New advances in teaching children with autism. I was sent this release from the University of Missouri regarding the recent studies of Janine Stichter. Janine is a professor of special education at MU and, along with her team, is making strides in developing an effective curriculum in teaching higher-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder students.
The Autism Spectrum Disorder curriculum focuses on specific, key needs of Autistic students when it comes to communication, repetitive behaviors and social competence. I’ve learned from my own experiences through the years that rapid advancement can be made in high-functioning Autism Spectrum youngsters with effective socialization along with teacher awareness. Stichter’s focuses on the importance of teacher involvement in getting ASD students to recognize facial expressions and integrating ASD students in the socialization of a classroom setting.
I applaud the efforts of Stichter and her school’s work in advancing her findings. There have been so many advancements in this field and it’s becoming clear to me that we are only scratching the surface in terms of the effects of specialized programs have on ASD youth. It’s no longer a world where we ask ourselves what Autism Spectrum Disorder children and adults aren’t capable of achieving; it’s becoming a movement where we’re all finding out how much an Autism Spectrum Disorder student can achieve if integrated properly into a social school setting. As far as the success of the student is concerned, the sooner Autism Spectrum Disorder kids are integrated-the better!
So much more needs to be done. Findings from researchers like Stichter are fantastic but need to be spread far and wide. The Autism Spectrum Disorder teaching models for success are being built and improved upon every day. The time is coming for these programs to become standardized and instituted at every grade level throughout the entire country. The rising diagnoses of Autism are making the case for autism integration a necessity. We can’t let highly-functioning Autistic children slip between the cracks when there is the realistic capability for them to achieve what any other student can.
Arguments have been made by parents in the past that the integration of ASD students in the classroom deters the learning process of non Autism Spectrum Disorder children. My stance is that the sooner the shortcomings of a highly-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder student are recognized and worked with, the sooner the student can become fully integrated into a normal classroom setting. This eases the burdens of our special education programs, teachers (and school budgets). If the rampant advancements in classroom integration are implemented properly to caring teachers, everyone will reap the rewards.