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Transcript of AUTISM

Individuals who are diagnosed with
show symptoms in multiple areas, such as difficulties with
social interaction
, a tendency to involve themselves in
repetitive behaviors
, and difficulties with
. It's important to remember that the symptoms and their level of intensity can
individual to individual [1].
What is
Brain development disorders (autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder) were recently all grouped into the disorder known as
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
(more specifically) is described as a
neurodevelopment disorder
that includes
social impairments
nonverbal restrictions
, and
restrictive behavioral characteristics
[1] [2].
Other Medical Issues Associated with
can lead to other medical issues, including [1]:
Gastrointestinal Issues
Sensory Processing Issues
Sleep Dysfunction

is a medical issue that is defined as the tendency to eat items that aren't edible [1].
[1] "What Is Autism?." Autism Speaks. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. <http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism>.

[2] "Autism Fact Sheet." : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). N.p., 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism

[3] "Living with Autism." Autism Society -. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/>.

[4] AutismWeb: A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://www.autismweb.com>.
Social Difficulties:
Inability to gauge emotions
(unable to predict what a smile or gesture means) [1].
Non-understanding of the idea of individualistic thoughts/ characteristics
(everyone thinks and believes in the same ideas as them) [1].
Unusual way to interpret emotions
(may break out in a tantrum when it normally wouldn't be necessary/ relevant) [1].
Repetitive Behavioral Characteristics:
Repetitive behavioral tendencies can range from
Individuals can hold these repetitive behavioral traits in a number of ways: wiggling fingers in front of their face, rocking back and forth on their feet, repeating a sound/ word, arranging toys in a certain manner, etc.) [1].
Individuals can also have an extreme interest in objects (vacuums, toilets, etc.) or learning and retaining details and information about a specific topic (Bob the Builder, train tracks, etc.) [1].
A diagnosis of
is taken in steps:
1. The patient undergoes a
set of observations and screenings
given by one or both, the parent and the medical representative [2].
Comprehension Evaluation
given by a team of medical representatives (included but not limited to: a special therapist, neurologist, psychiatrist, and psychologist). This test includes a cognitive and language testing, as well as a neurological assessment [2].

Communication Difficulties:
Delay in learning how to "baby babble" and/ or speaking (when learning short words such as "no", "mom", etc.) and using gestures (such as pointing, shaking their heads, etc.) [1].
When individuals with
do learn how to "communicate" they often have trouble piecing sentences together, solving this issue by just stating single words or repeating a phrase (
) [1].
Some of these individuals may have difficulty reflecting their tone of voice and body language to what they are saying (shrugging their shoulders when they really do know what they're saying) [1].
In some occasions, individuals with
may have enhanced communication skills (i.e., a young kid may sound like an adult when speaking rather than communicating like another child their age) [1].
Causes for
There is no certainty in what directly causes
, but there is reason to believe that environment and genetics play a role [2].
Scientists have found a number of genetic irregularities, as well as irregularities in the brain [2].
Some studies show that individuals with
have abnormal levels of some neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) [2].
Both of these theories prove that the normal brain development is interrupted while the fetus is still in the womb [2].
There are no strong facts that environment plays a role, except for that if an individual that is close to the individual with
, they are likely to pick up the trait and acquire the disability (i.e., if a single child in a set of twins has
, it is likely the second twin will acquire the disability) [2].
Symptoms for
usually occur between the ages of 18 months and 6 years of age [3]. Signs to look for include:
No babble or cooing by the time they reach 12 months [2] [3].
Does not say single words by the time they reach 16 months or two word phrases by age 2 [2] [3].
Lack of eye contact [2].
Lack of gestures (pointing, waving, etc.) [2] [3].
No social responsiveness [2] [3].
Obsession to lining/ organizing objects or toys [2].
Prevalence/ Facts & Statistics:
Interested in learning more?
There is no "cure" for
, but there are instances for individuals to overcome the disorder and live a "normal" life.
Prevalence is estimated to 1 in every 88 births [1] [3].
Nearly 1% of the children in the US (between the ages of 3 and 17) have a form of
Between 1 and 1.5 million people in the US are living with
Only half (approximately 56%) of children with
finish high school [3].
prevalence figures are rising [1].
Boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with
than girls are [1].
Strategies for working with students diagnosed with
Several options/ strategies to use when working with children with
, the most researched are:
: The learning environment includes separate learning spaces kids to work (i.e., group verse individual), as well as a visual learning experience (i.e., images instead of words) [4].
Applied Behavioral Analysis and Verbal Behavior
: focuses on rewarding/ reinforcing positive behaviors, allowing the child to understand what is right (good) behavior verse wrong (bad) behavior [4].
DIR (Floor Time)
: An increase in back and forth communication and interaction between the child and instructor/ guardian (i.e., the instructor repeats behaviors that the autistic individual is doing) [4].
Sensory Integration Therapy
: Combination of physical and occupational therapy through regulating activities that will help with the child's sensory interactions (i.e., touching various textures gripping a pencil, etc.). These can be done at school, a medical office, or at home [4].
Relationship Development Intervention
: A parent based treatment that works on relational skills, such as: empathy, friendship skills, desire to share experiences or ideas, etc. [4].
Watch this video
and learn about Tom's story as he lives with Asperger's: http://vimeo.com/34796278
Take an
interactive quiz
on symptoms for
: http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-signs/interactive-learn-signs-quiz
Example pdf's
that can/ are used in an educational setting when teaching autistic individuals: http://www.palmettopearl.com/free.html
A list of apps
for your iPad/ iPhone that help you understand
: http://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-apps
100 Day Kit
for newly diagnosed families: http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/100-day-kit
An interesting
from the New York times about
: http://nymag.com/news/features/autism-spectrum-2012-11/
Kayla M. Wandsnider: Spring 2014
Full transcript