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

By Christy L. Magnusen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
How Children with Autism Think
and Learn

Any sensible theory of autism must be compatible with what we
know about brain development. (Frith 2003, p.205)

The degree to which our learning (and our behavior) can be shaped or altered by events in the environment has fueled a long-standing debate over how and why humans are the way they are. The literature is consumed with ideas and theories about how people learn and think (Bandura 1969; Caine and Caine 1997; Dewey 1998; Gardner 1987b, 1991; Greenspan and Wieder 1998;Montessori 1967; Pinker 1997; Skinner 1974; Sylwester 1995; Vygotsky 1962). Essentially, the final, complete answer to how the [typical] mind develops and functions continues to elude us. We are even farther from understanding how children with autism see the world, why they react the way they do, and how much we can change them through the teaching process. Contemporary neuroscientists are sifting through the complex and dynamic interchange between the psycho-social, biological, and environmental factors which influence human behavior. Creationists are not convinced that we are who we are without a divine presence. Yet we know that humans are not static beings. They change and adapt, somehow, to their world. This book does not pretend to reveal the precise formula for how much of our learning capacity is fixed, or how much it can be changed through

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgment 6
  • Contents 7
  • Foreword 9
  • Preface 11
  • Chapter 1 - The Big Picture 13
  • Chapter 2 - How Children with Autism Think and Learn 15
  • Chapter 3 - Putting Theory into Practice 19
  • Chapter 4 - An Integrated Approach 25
  • Chapter 5 - Planning Strategies 41
  • Chapter 6 - Instructional Strategies 51
  • Conclusion 97
  • References 99
  • Further Reading 103
  • Subject Index 121
  • Author Index 125
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