Children

Children with Autism: Behavioral and Cognitive problems

SAAD BIN ABI WAQAS INDEPENDENT MODEL SCHOOL/ 13 November, 2016

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What is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior. Symptoms can be noticeable before the age of 3 years.

Causes of Autism

So far, no clear cause was found for this disease. Researchers suggest that a possible chemical disorder in the body may be responsible for causing it in the brain or the immune system. It is important for parents to monitor and observe the case of their child. If the disease is discovered at early stages, it is advisable to rush for treatment, and having a group of specialists to monitor the case.

Symptoms of Autism:

Symptoms may greatly vary among children; however, there are common signs that mainly affect social or linguistic skills, or behavior of the child. Such symptoms may be noticed within the early months or years of the child's life. The growth of the child may be normal; however, all of the sudden some of these common symptoms may be noticed.

Social Skills:

  1. The child does not respond when called.
  2. The child does not have an eye-contact with the person talking to him/her.
  3. The child seems sometimes as if he/she doesn't hear you.
  4. The child shows resistance when somebody tries to hug or hold him.
  5. The child seems indifferent to the feelings of others.
  6. The child withdraws to his/her own world, preferring to play alone.

Language:

  1. The child begins talking after the age of 2 years, and develops other developmental problems when he/she reaches the age of 2 years.
  2. The child loses the acquired abilities to pronounce words or sentences.
  3. The child speaks in a strange manner, as if he is singing, or talks like a robot.
  4. The child can't begin or continue a conversation. 
  5. The child may repeat words or sentences, but can't understand when to use them.

Behavior:

  1. The child performs repeated movements, such as body rocking, hand flapping, and turning … etc.
  2. The child has unvarying patterns of behavior, and feels discomforted for any change to such patterns.
  3. The child is characterized by continuous move.
  4. The child feels impressed with some parts of objects, such as the wheels of a toy car.
  5. The child may become highly sensitive towards light, sound, touch, and above all unconscious of pain.

Life Experience with a Child with Autism at the School

Upon studying the case of the child, it was found that the child has some interests, including artistic works, coloring, and playing with paste. These interests were used to boost his personality after performing what was required from him.

The following can help an Autistic child as school;

  1. Following a routine system with the child, from the early morning (attending the morning lines and saluting the flag), then entering into the classroom.
  2. Providing the child with a place where he/she feels safe among his classmates and the specialized teacher.
  3.  Providing continuous behavioral guidance to the child, with immediate support.
  4. Child's participation in artistic works inside the classroom, and using the skills that develops muscles, such as coloring, clipart, puzzles, and making beads.
  5. Providing one-to-one talking sessions for the child to improve the receiving and expressive language skills, and working on increasing concentration and attention.
  6. Providing one-to-one training sessions for improving the sensory and cognitive skills, as well as imitation skills and behavioral aspects.
  7. Using safe and appropriate toys and tools with the case.
  8. Training the child to improve social interaction, and working on improving communication via participation with other students at the classroom, setting at the seminars, and compliance with the general rules.
  9. Using appropriate methods, arrangements and aids, such as usage of photos, pictures, sign language, and support by simple and clear words.

Special Methods used for changing the behavior of the child:

  1. Modeling: Learning by imitation
  2. Rote: by words or gestures and signs
  3. Behavioral Progression: Describing the behavior which will be learnt by the child, then splitting such behavior until reaching a final behavior
  4. Positive support: verbal-material support. The support used with a certain child is by providing things and activities loved by the child, such as artistic activities, forming paste, kinetic activities, and games.
  5. The Touch program for autism should be applied to the child, together with a behavioral plan.

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