does suggest that the increase in recognizing the autistic spectrum disorder signs and symptoms in children, and
diagnosis of Autism spectrum syndrome
with typically developing children, each
child on the spectrum is different. And the degree and complexity of autistic symptoms will vary from child to
all children with autistic spectrum
disorder will generally display the following autistic signs and symptoms:
Social interaction problems
is also apparent that many children with autism spectrum can also be very sensitive to their environment; you
may hear this referred to as sensory processing issues in autism.
example sensory processing issues in autism may affect one or all of the senses;
bright light, noises even background noises, smell, the feel of some materials
and so are all too much to bare for some children with autism spectrum.
within the mainstream classroom an
autistic child can be viewed by their normally developing peers as “odd or
weird”, which can lead to social isolation
and sometimes even bullying.
teachers of children with special needs, some possible considerations for the autism classroom should include visual
within the autism classroom…it is
important to remember that an autistic child
is more likely to be a visual learner. Consequently, visual intervention
strategies are important, for example a visual timetable, visual support cards,
social stories and so on…
A visual timetable…will provide a child on
the spectrum with a clear precise instructions and structure as to what is
expected lessons/activities throughout the day.
Try and keep changes to routines or
lessons to a minimal,
children with autistic spectrum disorder do not like changes.
possible tell your autistic student
in advance of any possible changes, to give them plenty of warning. Springing a
change on an autistic student should wherever possible be avoided.
would be a good idea to consider within the autism classroom a “Time out” or “Quiet spot” for use by
the autistic student when necessary. Try to avoid other children in the class
using this space if your autistic student is in there!
It is also important to remember that
children with autism spectrum do not read facial expressions or body language. So avoid the obvious,
frown or the “shhh”. Children with autism spectrum will not be able to read
is also important to remember a child on the spectrum will not understand jokes
or subtle hints and clues. You will need to think literal.
autistic student may also not
interpret themselves as included when you address the class, so it is well to
remember to address them by name. The “everybody”
or “everyone” phrases may well get lost, and the student with autism will not
naturally think that includes them.
using visual intervention strategies and
clues during lessons, children with autism respond better to visual lesson
using autism social skills stories during the school day for all
occasions the autistic student is struggling with, for example PE, assembly,
asking questions, recess and so on…
Visual prompts such as autism social
skills stories provide clear structure
to situations, skills, behaviors and transitions. The social story can act
like a role model or visual plan to help support
the student with autism.
well as being visual autism social skills stories also have text that can be shared
with the child on the spectrum allowing
them to understand what is expected
of them as well as what they can expect from others. The social story answers
the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as “HOW” and gives
an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others which is an area
of marked weakness in most children with autistic spectrum disorder.
Typically a child on the spectrum
will struggle to follow rules and engage in social activities; again a social story
can help overcome these difficulties.
Parents and teachers may
find it useful to explain what autism is to others before their child is labeled
“odd or weird”. Although a diagnosis of
Autism spectrum syndrome is far more common today information about autism is
not common and many teachers find themselves inadequately prepared for
teaching a student with autism.
It can also be helpful
when explaining what autism is to
remember autism is a neurological disorder not a mental illness and affects how
the individual on the spectrum processes information, thinks and acts.
for autism can help alleviate some of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Signs and Symptoms
For more advice on what
autism is… and to download autism social
skills stories, and other visual intervention strategies such as visual support