Autism Spectrum Disorder Heather LM, Dustin Wright, and Amanda Brown
What is Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder? • Autism is a developmental disability that affects the brain, immune system and gastrointestinal tract which cause problems with social interaction and communication • Autism Spectrum Disorder is a group of disorders with similar features • There are five disorders classified under the umbrella category officially known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders, or PDD • Autism • Asperger syndrome • Rett syndrome • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Etiology (causation) • Autism has no specific cause • Possible causes include: • Genetics-cause susceptibility that affects brain development • Environmental factors • Viral infections, pollutants, maternal medications (antidepressants)
Characteristics and Prevalence • ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) affects three main areas: • Social Skills • Poor eye contact • Fails to respond to his/her name • Resists cuddling and holding • Appears unaware of people’s feelings • Prefers to play alone • Language • Behavior • Prevalence of Autism is 3 to 4 times more likely to develop in boys than girls
Language and Behavior • Difficulty in saying words or sentences • Speaks with abnormal voice • Sing-song • Robot-like Communication • can’t start a conversation or keep one going • Difficulty expressing oneself • Behavior • Develops specific routines or rituals • Disturbed at slight changes in routines • Moves constantly • May be extra sensitive to light and sounds • Can be unaware of pain • Intense or abnormal interest, limited
Identification • Signs often appear by 18 months, but diagnosis occurs around 2 or 3 • Starts talking later than 2 years • Developmental delays by 30 months
How does having Autism affect one’s home life and development? • Family • Emotional stress • Financial stress • Routines may need to be set into place • Parents • Evidence mothers experience greater impact than fathers • Partially depends on gender roles
How does having Autism affect one’s home life and development? Cont. • Siblings • Research shows mixed results • Pick up pretty early that their sibling is different • May not know exactly what is wrong • Resentment may ensue due to parents spending more time with child with Autism
Interview with a mother who has a son with Autism • When was the first time you realized something was different when he was a baby? • “I knew at birth he was different. He did not cry like my other child did and seemed overly calm. I was concerned, but did not know why. I really noticed and was alarmed, more around him turning nine months old. He did not respond to normal stimuli, (like when saying his name, he did not look at me) pain, (he did not cry when he had a double ear infection, then resulted in his eardrum perforating; he still did not cry) and was not verbalizing (like saying momma or dada).” • After he got diagnosed, what changes did you make in the way you were raising him? • “After he was diagnosed, (everything changed) I completely changed every parenting technique I was using at the time. I began to educate myself on “everything autism”, which lead me to build strategic models of parenting/therapy for my son’s needs. Here are some of the things I have done, used, and am still doing and using today..
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)Art TherapyAuditory Integration TrainingChelationChiropracticCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)Dietary SupplementsDigestive EnzymesDIR Method (Floortime)Early childhood intervention - educationalEarly Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)Facilitated CommunicationFeingold DietFunctional Communication TrainingGluten-Free, Casein-Free DietHolding TherapyHyperbaric TherapyIncidental TeachingIntensive InteractionJoint Action Routines LEAPMassageMelatoninMilieu TrainingMulti-Sensory Environments- Exposure therapyMulti-Vitamin/Mineral SupplementsMusic TherapyOccupational TherapyPicture Exchange Communication System (PECS)Play TherapyPhysiotherapyPsychoanalysisRelationship Development Intervention (RDI)Responsiveness TrainingRestricted Environmental Stimulation TherapySCERTS ModelSensory Integrative TherapySign LanguageSocial Groups, Social Stories, and Social Skills GroupsSpeech and Language TherapyTEACCHTheory of Mind TrainingVideo ModelingVisual SchedulesWeighted Items
How do you work with him now at home? • “All of the above interventions and therapies have been used off and on through his life. Some center based and some in home. A lot of the techniques, therapies, and interventions that are used now, have become integrated into his daily life. Instead of going to therapy, it is now just a part of what we do. ‘A type of normal everyday life’. I might be using RDI, ABA, Social Story, or OT at any given time and no one would even know it. This is how I work with him now. If there is a need or I learn something new about a treatment, intervention, therapy, or technique; then he typically would go to where that service is being provided.” • What are some challenges you think he may face in his future? • “Due to all the things I have done to help my son, I really only see him facing relational challenges. Family, friendships, classmates, co-workers, etc.… People on the spectrum are typically very selfish; they isolate, have only their interests, and like to be alone. Not that they choose this behavior, but this is who they are. It’s like we are monkey’s (social) and they are orangutans (solitary). They often use people as objects and do not look at them as a human with feelings. Again, not meaning this in a “their fault” type of manner. It’s just how it is. I would say this is the hardest part for the loving family members to deal with.”
What educational needs does he have or use? • “Due to all the interventions early on, he currently is not using any additional educational services. He is mainstreamed in and normal school setting and the majority of people do not even know he is autistic. Earlier in his childhood, he did have an IEP, which modified his school experience for his Autistic needs. ” • How is he interpersonally and in his friendships/relationships? • “I think my answer to #4 kind of answers this. Again, due to all the things we have done, he can for the most part have surface level appropriate friendships/relationships. Interpersonal skills are what you could call socially sustainable. He does at time still parallel play. This is when he will tolerate being next or in the same room doing what he wants next to you. Not playing with you, but next to you.”
More on how having Autism can affect one’s social life and relationships • People with autism have social impairments and often lack the intuition about others that many people take for granted. • The skills need for social interaction come naturally for most, however, those with Autism Spectrum Disorder need to be explicitly taught how to socially interact. • Unusual social development becomes apparent early in childhood. Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. Autistic toddlers differ more strikingly from social norms
Social Life and Relationships Cont. • Autism is a developmental disability characterized by impairments in social skills, language, and behavior. • Social skills are important for inclusion. • Children with high-functioning autism suffer from more intense and frequent loneliness compared to non-autistic peers, despite the common belief that children with autism prefer to be alone. • Making and maintaining friendships often proves to be difficult for those with autism
Social Life and Relationships Cont. • About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs • children with Autism are less likely to make requests or share experiences, and are more likely to simply repeat others' words.
How does having Autism affect one’s education? • Although severity varies, all autism disorders affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. • Autism usually causes the most problems in these 3 areas (social interaction, language, and behavior) all of which are crucial to education • It is important to remember that each child with an autism spectrum disorder is affected differently
Cont. • There are many symptoms of an Autism Spectrum Disorder that influence ones education. Some of the most common are: • Fails to respond to his/her name • Poor eye contact • Appears to not hear you at times • Can lose ability to say previously acquired words or sentences • Repeats words or phrases but doesn’t understand how to correctly use them • Speaks with an abnormal rhythm (ex. Singsong voice or robot-type speech)
There are also the behavioral symptoms that can have a huge impact on the education process. • Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to develop specific routines and can become disturbed at the smallest change to these routines. • Children may also be constantly moving or fascinated by certain objects.
As stated before having an Autism Spectrum Disorder affects each child differently. • Young children with Autism have a hard time sharing their experiences or thoughts with other. • Reading (when read to they struggle to point at pictures in the book). This is crucial to language and social development. • It is common for children with an Autism Spectrum to be a little slower at gaining new knowledge and skills.
It should also be noted that some children with Autism have normal to high levels of intelligence • These children typically learn quickly, but have a difficult time communicating and applying what they learn to everyday life. • “Autistic Savants” • Small number of children with an Autism Spectrum. • Children who have standout skills in a certain area such as music, math or art.
A Hoop Dream • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngzyhnkT_jY&feature=related