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Twin faces of autism: The inclusion conundrum

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Abstract:

Students with an autism spectrum disorder may seem ill-equipped to deal with the realities of many early childhood settings. Diagnosed children have difficulties in social interaction and communication, and exhibit behaviours that are repetitive and restricted to varying degrees. Often, these children have sensory sensitivities. They may be unable to tolerate “normal” background noise or brightly dangling mobiles, or conversely, they may seek extra chewing, touching, smelling and other sensations. A concrete understanding of language may pose another barrier, where the subtleties of metaphor and word play are lost to them (“but I’m not a little teapot – I’m a boy!”).

Early childhood educators may feel unnerved at the prospect of working with a student on the autism spectrum. How far can a child’s program be individualised without effectively excluding them from everyday activities? Would it not be more honest to simply place them in a specialised unit?

This paper attempts to grapple with some of these problems. Based on observations and interviews, it documents some of the autism friendly activities that are already present in typical early childhood settings, even though they may have had no experience of children with autism. Using a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, the presentation will provide some examples of how these activities and structures may be finessed to meet the needs of children with an autism spectrum disorder. The UDL framework is complemented with another paradigm - that of structured teaching (Mesibov & Howley, 2003). Structured teaching is often conceived as applying only for children with autism, but this research supports its wider applicability to typically developing peers.

Mesibov, G. & Howley, M. (2003). Accessing the curriculum for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders. David Fulton Publishers.
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Association:
Name: Children and Childhoods Research Symposium
URL:
http://www.iec.mq.edu.au


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p439641_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Kilham, Chris. "Twin faces of autism: The inclusion conundrum" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Children and Childhoods Research Symposium, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, Sep 24, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p439641_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kilham, C. , 2010-09-24 "Twin faces of autism: The inclusion conundrum" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Children and Childhoods Research Symposium, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p439641_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Students with an autism spectrum disorder may seem ill-equipped to deal with the realities of many early childhood settings. Diagnosed children have difficulties in social interaction and communication, and exhibit behaviours that are repetitive and restricted to varying degrees. Often, these children have sensory sensitivities. They may be unable to tolerate “normal” background noise or brightly dangling mobiles, or conversely, they may seek extra chewing, touching, smelling and other sensations. A concrete understanding of language may pose another barrier, where the subtleties of metaphor and word play are lost to them (“but I’m not a little teapot – I’m a boy!”).

Early childhood educators may feel unnerved at the prospect of working with a student on the autism spectrum. How far can a child’s program be individualised without effectively excluding them from everyday activities? Would it not be more honest to simply place them in a specialised unit?

This paper attempts to grapple with some of these problems. Based on observations and interviews, it documents some of the autism friendly activities that are already present in typical early childhood settings, even though they may have had no experience of children with autism. Using a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, the presentation will provide some examples of how these activities and structures may be finessed to meet the needs of children with an autism spectrum disorder. The UDL framework is complemented with another paradigm - that of structured teaching (Mesibov & Howley, 2003). Structured teaching is often conceived as applying only for children with autism, but this research supports its wider applicability to typically developing peers.

Mesibov, G. & Howley, M. (2003). Accessing the curriculum for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders. David Fulton Publishers.


Similar Titles:
The Challenges Facing African Governments in Joining the E-Society: Actively Promoting Privatization, Deregulation, the Information Revolution, E-Health, E-Learning, and Universal Inclusion

When “Authority” Lacks “Legitimate Power”: Twin Sisters Negotiating Face and Relational Concerns in Advice Episodes

One-to-one in the Inclusive Classroom: The Perspectives of Paraeducators Who Support Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Care-taking Conundrum: Challenges South-Asian American Women Face


 
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