Various groups’ perceptions of children with autism
Perceptions of Children
By Michelle Abbasciano
What is Autism?...
known as ASD, or Autism
development disorder characterized
by repetitive behavior, limited social skills
and language impairments.
misunderstood disorder identified
about 67 years ago by Leo Kanner.
Some stats about ASD…
times more common among boys than
1 out of 54
boys and 1 in 252 girls
are diagnosed with autism in the U.S.
suggest prevalence rates have
increased 10-17% annually in recent years.
What causes Autism?...
the early days, many
believed it was caused by
– distant and cold mothers!
it is most often a combination of
autism risk genes and environmental
factors that influence brain development.
What about the kids?...
two children on the spectrum and their
characteristics are the same.
on the autism spectrum
have exceptional abilities –
visual, musical and academic skills.
are affected differently by the disorder
and are unable to live independently.
Some are completely nonverbal.
Throughout their lives…
with autism will have to work with
dozens of different kinds of people in their lives.
aides, counselors, principals, special
education teachers, doctors, therapists…and of
course parents, family, and friends.
all will have their own opinions and
of studies done gauging parents’
experiences with family, friends, and the public
interacting with their child with autism.
can’t ‘see’ the disorder,
so they just think the child is
throwing a fit and the parent
is a bad parent.
parents feel stigmatized by their child’s
disorder. Mothers tend to feel like this more often
Complete strangers scold them. Some ignored it, some
either yelled back or tried to inform the aggressor.
Some parents seem to be holding out for a cure. Others
realize there is no cure. In both cases, they find multiple
ways to cope with their child’s disorder.
Mothers in one study conveyed that their child with autism
“saved them” or “healed”
them in some way.
one large study of Greek teachers, a majority of
the respondents believed autism was the most
serious mental health disorder.
majority also didn’t think themselves informed of
the condition enough to be able to pinpoint autistic
characteristics and refer them to a specialist.
general consensus for this study was that the
teacher respondents were not well informed enough
on the condition and needed further special education
recent study in 2011 indicated that general
education teachers still are hesitant about the
idea of having an inclusion classroom.
they do not look down poorly on children
with autism, they more worry about the severity
of the child’s autism and how it will affect their
Some teachers have expressed concerns about having
children autism/emotional behavioral disorders in the
general classroom mostly because of behavioral outbursts
and lack of training and supports.
More and more teachers, however, are getting the training
and support they need in the classroom, and can gladly
and confidently teach to all kinds of children.
More teachers are also realizing that the inclusion of
children with autism in the gen ed class can be beneficial
for all if done appropriately and with the right support.
tend to perceive their peers with autism with
negativity as opposed to those without autism.
study done in 2007 revealed that kids aged 7-12
were more likely to avoid the child described with
autism and view them
small study showed that children with
autism are judged as less friendly by their peers,
based solely on their appearance.
isn’t to say all children are like this!
my experience in the classroom, I have
observed children in an inclusion class interacting
with and playing with children with autism
without any problems or biases.
what about the children
with autism? How do they view
many studies have been done that delve in to this
research has shown that high-functioning
children with autism who perceived themselves as
less socially competent demonstrated strong
intellectual capabilities and greater understanding of
others' emotional experiences than were those who
perceived themselves as more socially competent.
To sum it up…
is always going to have an opinion.
Perceptions are just the way people view certain
things based on their personal experiences and
with autism tend to come under fire
from teachers, peers, and people they don’t even
know for things they can’t control.
What it all means…
children appear to be physically normal,
yet suffer from a disability that is extremely
pervasive. It is this combination of pervasive
disability and apparent physical normality that
gives the stigma experienced by families with
autistic children its unique quality.”
What it all means…
us as teachers, we need to try to understand
each one of our students on varying levels;
accept them for who they are; use patience and
understanding both with them and their parents;
and above all else, always be kind. You never
know what struggles they are
having outside of school.