New PDF release: Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and

By Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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Additional resources for Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and Adolescents

Sample text

The aim is to enable a child to develop Page 10 to a stage of integrated attention which is well controlled and sustained. It is not at all uncommon for children with autism to exhibit sensory dysfunction. The term sensory defensiveness is sometimes used to describe these difficulties, especially in more able children, and indeed may have been the focus for diagnostic investigation, while the social disabilities have been set aside. The most common sensory abnormalities affect visual and auditory perception, but some children like to touch and smell inappropriately.

It is understandable that, when low-functioning children are given a diagnosis, their parents prefer the label autism, to mental handicap or learning disability. It enables them to set aside the cognitive deficits in favour of a condition which has an aura of mystery about it, and might even include hope for a cure, however unrealistic. While we accept that there is a real distinction between learning disabled children with autism and those without this additional impairment, the distinction is not as great as that between low- and high-functioning children with autism.

It is when children have autism with good cognitive skills that the social impairments must be addressed, as they will inevitably affect educational progress. Children with autism have problems with all forms of communication. In terms of spoken language, this may range from a complete absence of or interest in communicating to subtle difficulties affecting the use of language. Because children with autism will often produce quite sophisticated utterances with complex syntax, incorrect assumptions are made about their understanding of language.

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