Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)· DisabilityDefinition: Autism spectrum disorder is a conditionrelated to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializeswith others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorderalso includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term”spectrum” in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range ofsymptoms and severity.· Symptoms/Causes: Some children show signsof ASD in early infancy in the form of reduced eye contact, lack of response totheir name or indifference to parents and guardians (mayoclinic.
org). Otherchildren may develop normally for the first few months or even years of life,but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skillsthey’ve already acquired (elsforautismcanada.com). Signs usually are seen byage 2.o Types of ASD include: 1.
Asperger’sSyndrome2. Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)3. AutisticDisorder· Prevalence: About 1 in 68 children havebeen identified with autism spectrum disorder according to estimates from CDC’sAutism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. ASD is can affect all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic familiesand is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in189) (autismsocietyofindiana.org).· Diagnosing:Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder isdifficult since there is no medical test, such as a blood test, to diagnose thedisorders.
Doctors look at the child’s conduct and development to make a verdict.ASD can sometimes be identified at 18 months or younger (cdc.gov). By age 2, a diagnosis by a qualified expert can beconsidered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a finaldiagnosis until much older (liberty-post.com). DiagnosingASD requires two steps; developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.· Treatments and Strategies: There are no medications that can cure ASD or address themain symptoms.
Nevertheless, there are medications that can help some peoplewith ASD live a healthier life (cdc.gov). Thereare many different types of treatments available. For instance, auditory guidance,discrete trial instruction, vitamin treatment, anti-yeast therapy, facilitatedcommunication, music treatment, occupational therapy, physical rehabilitation,and sensory integration (soarwithautism.org).
The diverse types of treatments can normally be broken downinto the following categories: behavior and communication advances, dietaryapproaches, medication, complementary and alternative medicine.( cdc.gov)· Impact on the Family: 1. Financial: Familieswith autistic children habitually face a huge financial load. Everyday cost forautism treatment and therapies are not covered by most private health insurers,and they are costly.
The co pays parents uphold for medications andoffice visits often lead to a massive monetary debt. According to a recentstudy, families with an autistic child experienced an average loss of 14percent in their whole family income. Working around the clock becomes verytough for both parents. So, the family has to accept the increased expenses, inspite of having a lowered family income.
Full-time employment is vital for manyparents for providing health insurance, and so, losing a full-time job may considerablyaffect the family’s financial circumstances.2.Emotional: Autism brings with it alot of emotional ups and downs for the family members, which begin previous tothe diagnosis and continue forever (psychcentral.com).
Studies show that mothers of children with ASD often rated their status ofmental health as fair or poor. When compared to the general population, theirstress level was much higher. Besides having higher stress levels, parents ofautistic children are likely to experience feelings ofembarrassment due to their child’s behavior in public, feelings socially isolated,despair because of the disorder’s incurable nature, as well as a plethora of otherfeelings.3.Siblings: A child with autism also influences his or herneuro-typical siblings. The siblings undergo many of the stresses faced by theother family members.
Furthermore, parents may not be able to provide them withcomplete support, as they are overwhelmed meeting the needs and demands oftheir autistic child. In families having children with ASD as well as typicallydeveloping siblings, a more intense form of sibling rivalry can be seen. Theautistic child’s need for more attention and time may cause brothers andsisters to feel left out and bitter. However, most families can overcome thesechallenges if they have control over the other factors leading to stress.4. Parental Training: According to the researchers, about half of children withautism will demonstrate some type of behavioral problems that can be disruptiveto the entire family, including non-autistic siblings, so equipping parentswith more effective tools for dealing with such episodes could help everyone.Research continues to back up the claim that when it comes to autisticchildren, early intervention is key.
· EducationalImplications on Developmental Domains1. Receptive/Expressive Language:Expressivelanguage is our ability to convey our thoughts into words withmeaning. Basically our ability to talk. Receptive language is ourunderstanding of what is being said to us.Both expressive and receptive language skills are essential toeffectively communicate. When either one is impaired, a child’s abilityto communicate is impacted. Children with ASD will always have some sortof a language insufficiency depending on their actual diagnosis.
Between 1.5 to 2 years of age, childrenexhibit a rapid spurt in vocabulary and knowledge of the rules ofconversational exchange. For the child with ASD, these developmentalprocesses appear to be hijacked taking the form of impaired or delayed languageabilities at a very early age. Moretimes than not, expressive language is impacted to a greater degree thanreceptive language. This is the reason why augmentative communication withchildren with ASD is so important.
Augmentative communication is a means ofcommunication which can involve pictures, picture boards or communicationdevices.2. Cognition: Cognition is the mental action or process ofacquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and thesenses.
Cognitive deficits, including mental retardation, are mixedwith social and communication difficulties, and many of the theoreticalaccounts of autistic spectrum disorders highlight concepts, such as jointattention and theory of mind. These concepts involve components of cognition,communication, and social understanding. With this being understood, educationalplans cannot enforce a typical sequence of learning. The educational approach mustbe individualized, while focusing on of each of the component factors to thegoals most relevant for an individual child.
In younger children with ASD childrendisplay specific areas of deficiency relating to representational knowledge. 3. Fine & Gross Motor Skills: Fine motor skills are smallmovements such as picking up small objects and holding a spoon that use the small muscles of the fingers,toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. Gross motor skills are the biggermovements such as rolling over and sitting that use the large muscles in thearms, legs, torso, and feet. Children on the autistic spectrum often havedifficulties with posture, coordination and motor planning. Motor skill performanceand learning depend on forming strong connections between different partsof the brain that link sensory information from the body (skin, joints,muscles, vestibular system), sensory information from the environment (visionand hearing) and intensions, goals and feelings. This information is usedfor determining what will happen next, planning movements to achievegoals, executing the movements and evaluating the outcome.
Because of thedifferences in how the brain is wired, children with autism do not easily incorporateall the information needed for task learning and may usedifferent methods which are less efficient and may need extrapractice and guidance to learn new motor skills.4. Self Help Skills: Self help refers to theaction or process of bettering oneself or overcoming one’s problems without theaid of others; especially: the coping with one’s personal or emotional problemswithout professional help. Forchildren diagnosed with Autism, they often experience delays in learning theseskills. As soon as the child is diagnosed with autism, self help / life skillsinstruction should begin. Studies have shown that the use of visual schedulesand teaching children in simple steps helps children be able to complete thesetasks without any intervention. A few examples of basic skills that childrenwith autism struggle with include; going to the bathroom, eating, drinking,brushing teeth, dressing, bathing and shoe tying.
5. Social& Emotional Skills: Social and emotional skills refer to the processthrough which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge,attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set andachieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish andmaintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Children withautism have major difficulties in both their social and emotional relationshipsin a number of areas.
Research has shown that children with autism have lowerrates of social initiation with and response to peers. Additionally, they show littlenonverbal communication while gesturing and emotional expression is sometimes nonexistent.Furthermore, autistic children pay less attention to others’ emotional displaysthan do their typical peers and show less empathy or shared emotion.· Data-BasedDecision Making 1. Setting Goalsand Defining Target Behavior: When it comes to setting goals for you’rea child’s IEP, it is important to remember that the goal should represent whatthe parent and the other IEP team members think the child will be able toaccomplish in his or her area or areas of disability (academic, developmental,and functional) in a year’s time.
The IEP team should develop academic andfunctional goals based on the child’s present level of performance. Reportsfrom parent and the teachers, as well as evaluations and performance on state assessmentsprovide the basis for deciding areas to focus on for the child. Furthermore,the state’s academic content standards for the child’s grade level can provideas a reference point for setting goals. A target behavior is anybehavior that has been chosen or ‘targeted’ for change. A target behaviorshould be positive. That means that the target behavior should focus on whatyou would like the child to do as opposed to what you do not want the child todo. Target behaviors must be defined in such a manner that the behavior can beobserved and measured. 2.
Procedurefor Collecting Data: Data collection is a regular activity inthe special education classroom. It requires evaluating the student’s successon individual items in his or her goals on a regular basis, typically at leastonce a week. When a special education teacher creates goals for their students,the teacher should also create data sheets to record the student’sprogress on individual goals, recording the number of correct responses as apercent of total responses.
Different kinds of data measurement are importantfor different kinds of goals. “Trial By Trial” data collection measures thepercent of correct trials against the total number of trials. This isused for discrete trials. “Duration” data collection measures the lengths ofbehaviors, often paired with interventions to reduce undesirable behaviors.Interval data collection is a type of duration data that reflects eitherpercent of intervals or percent of complete intervals. And there is also “Frequency”,which is a simple measure that notes the frequency of either wanted or unwantedbehaviors. These are usually described in an operational way so they canbe identified by a neutral observer.
3. Using Data Gathered to Make Decisions: Researchhas shown that using data in instructional decisions can lead to improvedstudent performance. Data-driven educational decision making is the processby which teachers examine assessment data to recognize student strengths anddeficiencies. Teachers then use this information and apply it to their lessons.This process of critically examining curriculum and instructional practices inrelationship to students’ actual performance on standardized tests and otherassessments creates data that help teachers make more accurate decisions.
Localassessments such as classroom tests and quizzes, as well as formativeassessments like homework and teacher observations are also legitimate sourcesof student data for this process.