Autism Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)Range of conditions that share common characteristics, including difficulties with communicating, problem solving and interacting.
What we do know...• Dont know exactly what causes ASD• Brain has not developed in a typical way• Different parts of the brain dont communicate with each other in a typical way• No two people with ASD are the same• Some evidence to suggest it is genetically based
In Australia, over 42,000 childrenaged between 0 and 14 have been diagnosed with Autism.
Communication skills Autism Spectrum Disorder
Communication skills Affected in different ways• Significant delays in speaking, use and understand fewer words• Not speaking at all (nonverbal)
Communication In those children who do develop speech• Copy or echo words (echolalia) with no real meaning attached• Difficulty initiating communication• Talk about their special interests• Difficulty using language for a range of purposes• Use and understand a limited set of vocabulary
Communication Nonverbal• Children with little or no speech• Need to be given alternative ways to communicate (commonly called AAC)• Devices and apps• Dont forget low tech• Multimodal approach
Social development Autism Spectrum Disorder
Social development Early social interaction is difficult• Appear uninterested in social contact• Difficult to engage and interact with• Rarely show interest in others• May not respond to others• Little eye contact• Rarely chat or play with others
Social development In those children who do develop speech• Difficulty using language appropriately in conversations• Difficulty understanding social rules and expected behaviours• Cannot initiate and maintain conversations• Difficulty making and keeping friends• Unable to effectively solve social problems and negotiate• Problems expressing and understanding feelings and emotions
BehaviourAutism Spectrum Disorder
Behaviour Complex and variable• Prefer routines and sameness and dislike change• Meltdowns• Repetitive behaviours• Obsess over particular interest areas• Sensory challenges affect behaviours• Seek sensory stimulation
Early warning signs Seek advice if you see some or many of these behaviours: • Doesnt smile at familiar people • Doesnt respond to name • Doesnt easily engage in or even enjoy games • Doesnt use eye contact • Doesnt point to things • Doesnt understand instructions
Early warning signs, more... Seek advice if you see some or many of these behaviours: • Intense interest in narrow range of topics • Obsessed with one game or toy • Easily upset by change, demands routine • Unusual body movements • Extremely sensitive to sensory experiences • Seeks sensory stimulation
Technology integrated Goal directed BehaviouralTeam decisions Typical Interventions In AustraliaFunctional- generalisation Structured and consistent Visual IndividualisedFamily and education focused
Typical interventions include:• EARLY INTERVENTION• Applied Behavioural Analysis• Picture Exchange Communication System• Aided Language Stimulation• Visual tools• Social stories
Visual ToolsEg. Schedules
Technology Changes and challenges
Technology Currently being used:• Computers/ laptops• Specialised software• Websites• Mobile tablet technologies, eg. iPad• Growing and expanding
Technology Integrate use to:• Improve and develop a communication system• Assist development of social skills• Enhance ability to learn
In AustraliaiPad revolution iPad craze iPad frenzy
Challenges and solutions...• Durability Solution: protective cases and coverings
Challenges and solutions...• Finding the right Apps/programs Solution: access blogs and websites that review apps, Autism Apps.
Challenges and solutions... • One size fits all? Solution: no quick fix, no single solution, team assessment and problem solving
Challenges and solutions... • Abandonment of other valuable strategies Solution: dont throw the baby out with the bath water.. The iPad is just one tool in our tool kit.
Challenges and solutions...• ICT ....• ie... It Cant Teach Solution: not the total solution, success relies on the teacher still teaching
Challenges and solutions... • Training and support Solution: funding to support ongoing and continuing professional development, access to the right training
Challenges and solutions... • Ongoing support to implement Solution: access to regular support services and therapies, collect and review data
Challenges and solutions... • iPad obsession and keeping kids on task Solution: Limited music, video and entertainment apps, Use within structured time limits, Use together, encouraging interaction and engagement, iOS 6 - Guided Access
REMEMBER.... Continue to support students:• With clear goals and objectives• While continuing to collect data• While reviewing what works and what doesnt• And stay flexible and ready to make changes on the run
Apps for Special Education By the Spectronics Consultancy Team spectronics.com.au/blog/apple