Teaching a child with autism presents its own set of unique challenges, thanks to the characteristic symptoms of autism. These behaviors include the hearing of sounds that seem loud only to the autistic, the raising of unusual topics of conversation, and rapt attention given to movement such as the simple motion of another’s fingers
It is widely accepted that early education for autistic children is optimal. However, it appears, based on the uniqueness of each child, that a standardized method is neither practical nor effective, but a blending of techniques will provide the maximum educational impact. Three such methods of teaching a child with autism are physical therapy, verbal communication therapy, and applied behavioral analysis.
Teaching a child with autism creates many demands. The inherent challenge for the autistic child to overcome or cope with is their difficulty in adjusting to new situations, and education is the epitome of constant new situations.
Another barrier to education for an autistic child is the physical difficulties they experience. Physical therapy sessions should be designed to develop the motor skills and coordination of the body and adjusting the tolerance of sounds, physical movement, and other related body senses to provide an inroad for education.
Verbal Communication Therapy
In combination, a method used in teaching a child with autism is verbal communication therapy. Often autistic children expend a great amount of energy in order to voice their thoughts, but other times fall completely silent. Verbal communication technicians utilize their skills and implement techniques designed to increase the awareness of the child’s tongue. These techniques help in the discernment and roll of the tongue in articulating certain sounds or letters. Ultimately, the child becomes aware and is aided in recalling the use of the tongue in formulating certain sounds.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Another method used in teaching a child with autism is applied behavioral analysis. This educational technique is predicated on the assumption that autism is a disorder of the nervous system. The technique makes the assertion that autism can be adapted using customized instruction on an individual case basis.
This individualized process requires the performance of certain tasks. After receiving definitive instructions to accomplish the task the child gets a number of opportunities to accurately complete the task. When the autistic child succeeds in the performance of that task the child enjoys the reward of positive feedback.
Teaching a child with autism by implementing applied behavioral analysis has shown some degree of success, which has been demonstrated through the transformation of certain behavioral patterns such as hostility and inflexibility.