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Autism and Aspergers

 

Autism is a developmental disorder caused by a functional error in the brain and symptoms start to show before the age of three. Autism usually accompany things like mental retardation, epilepsy, hyperactivity, avoidance and easy tantrums. Children with Autism usually have three major problems in with life at home and school: relationships with peers and others, difficulty with languages and bad behavior. People with Autism can also differ highly in symptoms. Designing an educational method specifically for them will highly increase what they are able to take in and learn.

Autism is more likely to occur in firstborn males which is a 0.03 – 0.05 percent. The firstborn male having Autism happens more often than firstborn females by three to four times(Graham, Turk and Verhulst, 1999).

 

Up to this point of time, there is no medication that can completely cure Autism. Due to the fact that every child with Autism can differ greatly, plus what causes Autism is uncertain, so it has been difficult to create a complete and foolproof method of treatment. However, through behavioral therapy, cognitive learning, sensorial integration training and language communicative training we’re able to lessen the damage done by Autism. Music, art and gaming therapy can also help individuals with Autism overcome their specific disabilities.

 
Asperger and Autism belongs in the same category, however people with Aspergers have relatively normal IQ and language abilities, but they are weak in their social abilities to relate to others and make friends. To this day, scientists are still uncertain as to how a child’s brain would change to develop Aspergers. But, more and more studies start to show that children with Aspergers has a weaker limbic circuit which includes the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei and limbic cortex.
 To put it simply, some specific functions in the limbic circuit such as understanding others emotions and what people’s specific behavior and actions mean. So children with Aspergers have difficulty in understanding other people’s non-verbal cues.

 

Children with Aspergers have less grey matter in their Cerebellum. Due to the fact that Grey Matter is majorly made from neurons, so their Cerebullum would be weaker than others, making it more difficult to manage and put together messages. That way, children with Aspergers may have different ways of wording phrases and sometimes have difficulty with describing what they want to say and with understanding abstract thoughts and views.

 

For more details on these information, you can refer to the essays listed below:

 

McAlonan, G. M. et al (2002). Brain anatomy and sensorimotor gating in Asperger’s syndrome. Brain, Vol. 125(7), pp. 1594-1606.

 

Francesca, H. et al. (1996). "Theory of mind" in the brain. Evidence from a PET scan study of Asperger syndrome.Clinical Neuroscience and Neuropathology, Vol. 8(1), pp. 197-201.

 

If you want to stimulate a child with Aspergers, you can try the following methods:

 

Helping him to understand regulations

Even though children with Autism and Aspergers find it more difficult to understand what others want from them, but due to their extremely well developed visual reception and memory, teachers can use visual hints to help these children receive, understand, manage and remember information. Teachers can make and post out visual hints in visible locations which will help these children understand classroom rules and can also use videos of daily life to help children understand social situation and how society works.

 

 

Planning a well-structured and regulated learning environment 

A well-structured and regulated learning environment means a predictable and clear classroom order. This is widely accepted by children with Autism and Aspergers due to their stubborn sense of ways to do things, impulsive character and nervousness to situations changing, so you can debate having a well-structured, regulated and sturdy learning environment to help them learn and follow the rules.

 

 

Make a contract with them to follow the rules

Because of the child’s stubborn nature, as a teacher you can lay out your requirements and rules first and suggest to make a contract with them that will require them to follow the rules. The rules must be clear, concise and the same for everyone, which will avoid the children building up unnecessary negative emotions.

 

 

Previews

Due to the fact that children with Autism and Aspergers feels xtreme unease when faced with new and unexpected changes in environment, you should avoid unnecessary changes and when you can let them know first of the changes that will occur. This will avoid making the child uneasy and nervousness.

 

 

Using methods and things used in daily life, and specific ways to make learning more meticulous

A)    Apart from using normal level class material, you can somewhat tune the material towards what these types of children require. For example change the comprehension essays slightly by adding in physical visuals to help them understand what is happening.

B)    Try using things that can be seen and or felt to increase their capability of learning.

 

 

Teach them appropriate ways of releasing and expressing their emotions

Facing a child’s wrong behavior, the main thing is not to change their behavior but to use the similar behavior and teach them ways of doing so appropriately. For example, the child likes to throw things around the house, instead of completely stopping them, teach them to throw a basketball through a hoop.

 

 

Build trust and seek topics to talk about that interest them 

When communicating with children with Autism, you must be wary of the tone you use. Part of the children have extremely well hearing and slightly heavier tones will cause them to be extremely uneasy.

 

 

Assisting them with peer relationships

Children with Autism and Aspergers faces larger difficulty conversing with society and peers, you can choose children with lots of patience and ones that are willing to help to sit beside them, to remind them what they should be doing or saying which will also help them learn.