The diagnosis of autism has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that one out of fifty school children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with some form of autism. However, with early behavioral and/or cognitive intervention, autistic children can achieve independence and self-care capabilities as well as social and communication skills that will allow them to live independently and productively. Special school programs provide individualized programs that help autistic students to achieve social and emotional growth.
What are the signs of autism?
Autism is a neural disorder which is manifested through social and behavioral problems such as restricted and repetitive behavior and impaired social interaction. It affects the information processing capacities of the brain by changing the connection and organization of nerve cells and synapses. To meet the diagnostic criteria, the symptoms must be evident before the child reaches three years of age.
Among infants, those with autism are less responsive to social stimuli and even to their own names. They smile less often and make less eye contact. Between the ages of three and five, they are less likely to show social skills, approach others first, or display or respond to emotions. A percentage of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – anywhere between 0.5% to 10% – show exceptional mental abilities. These can range from the memorization of trivia to the achievements of mathematician Stephen Hawking.
Challenges of life with ASD
People with ASD face challenges in life in living independently, finding and holding steady employment, and creating a social support network. Among groups with disabilities, people with ASD have more difficulty in finding paying jobs.
However special education schools can help students to overcome challenges with learning, communication, emotional and behavioral disorders, as well as physical and developmental disorders. Special school programs use a mixture of strategies – different teaching styles, technology, specifically designed teaching areas or resource rooms, play and therapy – to help children with ASD overcome the barriers.
How do special school programs help?
Special school programs are designed for students with severe learning difficulties, physical disabilities and/or behavioral problems. Special needs school programs customize education for each student. Individualized Education Programs (IEP) identify the special challenges and specify how these will be met through various school programs.
Using a mix of strategies, special school programs have the primary goal of helping students with learning disabilities to achieve productive futures. They help students acquire the tools and skills they will need to achieve their highest personal level of skill and independence. School programs are tailored to individuals? ages and developmental needs.
Special school programs help students with ASD to achieve independent and productive lives. Using innovative teaching strategies, special teaching and play areas, and therapy, students with learning disabilities are equipped with the skills they will need to overcome their challenges.