Autism has been diagnosed more in the past few decades than ever before, and some would argue that this is proof of over-diagnosis on the part of doctors. But there’s simply no ignoring the unique challenges that a person with autism has to endure. Because of this, it’s important to be able to provide the right resources for children with autism especially as they enter the age of schooling.
How to identify the characteristics of autism
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one in 50 school-aged children in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of autism. But what does that mean, exactly? Autism is a neural development disorder that primarily results in decreased verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction. Parents will usually note the distinguishing characteristics within the first two years of a child’s life.
Understanding what it means to be autistic
Autistic children between the ages of three and five are less likely to display social understanding and approach others spontaneously. Additionally, autism can be typically characterized by a lack of imitating or responding to emotions and verbal and non-verbal communication. Some children can be easily identified as candidates for special needs, especially in schools, by their medical history alone.
What autism is not
Though the popular Tom Cruise-Dustin Hoffman feature film Rain Man made it seem like every autistic individual was a savant, the data shows that’s simply not the case. Only an estimated 0.5 to 10 percent of those with autism will show some kind of unusual abilities that typically include some kind of memorization skills or prodigious, rare talents. Even these individuals still need a different kind of education atmosphere when it comes to schooling.
Implementing successful strategies in school
Helping children with learning disabilities in school begins by assessing what they need to succeed. Any special school will have the right resources for children with autism to utilize, especially because they require a different learning environment than their peers. The best special education programs can help students flourish through different approaches to teaching, the use of technology and specially adapted resource rooms and teaching areas that provide help for children with autism.
Finding the right resources for children with autism can be a challenging process, but it’s a labor of love. Some have pushed for autism to be viewed as merely a difference and not a disorder. But no matter how you look at it, special needs schools still need to be there to provide help and resources for children with autism.