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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological condition that has seven defining characteristics:

  • Insistence of sameness.
  • Impairment in social interaction.
  • Restricted range of interests.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Poor motor condition.
  • Academic difficulties.
  • Emotional vulnerabilities.

Characteristics

Characteristic

Behaviour

Insistence of sameness

Changing the classroom or class format may cause confusion for the student with disorder.

Impairment in social interaction

Inability to pick up on social cues. May not understand jokes or metaphors. May exhibit literal interpretation of communication from others. Challenged with social communication, such as small talk. Group work and presentations may cause anxiety. May speak very bluntly which may be interpreted as being unaware of other’s feelings.

Restricted range of interests

May ask repetitive questions about interests. Has trouble letting go of ideas and may spend too much time on one task.

Poor concentration

Easily distracted by external or internal stimuli. Heightened reaction to sensory stimuli.

Poor motor co-ordination

Appear awkward and clumsy. Have trouble taking notes, typing or navigating a computer mouse.

Academic difficulties

Have average to above average intelligence, especially in the verbal sphere. There is a tendency to think in concrete terms. Abstract thinking is more difficult. Tendency to have excellent memory skills. Likely to have impressive verbal skills which may not match comprehension skills.

Emotional vulnerability

Difficulty identifying (labelling and understanding) varied emotional states, both in themselves and in others. Easily overwhelmed when things do not go as planned. Prone to depression.

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