Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is generally characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors. While ASD symptoms can vary widely between people with the disorder, a number of common difficulties exist across the spectrum.
Children with ASD are often characterized by having impairments in social interactions and social communication. These impairments can present as difficulty reading others’ facial expressions, difficulty developing age-appropriate reciprocal friendships, and difficulty understanding verbal and nonverbal cues in conversations. In general, children with ASD often have difficulty understanding how their behavior affects others—especially in the classroom environment.
Children with ASD also have trouble regulating their own emotions and this can result in meltdowns or inappropriate outbursts in the classroom. They may not understand what it means to be quiet or still for certain periods of time, or they may find it difficult to control their volume level during group work times. Additionally, children with ASD often struggle to interpret nonverbal cues from teachers and other students—leading to frustration on both sides.
Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that is characterized by problems with communication and behavior. This condition affects more than three million people in the United States, and it occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The term “spectrum” in ASD refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. Some individuals are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. ASD is diagnosed four times more frequently among boys than among girls (National Institute of Mental Health, 2013).
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder that is characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive patterns of behavior. While there are many variations of ASD, all children with ASD face difficulties in these areas.
These difficulties are often encountered in the classroom. For example, children with ASD may have difficulty establishing or maintaining friendships with their peers, despite having shared interests and being in similar age groups. They may also avoid eye contact, struggle to understand and use nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and gestures, or have difficulty understanding the emotions of others.
It’s important to note that these challenges stem from differences in perception and cognition rather than from a lack of interest or a desire to be excluded from social interactions. In fact, people with ASD consider their relationships with friends and family vital sources of support that help them feel more secure in the world around them.
For one, many people with ASD struggle with social relationships. They may have difficulty understanding and participating in conversations. In addition, they may have trouble interpreting facial expressions and body language. While children with ASD are often capable of making friends, they may not understand how to do so without some direction or role-playing activities.
In addition to problems with social skills, children with ASD often show repetitive behavior patterns that can be disruptive in their daily lives and relationships with peers. For example, a child who exhibits echolalia will repeat words or phrases that were just spoken, rather than responding appropriately to questions or comments. Children who exhibit self-stimulatory behaviors such as hand flapping or rocking may also have difficulty focusing on tasks during class time.
The best way to support students with ASD is to fully understand the symptoms of ASD and how they affect students on a day-to-day basis.
While some individuals with ASD may have difficulty communicating verbally, others may be able to speak fluently. However, they may still struggle with understanding the language of others and/or appropriately responding. Difficulties in verbal communication often result in an individual with ASD being labeled as “rude” or “unresponsive,” when in reality they are simply unable to understand what is being said. It can also cause them to have trouble making friends or sustaining friendships.
Similarly, some people with ASD may struggle to understand social cues and eye contact, which can greatly impact their ability to make friends and interact successfully with their peers. When struggling to process social information, individuals with ASD may appear anxious or reclusive, further isolating themselves from their classmates.
People on the autism spectrum often display repetitive behaviors as a way of coping with stress or anxiety. While these behaviors are generally harmless, they can be disruptive in the classroom setting and cause other students to feel uncomfortable or excluded.
This course is designed to help you learn about the ways in which you can build a more inclusive classroom. We will begin by introducing the topic of inclusion and why it’s important. Then we’ll discuss the specific challenges and needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). You’ll also learn about a variety of strategies and classroom accommodations that can be used to support students with ASD and increase their ability to participate fully in the classroom. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can implement these strategies in your own classroom, including how to collaborate with other professionals.
Although the cause of autism spectrum disorder is not known, it is believed to be a genetic condition. However, there may be environmental factors that trigger autism. There are many behaviors that can be observed when a child has autism spectrum disorder or ASD. These behaviors include:
- Limited interests
- Repetitive behaviors
- Lack of eye contact
- Delays in speech and language development
- Problems making friends
- Lack of understanding about other people’s feelings.