What is Autism?<br />“Autism is a brain-based disorder that involves disrupted social and communication development, along with the presence of stereotyped patterns of behaviors and interests.” (Landa & Garrett-Mayer, 2006)<br />Autism (say: aw-tih-zum) causes kids to experience the world differently from the way most other kids do. It's hard for kids with autism to talk with other people and express themselves using words. Kids who have autism usually keep to themselves and many can't communicate without special help. –KidsHealth.org<br />Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. – Autism Society of America<br />
Signs and symptoms<br /><ul><li>Lack of appropriate eye gaze
Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers</li></ul>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuWWie1DlJY<br />
Social Skills of typically Developing of Children<br />Enjoy pretending to play different characters with adults and other children<br />Enjoy playing with children of the same age, perhaps showing and telling another child about a favorite toy<br />Talk about interests and feelings about the past and future<br />Sharing toys with other children<br />Giving positive attention to others<br />Requesting information for others about their activities<br />Contributing to ongoing discussions among peers<br />
Social Skills Development of Autistic Children<br />Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them<br />Doesn’t know how to connect with others, play, or make friends<br />Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled<br />Doesn’t play "pretend" games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways<br />Has trouble understanding or talking about feelings<br />Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to him or her<br />Doesn't share interests or achievements with others (drawings, toys)<br />
How can you help?<br />Teach students to associate different facial features with emotions. Use sorting cards to match facial expressions to emotional words, or identify the nonverbal emotional message from real photos.<br />Rehearse skills needed for appropriate social interactions, either conversations or large group skills, individually or in small groups. The instructional focus of these initial sessions should include maintaining eye contact during conversations, learning social greetings, and maintaining social interactions.<br />Practice newly learned skills with puppets, peers, or adults prior to having students use their new skills in an unstructured social situation, like the cafeteria or recess.<br />Provide explicit instruction and reminders of conversation etiquette. Students need frequent reminders about their body position (e.g., too close or too far), maintaining personal space, face position and expression (e.g., looking away or inappropriate facial expression), and voice tone or pitch (e.g., bossy or condescending; inside or outside voice).<br />-National Education Association: The puzzle of Autism<br />
Activities<br />Social stories- Helps children to learn how to play with other kids through stories<br />Relational Activities- encourage children to reference other people’s facial expressions<br />Board games with multiple players encourages social skills and communication skills<br />Singing, music, and dancing<br />Sensory integration- outdoor play sets/playgrounds, sensory bins, chase or tag games, swinging, etc.<br />Encourage discussion with animated gestures and facial expressions<br />Imitation and modeling<br /> -Autism.lovetoknow.com<br />
Discussion<br />This is the time to share your stories, thoughts, feelings, questions, comments, concerns, etc.<br />
References<br />Katz, L.G. & McClellan, D.E. (1997). Fostering children’s social competence: The teacher’s role. NAEYC Publications.<br />Landa, R. & Garrett-Mayer, E. (2006). Development of infants with autism spectrum disorders: a prospective study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47 (6) 629-638<br />National Professional Library (2006) The Puzzle of Autism. National Education Association.<br />Autism: http://autism.lovetoknow.com/Main_Page<br />Autism symptoms and early signs: http://helpguide.org/mental/autism_signs_symptoms.htm<br />Autism Symptoms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuWWie1DlJY<br />Autism Society: http://www.autism-society.org/<br />KidsHealth: http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/brain/autism.html#<br />The First Year: http://www.firstsigns.org/index.html<br />
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