Teaching Children with Autism and Related Spectrum Disorders: An Art and a Science

By Christy L. Magnusen | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 3
Putting Theory into Practice

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up
children; now I have six children and no theories. (John Wilmot,
Earl of Rochester, [Letters,] quoted in Macaulay 1994, p. 186)

Once it is accepted that a child has autism, it is vitally important to set in motion supports that will assist him or her. Autism is pervasive. It affects a person, continuously, throughout his or her life span: at home, school, and in the community. In concert with parents, schools are often the first to be called upon to assist a child. More often than not, a child with autism will need special help in order to learn, especially to master social situations and communicate in meaningful ways. In her recent discussion of the essential components of an educational program for children with autism, Uta Frith (2003, pp.218–219) lists the following:
1. The treatments that work have the belief that this is a condition that will not go away.
2. Improvements can be expected over the course of a lifetime.
3. There is an underlying neurological condition that is untreatable.
4. Explicit learning will occur despite the fact that implicit learning may fail.
5. A behavioral approach as a listener and as a speaker is important when dealing with one who has autism.

-19-

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