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Autism Spectrum Disorder (asd) in Children and Its Treatment in the Classroom

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Children and its Treatment in the Classroom

With more and more children diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), considerable research has been published on the topic in recent years. Children affected by ASD display distinct behavioural patterns, some of which can be observed in the classroom. This essay aims to broadly study ASD, characteristics and causes along with other disorders which are associated with autism spectrum disorder, including Retts syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder. It is assumed that all interventions benefit from cooperation between teachers and parents. Therefore, the objective of this essay is to introduce and evaluate classroom interventions working with parents to support children affected by autism. The objective of this essay is to evaluate classroom strategies helping children affected by ASD. Particular attention is paid to the importance of working in partnership with parents. Furthermore, the essay also includes a list of interventions considered as most effective in terms of dealing with children on the spectrum.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs):

Autism is a developmental disorder known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, 2007), Autism is characterised by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication as well as unusual repetitive or severely limited activities and interests. Autism affects three to six children out of every 1,000, with male children four times more likely to be affected by autism than female children (NINDS, 2007). The term ASD was devised because of the broad spectrum of traits ranking from severe to mild. The wide scope of characteristics results in mildly affected children not being diagnosed, because symptoms may not be severe enough to significantly restrict the child's cognitive abilities. Moreover, in some cases children on the spectrum are not recognized because ASD appears in conjunction with other conditions including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder (Mental Health Care, 2006). Other neurodevelopment disorders considered in this essay are Retts syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and pervasive developmental disorder (NINDS 2007).

Representation of other Spectrum Disorders:

Retts Syndrome

Retts Syndrome is less common than other disorders on the autism spectrum. Girls are most likely to be affected by Retts syndrome. This autism spectrum disorder most often becomes visible when children are ca 18 month and is characterised by loss of social interaction such as eye contact and regression of previously mastered skills (National Autistic Society, 2007).

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:

Childhood disintegrative Disorder (CDD) is an autism spectrum disorder sharing similar symptoms with autism itself. It has been found to be the most uncommon form of autism spectrum disorder. It has been observed that only two percent of children affected by autism spectrum disorder have been diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder. Apart from symptoms shared with other children on the spectrum, children with CDD forget words and display higher level of regression than any other autism spectrum disorder (Mental Health Care, 2006).

Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Autism itself is a neurodevelopmental disorder and severely impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact socially (Coben & Meyers, 2010). It further impairs the imagination of affected individuals (Mental Health Care, 2006). This in turn affects their ability to form relationships with peers, initiate or sustain a conversation with others, social play absence and results in impairment of imagination and stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language (NINDS, 2007). Additionally, there may also be marked impairment in the use of non-verbal communication, including eye contact, facial expression, body posture and gestures (Mental Health Care, 2006). Autism is different from ASD, which includes milder symptoms of the disorder (Nwokeafer et al., 2009). In some cases the behaviour associated with autism or ASD are noticeable in public (NINDS, 2007). Autism has been a difficult condition to diagnose for centuries because of numerous co-existing conditions associated with autism, such as X syndrome which causes mental retardation, exist (NINDS, 2007). Other conditions including epileptic seizure, tourettes syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are all associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (NINDS, 2007).

Children affected by one or more autism spectrum disorders generally display distinct behaviour pattern. Parents and teachers are usually able to understand and respond to these behaviour patterns. Commonly, changes in the behaviour of a child leading to diagnoses become apparent in the first two years. The most common behaviour is inappropriate or lacking social interaction with peers. The indication can be observed in different situations such as the inability of an autistic child to understand the person with whom he/she communicates (Nwokeafern et al., 2009).

Weaknesses in communication can be noted in both verbal as well as non-verbal types of communication. Such a deficit can easily be noted among children in a classroom in particular during activities such as class debates, speech competitions etc. Another indication that is noted among children with ASD is that they are unable to control their repetitive reactions (Patten & Watson, 2011). Moreover, children on the spectrum struggle with changes in routines and find it difficult to adapt. For instance, establishing relationships with new peers can be very difficult. This results in a situation where children with autism want consistent attention from people they can communicate with.

Effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Long-run:

Intervention aiming to improve social skills is necessary for children on the autism spectrum to become as independent as possible (Garfinckle & Schwartz, 2010). Moreover, parents at times find it difficult to meet the needs of their special need children. Intervention is most effective if families and teachers work together to help children on the spectrum early on instead of waiting for them to become older (Yeh-Kennedy, 2008). Research suggests classroom and its



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