Programs also differ in the relative amount of time spent in homes, centers, or schools, when children are considered ready for inclusion into regular classrooms, how the role of peers as intervention agents is supported, and in the use of distraction-free or natural environments. Programs also differ in the credentials that are required of direct support and supervisory staff and the formal and informal roles of collateral staff, such as speech language pathologists and occupational therapists.
Overall, many of the programs are more similar than different in terms of levels of organization, staffing, ongoing monitoring, and the use of certain techniques, such as discrete trials, incidental learning, and structured teaching. However, there are real differences in philosophy and practice that provide a range of alternatives for parents and school systems considering various approaches. Much more important than the name of the program attended is how the environment and educational strategies allow implementation of the goals for a child and family.
An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder Essay -- Diseases/Disorder
In particular, it is well established that children with autism spend much less time in focused and socially directed activity when in unstructured situations than do other children. Therefore, it becomes crucial to specify time engaged in social and focused activity as part of a program for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Based on a set of individualized, specialized objectives and plans that are systematically implemented, educational services should begin as soon as a child is suspected of having an autistic spectrum disorder.
Educational services should include a minimum of 25 hours a week, 12 months a year, in which the child is engaged in systematically planned, developmentally appropriate educational activity aimed toward identified objectives. Where this activity takes place and the content of the activity should be determined on an individual basis, depending on characteristics of both the child and the family.
A child must receive sufficient individualized attention on a daily basis so that individual objectives can be effectively implemented; individualized attention should include individual therapies, developmentally appropriate small group instruction, and direct one-to-one contact with teaching staff. Lack of objectively documentable progress over a 3 month period should be taken to indicate a need to increase intensity by lowering stu-.
To the extent that it leads to the specified educational goals e. Functional, spontaneous communication should be the primary focus of early education. For very young children, programming should be based on the assumption that most children can learn to speak.
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Effective teaching techniques for both verbal language and alternative modes of functional communication, drawn from the empirical and theoretical literature, should be vigorously applied across settings. Social instruction should be delivered throughout the day in various settings, using specific activities and interventions planned to meet age-appropriate, individualized social goals e. The teaching of play skills should focus on play with peers, with additional instruction in appropriate use of toys and other materials. Other instruction aimed at goals for cognitive development should also be carried out in the context in which the skills are expected to be used, with generalization and maintenance in natural contexts as important as the acquisition of new skills.
Because new skills have to be learned before they can be generalized, the documentation of rates of acquisition is an important first step. Methods of introduction of new skills may differ from teaching strategies to support generalization and maintenance. Intervention strategies that address problem behaviors should incorporate information about the contexts in which the behaviors occur; positive, proactive approaches; and the range of techniques that have empirical support e. Functional academic skills should be taught when appropriate to the skills and needs of a child.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA contains the necessary provisions for ensuring rights to appropriate education for children with autistic spectrum disorders. However, the implementation and specification of these services are variable. Early intervention for young children with autistic spectrum disorders is expensive, and most local schools need financial help from the state and federal programs to provide appropriate services. The large number of court cases is a symptom of the tension between families and school systems.
Case law has yielded an inconsistent pattern of findings that vary according to the characteristics of the individual cases. The treatment of autistic spectrum disorders often involves many disciplines and agencies. This confuses lines of financial and intellectual responsibility and complicates assessment and educational planning. Support systems are not generally adequate in undergirding local service delivery programs and maximizing the usefulness of different disciplines and agencies, and transitions between service delivery agencies are often problematic.
A number of states have successful models for providing services to children with autism, and mechanisms are becoming increasingly efficient and flexible in some states. In most cases, existing agencies at state and federal levels can develop appropriate programs without restructuring—with the possible addition of special task forces or committees designed to deal with issues particular to children with autistic spectrum disorders. The committee recommends that a variety of steps be taken to ensure that policies are effectively carried out at the state and local levels.
History And Introduction To Autism Psychology Essay
States should have regional resource and training centers with expertise in autistic spectrum disorders to provide training and technical support to local schools. States should also have a mechanism to evaluate the adequacy of current support systems to local schools and recommend ways for improvement. States should monitor coordination among and transitions between service delivery systems and should develop ways to facilitate these processes.
Families should have access to consultation and legal knowledge such as provided by an ombudsman who is independent of the school system and who could be a standard part of Individualized Educational Plan planning and meetings. The ombudsman should be knowledgeable about autistic spectrum disorders and about relevant law and court decisions. State and federal agencies should consider ways to work with and support professional and advocacy groups to provide up-to-date, practical, scientifically valid information to parents and practitioners.
States should have clearly defined minimum standards for personnel in educational settings for children with autistic spectrum disorders. For example, at a minimum, teachers should have some special preparation e. States should develop a systematic strategy to fund the interventions that are necessary for children with autistic spectrum disorders in local schools, so that this cost is not borne primarily by the parents or local school systems.
State education departments should develop interagency collaborations to pool support for local systems. A state fund for intensive intervention, or more systematic use of Medicaid waivers or other patterns of funding currently in place in some states, should be considered. Families should not be expected to fund or provide the majority of educational programming for their children. An updated, accurate summary of case law, consultation services, and mediation mechanisms in autistic spectrum disorders should be made accessible by the Office of Special Education Programs so that schools and parents can understand the options available to them when conflicts arise.
Since levels of information about autistic spectrum disorders vary greatly within the groups and agencies that make funding and policy decisions about autistic spectrum disorders, including state task forces in education and review panels in federal agencies, it is crucial that persons knowledgeable in the range of needs and interventions associated with autistic spectrum disorders be included in those decision-making activities.
The nature of autistic spectrum disorders and other disabilities that frequently accompany them has significant implications for approaches to education and intervention at school, in the home, and in the community. Teachers are faced with a huge task. They must be familiar with theory and research concerning best practices for children with autistic spectrum disorders, including methods of applied behavior analysis, naturalistic learning, assistive technology, socialization, communication, inclusion, adaptation of the environment, language interventions, assessment, and the effective use of data collection systems.
Specific problems in generalization and maintenance of behaviors also affect the need for training in methods of teaching children with autistic spectrum disorders.
Autism Essays (Examples)
The wide range of IQ scores and verbal skills associated with autistic spectrum disorders, from profound mental retardation and severe language impairments to superior intelligence, intensify the need for personnel training. To enable teachers to adequately work with parents and with other professionals to set appropriate goals, teachers need familiarity with the course of autistic spectrum disorders and the range of possible outcomes.
Teachers learn according to the same principles as their students. Multiple exposures, opportunities to practice, and active involvement in learning are all important aspects of learning for teachers, as well as students. Many states and community organizations have invested substantial funds in teacher preparation through workshops and large-audience lectures by well-known speakers. While such presentations can stimulate enthusiasm, they do not substitute for ongoing consultation and handson opportunities to observe and practice skills working with children with autistic spectrum disorders.
Personnel preparation remains one of the weakest elements of effective programming for children with autistic spectrum disorders and their families. Ways of building on the knowledge of teachers as they acquire experience with children with autistic spectrum disorders, and ways of keeping skilled personnel within the field, are critical. This is particularly true given recent trends for dependence on relatively inexperienced assistants for in-home programs.
Providing knowledge about autistic spectrum disorders to special education and regular education administrators, as well as to specialized providers with major roles in early intervention e. Findings concerning change in educational and other opportunities suggest that administrative attitudes and support are critical in improving schools. The committee recommends that relevant state and federal agencies institute an agenda for upgrading personnel preparation for those who. These efforts should be part of a larger effort to coordinate and collaborate with the already established infrastructure of special education, regional resource centers, technical assistance programs, personnel preparation, communication sharing, and other relevant aspects of the existing infrastructure.
Professionals aware of the special nature of these children are already carrying out many of these recommendations in a limited fashion. The committee urges agencies to provide the personnel preparation resources needed for intensified efforts to build a viable support structure for educating children with autistic spectrum disorders.
The Office of Special Education Programs should establish a 5-year plan to provide priority funds for preservice and inservice preparation for teachers, paraprofessionals, and other personnel providing services for children with autistic spectrum disorders, including children under age 3 years. The need for a team approach involving many professions should be addressed by personnel preparation and practicum work within multidisciplined organizations and teams. A special emphasis should be placed on training of trainers. There is a short supply of expertise and experience in the field of education for children with autistic spectrum disorders, and special attention should be paid to rapidly increase the capabilities of the trainers, who may have experience in special education or related fields, but not in the special skills and practices for children with autistic spectrum disorders.
The existing support systems that provide short-term training e. The content of the curriculum for children with autistic spectrum disorders should be based on sound research. A continuing program should be established from such agencies as the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to translate their research into usable information for practitioners. Work on family research is particularly relevant. They may also have a resistance to change in normal routines. Sometimes the child may have an extraordinary talent in art, music, math, or some other area.
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