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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Autism Awareness

One in 110 people are diagnosed as being Autistic. Autism is a disorder of neural development that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism affects each person differently which is why there is an Autism Spectrum. In education, each autistic child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) based on their specific needs and goals. Teachers need to be advocates for autistic students. Being the voice of these students will get their needs met.
Teachers should help the student relate topics and events to each other because it is very common for people with autism to have difficulty relating. The teacher should identify what type of learner the autistic child is. If the child is a visual learner they will learn best from reading or watching a demonstration of a skill. If the child is an auditory learner they will learn best from lectures, spoken instructions, or music. If the child is a kinesthetic learner they will learn best from movement. Students with autism may have auditory sensitivity so speaking softly and avoiding loud noises in the classroom will aid in this student’s learning process. In the spectrum, some are visually sensitive so using natural light such as a window will help the individual learn. Avoiding bright lights or flickering strobe lights will be beneficial to the student. The autistic child’s fixations should be incorporated into the lesson the teacher is teaching the class to engage the student into the lesson.
Interactive games help to improve the autistic child’s sensory processing, improves memory and problem solving, improve verbal skills, and encourages social skills. Interactive games such as board games or computer games can help the autistic child learn. Many games geared towards autistic children improve the child’s social skills. Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction. Often times, people with autism cannot recognize facial expressions or even recognize faces of people that they know. Interactive computer games such as “FaceSay” have been proven in studies to help improve a person’s recognition of faces and facial expressions.
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