Some will possess exceptional computer and technology skills and long-term memory because of the retained concrete facts. People with autism ability to focus on a particular area or interest, in most cases can solve problems without asking for help (Autism Speaks Inc, 2012).
Most autistic individuals have strong interests in the natural sciences and often develop remarkable ability in their areas of interest. The special interest in a certain hobby can dominate a person’s conversation or time. Thus, they will develop musical ability, computer skills or other interpersonal aspects of life they are interested in (Attwood, 2007).
For any ordinary baby, building blocks of speech and communication are biological and developmental and do not require a unique set of skills. Communication ability in kids develops naturally and increases as the child engages in more practice when attempting to communicate to those around him. Therefore, the pragmatics of language is the linguistic tool that is the abilities possessed by babies before any language is spoken to them. Pragmatics is, therefore, developed before speech and probably practiced during the first year of development. Examples of pragmatics include exclamation such as oh-oh, a child calling out mummy among others. Parents should focus on pragmatics before focusing on speech itself (Kendall & Staios, n.d.). Every kid needs pragmatics of language to transform their speech abilities into conversation or communication.
Children with autism lack the pragmatics or are gravely disordered and are, thus, considered to have a deficit. Children who lack pragmatics often develop the problem of disordered or slow speech development which is a derail in a child’s social development. Disoriented pragmatics can be a social communication problem in people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The people suffering from ASD have a problem with social functions of language. The children have difficulty with grammar, writing, reading, or vocabulary and find it hard sharing their needs or wants. The pragmatics often leads to behavior problems in children. (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2016)
Autism disorder begins in infancy. Therefore, parents should carefully observe their children, and if the child is having trouble communicating, the parent should take them to a specialist for diagnosis and help. Most students will feel different from their peers. Thus, guardians and parents should help the affected students embrace their condition. They should assist them to develop their social and communication skills. For affected students who develop exceptional special interests, guardians and teachers should support them to develop and grow in their interests.
Amaral, D., Geschwind, D., and Dawson, G. (2011). Autism Spectrum Disorders. Oxford, United Kingdom; Oxford University Press.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016). Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Retrieved from http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism/
Attwood, T. (2007). Special Interests. In T. Attwood. The complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Autism Speaks Inc. (2012). About Autism. Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/sctk_about_autism.pdf
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).(2016). Characteristics. Retrieved from https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/content/characteristics
Bellini,S. (2006). Building Social Relationships: A systematic Approach to Teaching Social Interaction Skills to Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Social Difficulties. Shawnee Mission, Kansas: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
Dunn, W. (2008). Sensory Processing: Identifying Patterns and Support Strategies. In B. Dunn, B., Karl and W. Pamela (eds), Learners on the Autism Spectrum. (Pp139-159). Shawnee Mission, Kan: Autism Aperger Pub. Co.
Huerta, M., & Lord, C. (2012). Diagnosis Evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 59(1), 103–111. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcl.2011.10.018
Kendall, C. & Staios, G. (n.d). Communication and the student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. [PowerPoint Slides]. Spectrum Speech Pathology.