One in forty-five children that are male ages three to seventeen are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, otherwise known as ‘ASD’. A mental condition which is presented from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating, forming relationships with other people, and using language and abstract concepts. Elementary schools should have a higher leeway when dealing with children with mental disabilities in classrooms. Students with Autism should have every available opportunity in a classroom and should not be separated from students in general education classrooms.
There is not only one type for autism, but many different types. Besides the ‘Classic’ Autistic Disorder, there is also Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder. From most severe to least severe, Classic Autism is at the start. Below Classic Autism, the more mild version is the Asperger Syndrome. The difference between Classic Autism and Aspergers is that Asperger’s, “Typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability”, but will still have social problems and abnormal behaviors (ASOA 6). The Pervasive Development Disorder is assumed to be the least severe type of Autism. Symptoms might include some of the ones for Autism Spectrum and Asperger, but not all. According to the Autism Society of America, “People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder”, for example, the diagnosed can have trouble with social skills, but not language delay (ASOA 7). Autism usually develops around age two to three, some might even show symptoms the first few months after being born.
Those who have Autism are genetically and environmentally influenced day to day. There can be several causes that link to Autism. Over the years, there have supposedly multiple believable links to autism that have no correlation. For example, vaccinations today have been associated with the increase and growth of Autism. Although scientist have found a few incidents where Autism had a cause. In these incidents autism was caused by, “Rubella (German measles) in the pregnant mother, Tuberous sclerosis (a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain as well as in other vital organs), Fragile X syndrome (the most common inherited form of intellectual disability), Encephalitis (brain inflammation), Untreated phenylketonuria (PKU) – when the body lacks an enzyme needed for normal metabolism” and besides that, there has not been a steady cause (MCWL 5). Do note, just because two amounts increase at the same time, does not mean that they are related or the cause of each other.
There are many characteristics to look out for while dealing with someone who might have Autism. In the classroom, students may show it by avoiding eye contact, excluding themselves, low social skills, or even always lining up objects (NAA 5). It is important to look out for students that may have Autistic symptoms because there is a way to keeping up with their needs. A way of finding out if a student has Autism is if they have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An Individualized Education Program, “is the document that spells out the student’s needs and how they will be met. The IEP describes your child’s strengths and weaknesses, sets measurable goals and objectives and provides details about the supports and accommodations that will be used to meet them” and teachers are usually notified when they have an IEP student (Brendel 46). An IEP is not limited to students who just have Autism, there are many other disabilities that are included as well. The program is basically a cheat sheet to meeting the students needs so they are not left behind. Before an IEP is assigned, there must be a meeting to measure the needs and goals for the student. Prior to the meeting, the student must be evaluated by a professional and get a medical diagnosis, this may include different stimulus and tests. Unfortunately, the medical diagnosis will be made based off of an education diagnosis and just because the student is diagnosed with Autism, does not make them eligible. At the end, an Individualized Education Program will show the progress with the diagnosed student.
Due to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “Ensures that all children with disabilities get a free, appropriate, public education that emphasizes special education and related services”, and that gives a chance for anyone that has a disability to qualify for an IEP (Mimio 1). Also, IDEA gives students with disabilities a chance to participate in regular general education classrooms and this is additionally known as Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Promoting LRE may even lead to a chance for classrooms to be full inclusion. Schools that include full inclusion will allow, “ the total integration of a student with disabilities into the regular education program — with special support” and that will then increase the amount of acceptance within the student’s peers (ILRE 5). Full inclusion will be a big opportunity for students with disabilities to learn at the same pace as a general education student and prove that they are just as capable as anyone else. Inclusion will demolish many of the stereotypes against those with disabilities.
No matter the severity of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, every child should be given a chance to prove themselves.
Shore, Autism Support of West. “What Is Autism?” Autism Definition, Who It Affects, and the Types | ASWS | W. Michigan. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 May 2017.
“Signs of Autism.” National Autism Association RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2017.
The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit Is A Tool Designed To Help Assist Families Of Children Recently, Diagnosed With Autism During The Critical Period Following An Autism Diagnosis., The 100 Day Kit For School Age Children Was Released In 2014 And Adapted From The 2010 Asperger, and Syndrome/high-Functioning Autism Tool Kit After The Dsm-5 Was Published. The Kits Were Created. (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
“Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.” SpringerReference (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Environment, Information On Least Restrictive. SPECIAL EDUCATION RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES (n.d.): n. pag. Web.