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Learning Disabilities in Children with Autism

Essay by   •  June 25, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,359 Words (14 Pages)  •  2,180 Views

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Learning Disabilities in Children With Autism

Many families have children with some type of disability. Leaning disabilities are becoming more common and more easily diagnosed. Not only are the parents faced with the challenges of their children's abilities, but the children themselves may encounter many difficulties thought their life, for example, academic, social, emotional, and behavior issues. Parents can gain knowledge about how to help their child's disabilities by learning more about them and how to guide them to succeed. There are many different types of learning disabilities affected during education. It is important that teachers are familiar with these disabilities before being met with them. In this literature review, we will be taking a closer look just one of them, autism. We not only researched the disability but we also will address what types of teaching strategies work best for children with autism.

We chose to discuss this topic because it was important to all of us but Maryam has a personal connection. She nannies a five-year-old boy, Jackson, who is mildly autistic, also known as a high functioning autistic, and a three-year-old boy, Emmett, who is more severe They have different traits from one another. Since Jackson's case is more mild, his symptoms are less intense then most autistic children. He has OCD when it comes to his toys and gets fixated on one toy for a long period of time and doesn't like to move on to anther activity for a couple hours. He also likes to line his cars in a row when he is playing with them. Most children like to play with their cars and pretend to drive them, while he just likes to line them up in a row along the table or floor and if someone moves one out of place he gets very frustrated. He also has trouble with his speech, and his thought process is slower as well as his response time. In Emmett's case, he has no interest really in playing with others and does not interact very well. His condition is Asperger's disorder, he is smart for his age and knows how to spell and read at a higher age level. He has poor social skills and does not make eye contact when someone is talking to him or interact with other children.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. This is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Autism affects the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Autism is four more times predominant in boys than girls. Autism has been estimated to occur in as many and one in 500 individuals. Factors such as race, racial, ethnic or social boundaries, family income, lifestyle and educational have no effect on a child with autism nor can prevent or cause autism. Children and adults with autism have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and or play activities. It is hard for some children to communicate with others because in most cases, children with disabilities are aggressive and some can cause harm to themselves (Shechtman, 2005).

Some of the signs that a child might have autism are having repeated body movement, such as hand flapping or rocking, unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to changes in routines. There are five common types of autisms in a spectrum, along with many different sub-types, which allows a child to be very mildly autistic or severely autistic. First, autistic disorder is one of the most severe cases, and people with autistic disorder are often non-verbal, intellectually disabled and may have very challenging behaviors which make social interactions, communication, and play almost impossible. Secondly, children who have asperger's syndrome, which is mostly affects at the social and play level, are intelligent and usually score high on intelligent tests. Asperger syndrome describes individuals at the highest-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Thirdly, pervasive developmental disorder or PDD is a combination of behaviors that are not placed in a certain categories. Fourthly, Rett syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects only girls, and it is the only one of the autism spectrum disorders that can be diagnosed medically so far. Girls with Rett syndrome develop severe symptoms including the social communication challenges of autism. Rett syndrome can severely impair girls' ability to use their hands profitably. And lastly, childhood disintegrative disorder is a severe case. Children develop normally until they are three or four years old, then loses some or most of their communication and social skills. These children will most likely not potty train and will need care for the rest of their lives (Shechtman, 2005).

The symptoms of autism are tested by following these guidelines; if a child has trouble making eye contact then they may not understand the feelings of others and the sadness that affects the social interactions and relationship aspect in a child. Also, if a child does not speak or has repeated phrases, it affects their verbal and nonverbal communication. Lastly, some children have limited interest in activates or play shown by their focus on parts of a toy rather than playing with the whole toy (Shechtman, 2005).

Autism is an important topic to research because there is no medical detection or cure; unfortunately it's a very serious developmental disability and the fastest growing in the United States. In this year alone, more children will be diagnosed with autism than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined. We know that boys are four times more likely than girls to have Autism. This costs the nation more $35 billion dollars a year, which is expected to increase in the next decade. There needs to be more of awareness and understanding in order to gain more funding since Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding (Autism Speaks, 2011).

Related factors that affect Autistic children are depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Anxiety and depression are more prominent during adolescence; this is especially true for higher functioning ASD children. These factors increase the social and functional impairment of ASD children and leads to the lack of opportunity to practice social skills. They also tend to suffer gastrointestinal symptoms and dysfunctions. Low academic achievement is typically seen in Autistic children because there is very little interest in academic assignments and they display disruptive behaviors in classrooms which makes it harder for them to succeed (White, 2010).

Autistic children are prone to be bullied due to the lack of skills needed to protect or defend themselves. Special needs children often cannot verbalize their feelings and it is harder for them to do anything about it. They do not

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