Learning Disorders
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  • 1. Learning disorders: Autism and ADHD A brief overview
  • 2. Autistic children
    • Behavior modification
    • A woman from India has developed a new technique with lots of talking, direction, one-on-one. Great improvements.
      • Autistic children require more environment support. Tangible rewards and highly structured environments.
        • (Merzenich, Jenkins).
  • 3. Autism is on the increase—why.
    • Learning in Autistic kids.
    • What is easy for them to learn and what is hard for them to learn?
    • Some are intellectually gifted, some are retarded.
    • Debate on whether inoculations can cause autism
  • 4. Dr. Leo Kanner
    • A psychologist at Johns Hopkins University was the first to use the term autism in a paper (1943).
    • His definition: A group of children who were self-absorbed and who had severe social, communication, and behavioral problems.
  • 5. Autism in the DSM
    • Autism first appeared in the DSM III, as Separated Infantile Autism
    • Before then, it was known as a childhood-type of schizophrenia.
    • In the ’50s and ’60s the medical community blamed autism on “refrigerator mothers” -- detached and uncaring parenting.
  • 6. Major Characteristics
  • 7. Infants
    • Avoiding physical contact
      • Arching their back away from caregiver
    • Failing to anticipate being picked up
      • Become limp
    • Begin self stimulatory behaviors
      • Rocking and/or banging head inside the crib.
  • 8. Children
    • As toddlers, children with autism may reach developmental “milestones”.
      • Talking, crawling, and walking much earlier than average children.
  • 9. Children continued
    • Regressive Autism
      • About 50% of children with autism develop normally until about 1 ½ to 3 years of age before autistic symptoms begin to emerge.
  • 10. Children continued
    • May fall behind same-aged peers in communication, social skills, and cognition.
    • Dysfunctional behaviors begin to appear.
      • Self stimulatory
        • Rocking, hand flapping
      • Self injury
        • Hand-biting, head-banging
  • 11. Other dysfunctional behaviors
    • Sleeping and eating problems, poor eye contact, insensitivity to pain, hyper/hypo-activity, and attention deficits.
    • Insistence on sameness
      • overly insistent on routines (i.e. drinking/eating same foods at every meal, wearing certain clothing, insisting others wear same clothing, going to school using the same route
      • Reason: inability to cope with novel situations
  • 12. Adolescence
  • 13. Adolescence
    • Individuals with autism sometimes have difficulty with the transition into puberty.
      • 25% have seizures (may be due to hormonal changes)
      • Behavior problems become more frequent and/or severe
      • However! Other individuals experience puberty with relative ease.
  • 14. General Treatments
    • Medications
      • No primary drug has been shown to be consistently effective in treating autistic symptoms
      • Ritalin: most widely prescribed drug
        • Used to treat attention deficit problems
  • 15. Treatments continued
    • Vitamin B-6 with magnesium supplements
      • Has been shown to increase general well-being, awareness and attention in 45% of autistic children.
    • Di-methylglycine (DMG)
      • Helps general well-being.
      • Also, a few reports on enhancing communication skills.
  • 16. Treatment for Autism in Applied Behavior Analysis
      • ABA is the systematic approach to the study of behavior… and how to change it using scientific methodology
  • 17. Three main principles in ABA: EW! Bad Fluffy! (spank)…not the carpet! Punishment Feeding the dollar into a broken coke machine… Johnny did his homework. He gets a sticker! Extinction Reinforcement
  • 18. Autism and ABA
    • ABA is the most effective Treatment known for autism today
    • Highly structured environment
        • Reinforce appropriate behaviors, extinguish problem behaviors (intervention)
        • Setting and generalization
        • Focus on specific behaviors
  • 19.
    • Token Economy:
    • Typing letters
    “ Please, can I…” Remove SR+ Prompt Inappropriate behaviors: Grabbing, reaching for items Appropriate Behavior Intervention Problem Behavior
  • 20. In Conclusion…
    • Autism is a very complex disorder; although people with autism do not have exactly the same symptoms and deficits and the needs of these individuals vary greatly, they tend to share certain social, motor, and sensory problems that effect their behavior in predictable ways.
  • 21. What is ADHD?
    • ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder .
  • 22. Specific Symptoms of ADHD
    • Often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat.
    • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
    • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • 23. Symptoms cont.
    • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
    • Is often “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
    • Often talks excessively, often blurts out answers, has difficulty awaiting a turn.
  • 24. What causes ADHD
    • Bad parenting cannot be blamed for the causes of ADHD. Problems in the home and certain parenting styles can add to a child’s frustrations but cannot cause the disorder.
    • Genetics: Studies show a strong genetic link in the causes of ADHD. A child is 70% more likely to have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder if they have a parent with the disorder.
  • 25.
    • Young Children who watch TV have risk of ADD by school age. For every hour of TV under the age of 3, the deficit of ADHD increases 10%. Pediatric society says children uncer trhe age of 2 shouldn’t watch TV at all.
    • Dimitri Christakis, April issue of Pediatrics 2004.
  • 26. Causes cont.
    • Diet: study after study show that children with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder lack nutrients necessary for proper brain functioning.
  • 27. Warning Signs
    • Does not work to potential in school.
    • Has a short attention span unless interested in a particular subject.
    • Has a family history of ADHD, ADD, learning problems or substance abuse.
    • Is easily distracted.
    • Skips around when reading
    • Has difficulty putting thoughts on paper
    • Has poor listening skills
  • 28. Long term effects
    • Neurological
    • Unusual small brain structures in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia: these areas inhibit impulses and regulate attention and self control
    • Cognitive
    • Problem holding information in working memory
    • Problem self directed speech
    • Controlling emotions and motivation
    • Analyzing and synthesizing behaviors in new ways as to pursue goals
  • 29. More effects
    • Behavioral
    • Tend to forget responsibilities
    • Speak allowed instead of giving self silent directions
    • Easily frustrated and angered
    • If left untreated, effects may include:
    • Academic problems
    • Antisocial behavior
    • Risky driving
    • Substance abuse
  • 30. Over diagnosis?
    • Between 1991 & 1998, Rx’s rose 2400% for dexamphetamine and 620% for Ritalin
    • Currently, over 5 million children diagnosed with ADHD
    • Many teachers, parents, and media say children are put on medications only to control their behavior
    • Some school districts given money to treat children with ADHD/ADD
  • 31. Diagnosis cont.
    • About 3-5% of children said to have ADHD—a study said 8-10% of children taking meds for ADHD in a Virginia school districts
    • ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, Inattentive, without Hyperactivity is more often under diagnosed.
  • 32. In Defense
    • ADHD may be marked on forms due to FDA approved indications
    • Research has not produced sufficient data
    • Some research points towards over diagnosis, whereas other research does not—depends of researcher
  • 33. …cont.
    • Media may be a huge cause of controversy
    • Other causes of an increase in Dx (diagnosis):
    • Increase in vaccinations
    • Mercury exposure
    • Processed foods
    • Pesticide use
    • Television watching
    • Sugar intake
    • Environmental pollution
    • Fluoridated water
    • Divorce rates
    • Other emotional instability problems at home
  • 34. Questions?