Monday, January 24, 2005

Autism- Beyond the Behavioral Checklist

Although researchers are making progress at identifying autistic behaviors at earlier ages, surprising little help is available to counsel a parent or teacher on their perceptual or language impairments, learning blocks, or preferred route of learning by the time the children have already entered school.

The behavioral checklist is not going to be able to distinguish children who have central or peripheral auditory impairment, eye movement or visual field abnormalities, brain-based visual perceptual deficits, receptive or expressive language problems, or selective attention or memory deficits.

Individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses need to be evaluated, and specific learning recommendations made based individual learning preferences and strengths, as well as disabilities. Because of the complex differences that exist between children who may share the diagnostic label of "autism", social skills teaching will be most effective if teaching styles are specifically matched to a child's learning profile. For instance, a child with impairment in sound processing might benefit from learning auditory cues of social interaction (prosody, pause, content), whereas such approach would be completely inappropriate for a child with visual perceptual problems who might learn better social interactions from studying computer slow motion visual analyses of faces or other visual therapy.

Daily Herald: Learning and Autism
Neurobiology of Autism
Cognitive Variability Among Autistic Children
Hearing Problems in Autism

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