Autism- is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of 3, that adversely affects a childs educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
2. Common Characteristics
Inability to use speech for communication
Withdrawal from people
Unusual bodily movements and peculiar mannerisms
Abnormal responses to one or more types of sensory stimuli, sound or touch
Lack of appropriate play
Preoccupation with hands (flapping)
Fluctuation between passive vs.
Need for patterns or sameness
3. Teaching Strategies
Use a consistent behavior modification program
Teach in a less stimulating area
Use an established routine with repetitive transition strategies
Use vigorous aerobic exercise to reduce self-stimulating behavior
Be aware of safety hazards in their environment
Scientists are unsure of the cause but evidence indicates that autism results from biological abnormalities in brain structure and function. Mutations in genes are important in causing autism.
5. Suggested Activities
Any aerobic exercise:
Walking, Jogging, running, bicycling, swimming, in-line skating, dancing, basketball, cross country skiing
How Autism effects movement
Autism causes repetitive physical movements that can impair their learning and communication abilities.
Autism, also known as autistic disorder and infant autism, is a disorder that severely impairs development of a person’s ability to communicate, interact with other people, and maintain normal contact with the outside world. The disorder was first described in 1943 by American psychiatrist Leo Kanner. Autism is a condition occurring in young children before the age of three years. One of the most common developmental disabilities, autism affects 2 to 5 out of every 10,000 children.
It is four to five times more common in males than in females.
Autism is often referred to as a spectrum disorder, a disorder in which symptoms can occur in any combination and with varying degrees of severity. Symptoms of autism usually begin during infancy. Autistic infants may stiffen or go limp when picked up by parents rather than clinging or cuddling up to them. Autistic infants often show little or no interest in other people and lack typical social behaviors.
For example, they may not smile at their mother’s voice or make eye contact with caregivers. Autistic children fail to develop normal relationships with their parents, brothers or sisters, and other children. Often they seem unaware of the needs and feelings of other people, and may not respond if another person is hurt or in distress. They also fail to make friends.
Children with autism usually play alone. Often they engage in repetitious activities, such as arranging objects in meaningless patterns, flipping a light switch on and off, or staring at rotating objects.
Some engage in repetitious body movements, such as spinning, flapping their arms, swaying, rocking, snapping their fingers, and clapping or flapping their hands. In some cases these movements may be harmful, involving repeated biting of their wrists or banging their head. Children with autism frequently become upset at minor changes in their surroundings and daily routines.
Autistic children also have difficulties with language. Some never learn to speak or develop very limited speech. An autistic child may say “you” when he means “I” and produce incorrectly formed sentences.
Autistic children may also demonstrate echolalia, mechanically repeating words or phrases that other people say.
About 75 percent of autistic children are classified as having mental retardation, meaning that they score well below average on a standard test of intelligence and that they have a significantly impaired ability to cope with common life demands. Many show great variability in their skill levels across different aspects of intelligence tests, characteristically scoring higher on tests of visual-spatial skills and rote memory than on tests of verbal skills and social understanding. Some experts argue that standard intelligence tests are inappropriate measures of an autistic person’s intellectual abilities. These experts note that some symptoms of autismsuch as speech and language problems, difficulty paying attention, and behavioral problemsmay interfere with an autistic child’s performance on standard intelligence tests.
Children and adults with autism who score in the average or high range on intelligence tests are considered to have high-functioning autism.
About 10 percent of autistic individuals have extraordinary talents such as the ability to memorize .