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Inclusion Curriculum for Children with Autism Proposal


Introduction

People would like to live free of medical and psychological disorders; however, they find themselves challenged by diseases and impaired psychological development. The issue that has puzzled medical experts is how to live life free of neurodevelopment disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorders, which are commonly addressed to as the brain or nervous system impairment, or, to be more precise, the processes that “are thought to evolve through processes that alter trajectories in normal brain development” (p. 2013) according to Andrews, Pine, Hobbs, Anderson & Sunderland (2009), affect human social life in certain areas, such as communication, sight, thinking capacity, intellectual development, and behavior.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), or just Autism are the umbrella names given to a range of neurodevelopment disorders; the latter affect children of different race, social class, nationality, and ethnicity. However, boys are at a higher risk of the ASD disorder development than girls are. Statistics have shown that in every five reported cases, four out of five children involved are boys (Preece & Jordan, 2010). Due to a number of complexities that children with the neurodevelopmental disorders have to face when studying, as well as the ones that the grown-ups face in their professional life, the given issue is worth close considerations.

Problem Statement

The main aims of the research are to use data and information from secondary and primary sources to support that children with ASD have the right for education, and they should be respected as they have the intellectual capacity to understand, learn, and develop their skills. In the given paper, the issue of children autism, the developmental issues that autism triggers and the educational prospects for children with autism are going to be considered. Moreover, the specifics of education of autistic children, the problems arising in the course of education, and the means to solve them are going to be observed.

Purpose Statement

Providing a general overview of the problem, the given paper will also consider the specific instances of autism. The theoretical material will be supported by the data and information about the condition collected through secondary and primary databases. The research will be of benefit to Individual Education Programs teams (IEPs), parents, teachers, and society to handle education issues of ASD.

Hypothesis

One of the key hypothesis and the most widespread myth is the idea that children with ASD do not have the capacity to learn. An alternative hypothesis suggests that children with ASD have intellectual the capacity to learn and understand. The given hypothesis can be supported by the following testable hypotheses:

  • If parents, teachers, individual education program teams, and society work together, children with autism can learn and develop their skills like typical children.
  • Early diagnosis of ASD in children increases the rates of treatment of the autistic children.
  • Autistic children have talents and the intellectual capacity to learn, which can be proved by the instances of the so-called autistic savant phenomenon.

Literature Review

Autism results from disturbed development; according to medical practitioners, autism can be enhanced by a specific wrong treatment received in the early childhood; however, it is worth noting that the origins of autism are purely genetic and autism cannot be the result of the child maltreatment. As Burrwos, Adams & Millman (2008) explain, maltreatment is likely to enhance the development of autism. It is also worth noting that the symptoms of autism can be spotted from the very beginning of the child’s development, since the specifics of behavior and reactions are obvious.

The difference can be seen in the way the child looks, responds, reacts, and observes the reality. Children with autism have similar characteristics with those whose perception and language development are impaired. As Silva, Cignolini, Werran, Budden & Skowron-Gooch (2007) emphasize, children with autistic spectrum disorders often display the same features and behavioral patterns as children with certain mental impairments, which allows to suggest that autistic spectrum disorder has something to do with mental diseases.

The instances of autism have occurred for centuries; however, scientists stopped considering autism as one of the mental impairments only in 1943, when autism was finally referred to as a specific state of mind. Professor Kanner is credited as the first researcher to bring out the need to consider the condition not as a mental illness, Lyons & Fitzgerald (2007) explained. Since then, child autism has been the object of the interest of many scientists and the subject of numerous researches; scientists have come up with different theories on autism and its development. Theories of autism seek to define the causes, to diagnose autism, and to come up with possible interventions.

One of the earliest stages at which child autism can be diagnosed is the one when a child is supposed to learn to speak. Some researchers believe that the condition is inborn, while others suppose that a child can be born free of the autism symptoms, but develops the latter at early years. Stahmer, Akshoonmoff, & Cunningham, (2011) in their article believed autism to be an in-born condition and not a disease; scientist advocated the idea that autistic children should be given equal rights and should not be treated differently.

According to Gillnerg, Billstedt, Sundh, & Gillberg (2009), the first association for parents and interested professionals for autism was set up in 1962 in the United Kingdom; the association was mandated with the noble task of developing systems though which the rights of children with autism would be advocated. According to the first association postulates, autistic children have certain talents, strengths, and capabilities; thus, the children with autistic syndrome should not be isolated from the society.

As soon as autism was recognized as a specific state rather than a disease, there have been associations working to spot the problem at early stages, advocate for early diagnosis and better services/amenities, and provide better education opportunities for children with autism (Schwartz, Sandal, McBride, & Boulware, 2004). According to the research of the authors, there has been a specific Project DATA Model created (p. 158) to help autistic children develop the required skills and progress in their studying; as the research says, the results of the model implementation were more than encouraging – all of the 48 participants made huge progress.

Hence, it can be concluded that autistic children do have the required qualities to develop certain skills. It is also quit essential that after the given postulates have been considered the part and parcel of the modern medicine, the average life span of autistic people has increased considerably in less than three years, which is rather inspiring; hence, the importance of the established ideas is doubtless.

From a behavioral dimension, it has been proved that autistic children reach a considerable level of intelligence; they are able to have some cognitive capacity to learn, socialize, associate, make independent decisions and offer their own conclusions. According to the results of the research conducted by Cohen, Gomez, Gonzales, Lennon, Karmel & Gardner (2010), one should mark that autistic children display considerable skills in “receptive/expressive social communication (REXSCA/C)” (p. 249); as the researchers noted, “high scores in this composite indicate sophisticated use of both receptive and expressive social communication skills” (p. 249).

Once carefully introduced into the society, autistic children turn quite socially active, apt to communicate and react to the messages sent by the other members of the given society adequately. However, it is important to keep in mind that considerable discipline and patience is required, since autistic children develop at a considerably slow pace. Still, numerous researches have shown that autistic children learn appropriate behavior in a different way as compared to non-autistic ones. One of the most obvious proofs for the given idea is the research conducted by Brookman-Frazee, Taylor & Garland (2002), which says that such teaching techniques as “teaching through didactic instruction or explanation, video or biblio instruction” (p. 1199) can be quite helpful when trying to teach autistic children certain skills.

The manner in which the autistic people interpolate and learn issues is different, for it involves such issues as following the established traditions and demands that the routine actions should be taken. For instance, in a class with autistic children among the ones without any disorders, the standard educational system is inapplicable to the former. Some of the psychiatric problems that autistic people face as they grow up include mania, psychotic depression, and schizophrenia. These problems are difficult to spot in childhood, since childhood psychoses occur on a regular basis (Trivedi, 2005).

There have been numerous studies that support (Stahmer, Akshoonmoff & Cunningham, 2011) while others fail to support (Ross, 2011) inclusion debate concerning autistic children treatment, which means that autistic children should be educated together with the rest of students. The supporters of the inclusion are of the opinion that when autistic children are included into the schools with typical children, then both groups benefit. The main benefit is the self-appreciation and self esteem that children with autism develop when they share classes with typical children. Another key advantage involves the way typical children socialize with autistic children. When the children of both groups study together, the difference in the mental and intellectual capacity is smoothed over; thus, children learn to love, appreciate, and respect each other. With such approach, the autistic children socialization and interaction with others is improved (Warren et al., 2009).

Instruments

One of the discrimination factors that have been used in modern education maybe unintentionally is the curriculum that the schools have. Unfortunately, in most schools, the peculiarities of children with autistic disorder are not taken into account, and the approach towards the students is the same disregarding their mental or physical specifics of development. Taking the case of talent development topics that are taught in modern schools, one is likely to find out that the topics focus on children who are intellectually sound, but little focus on children with other mental or psychological development impairment is offered.

Moreover, apart from the specific methods and strategies of teaching children with mental impairments, schools should also offer the staff that is trained specifically to handle children with autism; however, the recent studies show that, as a rule, there is no specially trained staff in public schools. It is surprising that public schools offer the staff that can handle the blind, but there are few of those that can handle children with autism. The structure of school curriculum and the lack of teachers who can handle the issues effectively are the key challenges that prevent autistic children from obtaining education (Randi, Newman, & Grigorenko, 2010).

Procedure

In current education systems in developed countries, education administrators are getting concerned about the current state of affairs in the sphere of education for autistic children. Specialists have started enacting policies that will enable the children fit in current education system through making certain adjustments in the system. When the specialists make inclusion curriculum, they focus on accommodating the autistic children rather than changing the entire system, which might infringe the rights of typical children.

Meanwhile, it would be more reasonable to take into account the interests of both groups, developing special programs. Such programs include the training of the teachers, parents, school administrators, and informing the other children in a class. The program starts by creating the systems where the parents and the teachers agree on the right method to help the students develop their skills and apply them to practice. (Burrows, Adams, & Millman, 2008).

In the United States, for example, the inclusion program calls upon the parents to put the child in class, not necessarily at the same age that the rest of the children start attending school at, but the one at which the child is responsible and developed enough to absorb knowledge. When a child has integrated into the school environment, the next move is to have him/her given some accommodating activity by other children or the teacher.

At this point, it is the duty of the parent to ensure that the child is clean, well fed, and has the required materials for studying, such as books and pens, that is likely to make him/her look and think like any other child. In the course of education, the teacher should take keen notice to the child and offering him/her some simple tasks. It is essential that the child should tackle the tasks within the same time as the rest of the class, but the activities should not be as challenging as those given to typical children (Stromer et al., 2006).

In the evening when other children are given homework, the child should also get his share of the homework on the topic. At home the parents are supposed to ensure that the child has handled the work in time, and in case there are some challenging issues, (s)he should offer sufficient help to the child. Other children should offer the autistic child support and help. The given behavior might be molded by the teacher as (s)he councils the children and persuades them to assist their autistic friend. When making team work groups, teachers should not leave autistic children alone, but should include them into a group of other children. In the given situation, teachers should ensure that there is no differentiation among the students; the children should be given free will to participate, play, and share games with the autistic child (Quirmbach, L., et al., 2009).

The school administration should ensure that the teachers understand the way the given system works and allow some bending of school laws like coming late, leaving earlier, and even designing special desks for the children. When the policies that take into account the interests of autistic children have been enacted, the latter, as well as those who are typical, will be able to mingle, and probably reinforce their skills. It has been noted that the most important urge of autistic children is appreciation and being accepted by the system regardless of their state of health.

It is in school where children spend most of their time; thus, it is the place where autistic children can feel that they really belong and realize that they are a part of the society. In case a dispute among children arises, teachers should ensure that the problem has been solved democratically and efficiently, and the typical child does not think that the autistic child is being favored. It is important to note that autistic children need the support and understanding from their parents; therefore, the most important thing for their parents and teachers is to know the right approach to assist them to develop and understand the environment they are living in (Warren et al., 2009).

Research questions

The qualitative research will be guided by some empirical questions that will be reviewed and answered using secondary and primary data collection; the following are the research questions:

  • How can parents find out at early age that their children are likely to have autism?
  • What adjustments need to be made in normal learning curriculum to accommodate children with autism? What are the various methodologies or intervention strategies available to parents and teachers, and individual education program teams working with a student with ASD?
  • How can government, nongovernmental organizations and civil societies help in creating awareness of autistic children’s rights and provide that these rights are not infringed?
  • What is the role of society in enhancing learning among children with ASD?

Method

In the given paper, the academic sources concerning the phenomenon in question are going to be considered. Primary information will be collected using questionnaires and interviews; the given methods will target people who might have some experience with children with some developmental disorders, but when making analysis, those with autism condition will be in the focus of the research.

The main areas that information will be collected in are schools that have some set of accommodation; the role of the parents, the community, and school administration will also be considered to offer some information as well as the scientific inputs, observations, and recommendation concerning the right way to accommodate children with autism in modern curriculum (Gillnerg, Billstedt, Sundh, & Gillberg, 2009 ).

Research Design

Although the research is rather qualitative, the nature of the questions asked will presuppose the inclusion of some quantitative data, for the degree of autism may vary and, hence, different results can be obtained. The research design adopted will take the form of a qualitative phenomenological study; under this design, the researcher comes up with a topic that is challenging the world; then embarks on the issues of the problem and make such recommendations that he thinks fit. For instance, the topic of having inclusion curriculum in education system has been issue of debate for a number of researchers; however there has been no conclusive answer to the topic, and problems seems to be accumulating.

The design of this work will presuppose collecting the facts from the interviews with the people who considered the issue of education for autistic children and the role that parents, teachers, and school administration play in educating autistic students. The design will allow the researcher come from a point of knowledge that children with autism are discriminated in education systems with the offered educational approaches, according to the evidence offered by Meadan, Halle Watkins & Chadsey (2006): “The findings of this study suggest that the 2 young children with autism and limited expressive language discriminated among environmental variables (I. e. type of activity and type of breakdown)” (2006, p. 57).

The data on this issue is collected from the people who socialize with autistic children, namely, parents who have children with autism, teachers, school administrators, and communities that have children with some disabilities. There will be some questionnaires that will be asked to parents that have typical children and ask them to offer some input to the topic as well as some questionnaires/interviews to schools that have no inclusion curriculum (Preece, & Jordan, 2009).

The total number of respondents expected to be interviewed are 300 distributed as follows parents with such children (100), teachers (100), school administrators (50), communities members (20), parents with typical children (20), and schools with no inclusion (10). It seems that for the given study, the test results of 100 autistic children are objective enough; in addition, it is obvious that each child will need a teacher’s help, which means that 100 teachers are required. School administrators could offer the data on each two children, while community members can consider 5 children each, comparing each group of five children to one typical child. Finally, 10 non-inclusive schools will provide sufficient statistic data.

The nature of this research is a qualitative nature where most of the information will be collected using writing materials and no other scientific tools. However, it will be important to record some conversations and interviews conducted with the participants, yet the participants’ approvals are required.

Speaking of the interviews in question, one must mark that it will last for about five minutes each, taking into account the specifics of autistic children. Moreover, it is required that the following questions should be included in the questionnaires:

  1. For the parents:
    1. What are the specific features of your child?
    2. How do you help your child develop?
  2. For the teachers:
    1. What do you do if typical children display negligence or scorn towards the autistic ones?
    2. How do you tackle the studying process with autistic children?
  3. For the children:
    1. Do you get on well with your autistic classmates?
    2. Do you help your autistic friends at school, and how?
  4. For community members:
    1. Do autistic people easily accommodate in your community?
    2. What approaches are undertaken to help autistic people integrate into the community?
  5. For parents with typical children:
    1. Do you shape your children’s attitude towards autistic students? If so, how?
  6. For schools without inclusion:
    1. How many autistic children do you have?
    2. What approaches do teachers take to teach autistic students?

It is important that the interviews should be conducted in the most usual environment for the participants. After undertaking wide literature review, the researcher will make the research questions, establish where he will get his respondents, and then get appropriate permission to get information from the chosen target participants. The researcher will collect information, marking that the research anonymity is maintained. After collecting the information the researcher will analyze the data and write a report on the same (Quirmbach, 2009).

Analyses

The research data will be analyzed using qualitative data analyzing tools; it will make use of computer programs like CAT (Coding Analysis Toolkit) and other qualitative data analysis methods. The analysis will ensure that only relevant data are subjected to the system; those data will be considered when conducting the analysis. Therefore, the modern means to address autistic children’s wants and needs can be analyzed and the probable solutions can be found.

It can be concluded that with due care and the specific approach, autistic children can integrate into the society and even develop to a considerable degree, keeping in pace with the rest of their mates. However, the differences between the typical children and the autistic ones must be taken into account once developing the scheme of teaching both groups of students. It is necessary to admit, though, that at school, autistic children have quite bright prospects for development, as well as in the case of home schooling. Once finding the right approach to an autistic child, one is likely to help the latter feel that (s)he belongs in the society.

References

Andrews, G., Pine, D. S., Anderson, T. M., & Sunderland, M. (2009). Neurodevelopmental disorders: Cluster 2 of the proposed meta-structure for DSM-V and ICD-11. Psychological Medicine, 39(12), 2013-2023.

Brookman-Frazee, L. I., Taylor, R., & Garland, A. F. (2010). Characterizing community-based mental services for children with autism spectrum disorders and disruptive behavior problems. Journal of Autism And Developmental Disorders, 40(10), 1188-1201.

Burrows, K. E., Adams, C. L., & Millman, S. T. (2008). Factors affecting behavior and Welfare of service dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science: JAAWS, 11(1), 42-62.

Cohen, I. L., Gomez, T. R., Gonzales, M. G., Lennon, E. M., Karmel, B. Z., & Gardner, J. M. (2010). Parent PDD behavior inventory profiles of young children classified according to autism diagnostic observation schedule-generic and autism diagnostic interview-revised criteria. Journal Of Autism And Developmental Disorders, 40(2), 246-254.

Gillberg, C., Billstedt, E., Sundh, V., & Gillberg, I. C. (2009). Mortality in Autism: A Prospective Longitudinal Community-Based Study. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 40(3), 352-357.

Lyons, V., & Fitzgerald, M. (2007). Asperger (1906-1980) and Kanner (1894-1981), the two pioneers of autism. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 2022-2023.

Meadan, H., Halle, J. W., Watkins, R. V., & Chadsey, J. G. (2006). Examining communication repairs of 2 young children with autism spectrum disorder: The influence of the environment. American Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology / American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 15(1), 57-71.

Preece, D., & Jordan, R. (2009). Obtaining the views of children and young people with autism spectrum disorders about their experience of daily life and social care support. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(1), p10-20

Quirmbach, L., et al. (2009). Social Stories: Mechanisms of Effectiveness in Increasing Game Play Skills in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Pretest Posttest Repeated Measures Randomized Control Group Design. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 39(2), 299-321.

Randi, J., Newman, T., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2010). Teaching children with autism to read for meaning: challenges and possibilities. Journal of Autism And Developmental Disorder, 40(7), 890-902.

Ross, J. W. (2011). In plane sight: A commentary on community inclusion for families affected by autism. Journal of Developmental And Behavioral Pediatrics, 32(8), 605-608.

Schwartz, I. S., Sandal, S. R., McBride, B. J., & Boulware, G.-L. (2004). Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism): An inclusive school-based Approach to Educating Young Children with Autism. Topics in Early Childhood Education, 24(3), 156-168.

Silva, L. M. T., Cignolini, A., Warren, R., Budden, S. & Skowron-Gooch, A. (2007). Improvement in sensory impairment and social interaction in young children with autism following treatment with an original Qigong massage methodology. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 35(3), 393-406.

Stahmer, A. C., Akshoonmoff, N., & Cunningham, A. B. (2011). Inclusion for toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: The first ten years of a community program. Autism: The International Journal of Resrarch and Practice, 15(5), 625-641.

Stromer, Robert; Kimball, Jonathan W.; Kinney, Elisabeth M.; Taylor, Bridget A. (2006). Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 21(1), 14-24.

Warren et al. (2009). What automated vocal analysis reveals about the vocal production and language learning environment of young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(5), 555-569.

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"Inclusion Curriculum for Children with Autism." IvyPanda, 22 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/inclusion-curriculum-for-children-with-autism/.

1. IvyPanda. "Inclusion Curriculum for Children with Autism." July 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/inclusion-curriculum-for-children-with-autism/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Inclusion Curriculum for Children with Autism." July 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/inclusion-curriculum-for-children-with-autism/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Inclusion Curriculum for Children with Autism'. 22 July.

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