Sep 102013

For Kids with Autism Social Skills Are A Challenge

There is a fascinating new study out, which shows children with high functioning autism demonstrate improving autism social skills over time. 

John Foxe, Ph.D., says the evidence “suggests that whatever is broken can be fixed.” He speculates that if we can provide targeted multisensory integration therapies, we may be able to help children with autism by improving social skills at an earlier age.

The study, conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, included over 230 children from ages 6 to 18 and showed that children diagnosed with high functioning autism demonstrate improving social skills in their mid-teens.

The evidence indicates a severe multisensory integration deficit of visual and auditory information in young children with high functioning autism, but as the children mature, their ability to integrate multisensory inputs improves significantly.

The child’s processing abilities mature, which allows them to separate speech from noisy backgrounds.

Dr. John Foxe explains the study very well here (YouTube video opens in new window):

Outgrowing a Communication Disability of Autism

High Functioning Autism and Education

As an instructional designer, this study leads me to wonder if children with autism anywhere on the spectrum would learn and function a lot better in a highly controlled, quiet learning environment, where no other noise inputs need to be processed.

If a child with high functioning autism is taught one-on-one at home, where every extraneous noise (the hum of computers, ticking clocks, the hum of fluorescent lights used in schools, etc.) can be eliminated, will the child learn better? My guess is the child would definitely learn better, just like the autism social skills changes.

What we need now is a study to determine if a large, sound-proof environment where children with high functioning autism could be taught would enable them to function without stresses typically associated with classroom environments. The room would have to be sufficiently large to keep the child from feeling like they’re being isolated, but sound proof with the exception of the individual student, maybe a few classmates, and a teacher.

Homeschooling High Functioning Autism

We’ve had a couple of friends who have homeschooled children with high functioning autism with great success. Given the high intellectual ability of high functioning children with autism, it is therefore not surprising that the children would excel in the homeschool, one-on-one teaching environment where fewer sounds have to be integrated. This study says to me that children with high functioning autism might have their learning needs met best when taught at home. Perhaps, over time, schools might be more willing to support home placements for the educational portion of a high functioning child’s day, with school-provided educational materials for children with high functioning autism.

Improving autism social skills could be integrated into the child’s day by providing the child with school-based multisensory integration therapy in conjunction with participation in activities such as sports, clubs, etc. where learning is not the primary goal.

Creativity in educational provisioning is needed to support the educational needs of uniquely gifted individuals who have high functioning autism, or autism anywhere on the spectrum.

Aug 012013

Do you have a child who has been diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome?

Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s kids is an ideal way to school your child.

In particular, Homeschooling can enable your child’s unique skills and abilities to shine!

Kids with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism often flourish when they are homeschooled. One great benefit is your child’s freedom from uncomfortable social pressures. There are plenty of social opportunities that aren’t overwhelming to kids with autism.

Your child’s special talents can be fed constantly too. The focus can help your child develop highly advanced skills or content knowledge in some areas. Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s kids, in turn, really helps a child’s self-esteem.

The links I’ve collected for this Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s Kids page are recommended as good resources. However the Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s resources have typically been relatively few in number.

Given the large number of special programs for kids with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and executive function issues, you can find many great programs, even if they aren’t specifically developed for Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s kids.

If you have a child with Aspergers or Autism, and know of any great Homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s I should add, please let me know. I am happy to add resources that will be of help to other parents that are homeschooling Autism or Asperger’s kids.

Nurturing Your Aspergers Child – Learn Successful Parenting Strategies For Kids With Aspergers Syndrome. This program includes A Point System And Chore Charts. Full Of Key Ideas.

Essential Guide to Autism – Discover Proven Strategies To Improve The Life of a person with Autism… The Essential Guide to Autism is a Step-by-Easy-Step instructional guide to ensure your child receives the best treatment available.

Amicus for Children

ASPEN Asperger Syndrome Education Network

Aspergers Support Group

Future Horizons – World Leader in Autism & PDD

OASIS, On-Line Asperger Syndrome Information and Support

Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s Site

Alabama Autism

Autism Society of America

Autism Society of America, Georgia Chapter

Homeschooling AutismHomeschooling AutismHomeschooling Asperger's