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Monday, May 20, 2013
Basics Of Autism
I would like basic information on autism as i am thinking of working alongside children with autism. I find that looking on the internet confuses and gives a too deep description.
Information available on the Internet about children with autism can be very overwhelming. The problem is that these children can be very different, so making general statements about them may be neither helpful nor accurate. It is important to understand that children and adults can have autism to varying degrees, which is why it is becoming common to use the term "autism spectrum disorders." There are five diagnoses under the pervasive developmental disorders "umbrella." The three you would be most likely to encounter are autism, Asperger's Disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Children with autism spectrum disorders may have various autistic characteristics in varying degrees, making them appear very different. Some children are very solitary, while others are "active but odd" - eager to engage adults but often in unusual verbal exchanges. Some do not talk at all. Among the classic autism spectrum characteristics are:
- social skills deficits
- poor imaginative play skills
- poor communication skills
- rather rigid adherence to routines
- a restricted range of interests
- poor eye contact,
- sensory sensitivities
- difficulties transitioning from one activity to another.
They may have one diagnosis when they are very young, but with appropriate intervention/treatment, they may acquire skills that allow them to move along the autism spectrum toward the behavior and abilities of more typically-developing children. Dedicated adults who understand and appreciate them can play a critically important role in helping these children to learn and develop important life skills.
If you think you would be interested in working with children with autism, it would be worth your time to visit a classroom or clinic where you can observe and perhaps volunteer. A local children's hospital may be able to suggest a volunteer opportunity. This should assist you in making your decision.
Patricia H Cloppert, BSFS
Faculty Parent Advocate
Program Manager for Parent/Family Support
OSU Nisonger Center
The Ohio State University