26 – 27 June 2009
Europa Hotel, Belfast
This conference will update evidence based practice in the treatment of ASD to ensure that parents and professionals have the best possible information. This conference will follow on from three previous conferences.
Pupils with autism very often have unusual fixations on parts of objects; they focus on objects as though through a tunnel. When using a computer this can mean they are able to focus totally on the screen and to block out all distractions around them.
Using a computer can provide a very secure, comfortable environment for them as they feel less threatened, more in control of their surroundings, less likely to fail and they can choose whether or not to communicate with others.
It is possible to buy software which can help an autistic child with social concepts such as learning to understand facial expressions. http://ccoder.com/GainingFace/
Use the digital camera to help reinforce correct behaviour, e.g. take a photo of the child behaving as you want, for example, putting his/her hand up for attention. Put this in his/her book with a caption such as, “I will remember to put my hand up when I want something”. Read this regularly with the child at the appropriate times.
ASD and ICT
- Autism is a medical diagnosis. The conditions involves a range of disorders affecting the way a person communicates and relates to people. There can be huge differences in the way it affects individuals and each child will need an individual approach to learning.
- Usually shows up within first three years of life; some children may appear to be developing normally for the first year or two while in others the signs are present in the first year.
- Remains with child throughout life but with training most able people can learn to manage the condition and live independently.
- Autism can occur at all levels of general ability although about a quarter of people with the condition have mild learning difficulties and about half have severe learning difficulties.
- Sometimes children and teenagers with autism can have serious difficulties sleeping and this can have further detrimental effects on their education. Information can be found at http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=367&a=3376
- Many children with autistic spectrum disorders tend to walk on their toes and this can lead to a need to have an operation to cut the tendons.
What to look out for:
The child seems to have difficulty making sense of the world around him/her and lacks imagination and understanding for others’ feelings, thoughts and needs. This results in a restriction in their social activities and a tendency towards a narrow, repetitive pattern of activities which take up all of their attention. The child can become obsessively interested in one subject. The child may have little use of language and may seem to be ‘in a world of his/her own.’ Activities which require turn-taking are difficult for children with ASD.
Repetitive behaviour can include spinning, rocking and making noises. Changes in routine can upset and confuse children with an ASD.
Sometimes these children can have extremely high levels of ability in a narrow range of activities but lack of appropriate language or difficulties with planning and organization can mean it is difficult for them to express their understanding.
This condition can occur alongside other conditions, notably ADHD.
People who can help: SENCO/Resource Teacher
Autism Tish Balfe, InTouch November 2000 (may be requested from www.into.ie)
Paul is 4 and has been in P1 for a few months. He has an older sister in P3. It is very obvious that while the other children have settled down to school routine Paul is finding it very difficult. He seems to be quite a bright child but when persuaded to sit with the rest of the class, will not put his hand up, shouts out and demands the teacher’s attention at all times. He does not play with other children but will hit them and push them away. He needs to be first in the line for dinner or P.E. etc.
If he doesn’t get the attention he wants or if he is not allowed to be first in line, he will start crying hysterically and scream and kick. On a few occasions when this happened the young teacher relented and persuaded the others to let Paul go first. He is well aware of the timing of the day’s events and when it is close to home time Paul will fetch his coat, put it on and regularly run out of the classroom without waiting to be told to go.
Report of the Task Group on Autism – Recommendations on educational provision for children and young people with autism in the North and Republic of Ireland.
Andrew is thirteen and is in year 9 in high school. He has been diagnosed as having ADHD and has been taking Ritalin for the last eight months. He is in your form class but you also teach him four times a week. You have just begun the new academic year.
In class you quickly notice that Andrew often goes off-task very quickly and does not finish the work which has been set. He can make careless mistakes and appears not to be listening when you are giving instructions. When you ask him to complete any activity which lasts longer than five minutes, he becomes distracted and will often then distract the other pupils around him. As a result of his lack of attention he rarely remembers the right books for your class and seldom completes his homework. His school bag and homework diary are a mess.
1. What type of ADHD do you think Andrew has from the description above?
2. What could you do to help Andrew learn more effectively in your class and in his other classes?
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