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Autism Diagnosis and symptoms Theories of autism Instructional strategies.

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Presentation on theme: "Autism Diagnosis and symptoms Theories of autism Instructional strategies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Autism Diagnosis and symptoms Theories of autism Instructional strategies

2 Diagnosis and prevalence Affects 1/165 Canadians DSM-IV-TR Criteria At least 2 impairments in social interaction Impairment in communication Engage in restricted and repetitive behaviour, interests, and activities Non-triad impairments Restricted interests, obsessive desire for sameness, preoccupation with parts of objects, exceptional proficiency in very specific skills

3 Academic profile Strengths Visual reasoning Vocabulary knowledge Word reading Math Weaknesses Working memory Processing speed Reading comprehension Written expression Graphomotor abilities

4 Theories of autism Theory of mind Weak central coherence Executive dysfunction Hyper-systemizing Excess neural excitation

5 Evaluation of theories Explanatory Power: how well does it account for the FULL pattern of symptoms? Universality: Is this deficit evidenced in ALL individuals with autism? Specificity: Is the proposed deficit evidenced ONLY in individuals with autism

6 Impairments in theory of mind Baron Cohen (1985)

7 Theory of mind Theory of mind: the ability to attribute independent mental states to oneself or to others in order to explain or predict behaviour. In the Sally Anne test, 80%of children with autism failed to demonstrate theory of mind.

8 Explanatory power Triad of impairments Impairments in social interaction Impairments in communication Restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour

9 Explanatory power Non-triad Impairments X Restricted interests X Obsessive desire for sameness X Islets of ability, idiot savant abilities X Excellent rote memory X Preoccupation with parts of objects

10 Universality and specificity X Universality X Specificity

11 Impairments in central coherence Frith (1989)

12 Impairments in central coherence Central coherence theory asserts that autism is characterized by an imbalance in the integration of information at different levels; individuals with autism see the parts rather than the wholes, and lack the cognitive capacity to integrate the parts into the wholes.

13 Explanatory power Triad of impairments Impairments in social interaction Impairments in communication Restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour

14 Explanatory power Non-triad Impairments Restricted interests Obsessive desire for sameness Islets of ability, idiot savant abilities Excellent rote memory Preoccupation with parts of objects

15 Universality and Specificity Universality Specificity

16 Impairments in executive function Ozonoff (1991) Tower of Hanoi Test

17 Impairments in executive function Executive function is defined as the ability to maintain an appropriate problem solving set for attainment of a future goal. It includes: planning impulse control inhibition of irrelevant responses set maintenance organized search flexibility of thought and action

18 Explanatory power Triad of impairments Impairments in social interaction Impairments in communication Restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour

19 Explanatory power Non-triad Impairments Restricted interests Obsessive desire for sameness Islets of ability, idiot savant abilities Excellent rote memory Preoccupation with parts of objects

20 Universality and specificity Universality Specificity

21 Hyper-systemizing Baron-Cohen (2006) According to this theory all individuals fall on a continuum in their ability to process systemizable (law-governed) information. 18 process information that is systemized and unsystemized process highly- systemized information

22 Hyper-systemizing Baron-Cohen (2006) According to this theory all individuals fall on a continuum in their ability to process systemizable (law-governed) information. 18 process information that is systemized and unsystemized process highly- systemized information

23 Explanatory power Triad of impairments Impairments in social interaction Impairments in communication Restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour

24 Universality and specificity ? Universality ? Specificity

25 Neurological explanations Courchesne (2010) – Excess neural excitation

26 Exercise Evaluate the explanatory power of the excess neural excitation theory of autism considering The triad and non-triad symptoms The additional symptoms of theory of mind, weak central coherence, executive functioning difficulties, and hyper-systemizing The academic profile (skill in vocabulary knowledge, word reading, and math; weaknesses in reading comprehension and written expression)

27 My thesis Word level decoding summary Very poor phonological processing Word reading/spelling performance ranges from 10 th -12 th percentile Uses a visual route more than phonological route Does not use semantic knowledge to help identify words

28 My thesis Reading comprehension summary Ranges from 12th to 14th percentile Strengths Literal and vocabulary based comprehension Weaknesses Inferential comprehension when implicit Evaluative comprehension when a feeling

29 My thesis Explanation of findings CG performed better when the task was law governed Ease with literal and vocabulary-based comprehension Difficulty with understanding feelings and inferences Ease with whole words Difficulty with reading phonetically Theory of hyper- systemizing (Baron Cohen, 2006) CG was only able to engage one processing center at a time In word reading she engaged visual system and neglected phonological and semantic In reading comprehension she had difficulty integrating knowledge from different areas Theory of excess neural excitation (Courchesne et al., 2007)

30 Importance of theory

31 Intervention Early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) Most widely recognized approach McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas (1993) found that after 4.5 years of EIBI treatment, 9 of the 19 participants were indistinguishable from their peers Involves discrete trial training (breaking down teaching steps and systematically, repetitively teaching each step).

32 Exercise Follow the program procedure on your handout and teach a classmate the skill using discrete trial training. Discuss which theory/theories of autism could account for the success of EIBI Discuss what elements are involved in EIBI that could translate to teaching practice.

33 Intervention in schools Once children are school, EIBI often ceases Teachers are not trained in EIBI Philosophical differences Requires one-on-one instruction, which is largely not available

34 Interventions based on excess neural excitation theory Education needs to be Law-governed, explicit instruction Provide more support for abstract tasks Ensure automaticity of each distinct task prior to requiring integration across tasks Explicitly require integration when several processes are required to complete one task Reading example....

35 Instructional strategies Language Anchor instruction in visual cues Video-modelling Take advantage of echolalia echolalia, delayed non-functional echolalia, delayed functional echolalia Modeling Explicitly teach pragmatic language skills (i.e., respond to the intended message rather than correcting grammar, practice asking questions, etc...) Have students practice noticing non-verbal signals

36 Instructional strategies Social behaviour Social stories Video modelling Explicit practice in social situations Preparation (visual schedules, practice for situations, etc...) Modelling emotion recognition in social situations

37 Instructional strategies Restricted, repetitive, stereotyped behaviours, interests, and activities Reducing 'stimming' Redirect attention (incompatible behaviour) Replace with socially acceptable alternative Provide safe space for stimming Limit perseveration on particular interest and activity. Encourage development of new interests and activities May use those interests and activities to motivate learning in difficult areas

38 Differentiated instruction Visual supports Video-modelling Explicit teaching i.e, teaching theme identification Task analysis Could use graphic organizers to help work on each part and then draw together Reinforcement for motivation Pre-teaching Predictable classroom environment (schedules, transition preparation) Cognitive credit cards (with visuals)

39 Exercise Imagine that you have a student with autism in your class and for your lesson plan: Task analysis – determine all of the steps needed to complete the task Plan how you will ensure understanding of each step of each task and how you will support your student with autism in integrating all the steps involved. Identify which steps might be more difficult and suggest ideas to support your student.

40 Reflection In one short paragraph outline: The concepts from the readings/course notes that you were hoping to apply Your contribution How your contribution successfully applied those concept


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