George Lucas Educational Foundation

Identifying students with Autism at school.

Identifying students with Autism at school.

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Autistic signs can be displayed in a child who is as young as twelve months and it usually becomes prominent by the age of three. Statistics reveal that more number of males than females have been diagnosed with the neurological abnormality. Often, a child can seem very normal until up to three years of age, then suddenly they begin to change as their speech and social development is impaired. From my personal experience at school i have noticed that they exhibit strange behavior and movements, have trouble communicating, some even become deaf and mute and will not like being held or carried. Some will move compulsively and prefer to occupy themselves rather than play with toys or people. Every case is a individual case, so each child has a different combination of symptoms. With communication being so difficult it is common for their IQ to be below average. About a quarter of these cases excel in certain areas like math, art or music and their IQs are well above average. It is much harder to diagnose Autism in older children from any physical symptoms, but they have problems with understanding other's feelings, forming friendships, recognizing fear and behaving appropriately in social situations. I have noticed that they will be self-destructive in their habits and are unable to understand the consequences of their actions.Sadly as we all know there is no cure for Autism and no way to return their normal functions and abilities. However Speech therapy, special diets, music therapy, sensory integration, art therapy, behavior modification and auditory training are some ways to assist in handling children with Autism so they can lead a life as close to normal as is possible. Since it is specific to the individual, treatments are tailored to each case. Some may need drug therapy for hyperactivity disorders or anger control. Having a child with Autism can be very stressful and taxing on the family, so strategies for coping will be needed for all who are involved. Autistic children need extra attention and endless love and understanding. They never truly mature like most of us, but they will have a better chance of being independent if they receive the required training and support therapies from their family and the school dat they study in.

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