Autism Awareness

This article comes to you courtesy of FHS student Amber Sabin and Haley Biersach.

Autism is a topic that many groups have brought awareness to recently. However, we have to ask ourselves this question, what is Autism and how much do we actually know about it? In order to answer that question, my partner and I have created a fact sheet so that you can be more informed about Autism, and also so you can know exactly what our school does to help those with it.

Facts on Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

  • Autism is known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • ASD is a spectrum of disorders that range from mild characteristics to severe
  • It is characterized by repetitive and patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction.
  • The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 68 children has ASD.
  • It is important to note that ASD is different for everyone, and comes in different severities
  • The intensity of the characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorders will vary by age and by individual.

Common Signs:

  • Children with ASD may seem different, especially when compared to other children their own age.
  • They may become overly focused on certain objects or topics, rarely make eye contact, and fail to engage in typical babbling with their peers
  • Signs may also be that they withdraw socially.
  • People with ASD may fail to respond to their names, avoid eye contact with other people, and only interact with others to achieve specific goals.
  • People with ASD do not understand how to play or engage with other children and may prefer to be alone.
  • People with ASD may find it difficult to understand other people’s feelings or talk about their own feelings.
  • People with ASD may have very different verbal abilities ranging from no speech at all to speech that is fluent, but awkward and inappropriate.
  • Some children with ASD may have delayed speech and language skills, may repeat phrases, and give unrelated answers to questions.
  • People with ASD can have a hard time using and understanding non-verbal cues
  • Many children with ASD engage in repetitive movements or unusual behaviors such as flapping their arms, rocking from side to side, or twirling.
  • Children may also become obsessively interested in a particular topic such as airplanes or memorizing train schedules.
  • Some children may even get angry or have emotional outbursts, especially when placed in a new or overly stimulating environment.

For more information on the common signs and symptoms of ASD, this website had a list of compact information on the various social and language characteristics of ASD. Click here to go to the Indiana Resource Center for Autism website.

Do symptoms of ASD change over time?

  • Often symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment.
  • People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.

How is ASD treated?

  • There is no cure for ASD.
  • Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms.
  • The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual.

Educational/behavioral interventions:

  • Early behavioral/educational interventions have been very successful in many children with ASD.
  • In addition, family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with ASD.

At our school:

  • At Franklin High School we have various and numerous programs and tools to help students that have Autism learn and be involved.
  • We have a team of teachers who specifically work with students who have disabilities and Autism.
  • At the beginning of every year an IEP (individualized education plan) is created for each of the students that outlines the aims that are trying to be met, and are given to the teachers who work with the students.
  • Various charts and diagrams can also be employed for visual aids as tools.
  • We have an Assistive Technology Website that is coordinated by Mrs. Shaw that gives and outlines various websites and tools that are useful for students with special needs and those working with them.
    • This offers tools for math, language arts, and other subjects as well as in general.
    • It is linked on Mrs. Shaw’s webpage as well as the FPS Schools students page.
  • There are many students who have ASD at our school, many of our special needs students have it, but also students who are in our everyday classes who might not react to social cues, or are fixated on a specific subject and speak about it a lot.
  • It’s important to understand why people with ASD are different, or why someone runs through the hall randomly, or reacts differently than everyone else.

Bibliography:

“Autism Disorder Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. National

Institutes of Health, September 2015. Web. 6 April 2016.

FPS Assistive Technology. Franklin Public Schools. Web. 6 April 2016.

Vicker, Beverly. “Social Communication and Language Characteristics Associated with High

Functioning, Verbal Children and Adults with ASD.” Indiana Resource Center for Autism.

Indiana University Bloomington, 2009. Web. 6 April 2016.

 

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