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This paper delves into the processes that I can apply from my course into my teaching career in order to better address the problems of students with autism.
Using this Course to Supplement my Teaching
Through this course, I will be able to discover how autistic children live, learn, and socialize in society as well as what adaptive skills they have to learn to function. As such, my general aim is to supplement my teaching ability by learning to examine how children with autism communicate, interact in social settings and how they apply social imagination to these interactions (Downs & Downs, 2013). This would enable me to design the necessary course materials and lesson plans. It is expected that through an investigation of theories that examine the origin of autism as well as theories that attempt to explain the causes behind the abnormal behaviors of autistics, I will be able to determine why children with mild learning disabilities act the way they do and how they cope with such limitations in their everyday existence. It is based on this that the overall purpose of my teaching practice through the integration of this course is to determine what sorts of practices are effective for developing positive learning experiences for students with autism and based on this make recommendations for possible improvements to current teaching methods that could be implemented so as to encourage a greater degree of social interaction, learning, and communication for children with autism.
Changes I made to my thinking
One of the more interesting conclusions that I realized from the various readings explored in this course is the fact that direct social interaction is one of the main problems that autistic children face and, as such, a more indirect method of communication and interaction could possibly be explored in order to help children with autism slowly develop the necessary skills they need for a normal person to person conversations (Eren, Deniz & Düzkantar, 2013).
The basis for this is in the findings of the various studies that explored the use of online social media as well as MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) such as World of Warcraft as alternative means of developing social skills among children with autism. It was noted in the studies that children with autism tend to be unable to deliver the same amount of rapid-fire responses as other children when it comes to complex social situations especially in cases where it diverges from their internalized “script” of responses.
Online social media such as Facebook and online games actually presents children with autism with the ability to observe a conversation and take time before answering (Hampshire & Hourcade, 2014). This actually enables them to slowly get used to dealing with an assortment of topics over time and as such leads to better direct social interaction later on due to learned behavior. This presents itself as a potential method of teaching that can be explored in the future (Franco, Davis, & Davis, 2013).
Another factor to consider is how children with autism are unable to utilize the theory of the mind in order to place themselves in the shoes of another individual in order to understand intent. Due to the inherently impersonal nature of conversations held through online games and online social media, children with autism are actually able to hold almost normal conversations since they do not have to directly deal with placing themselves in that particular person’s shoes in an instant in order to understand the flow of the conversation (Williams, Gray, & Tonge, 2012). As such, this bodes well for developing new curriculums utilizing technological mediums as the means by which autistic children can be taught.
Downs, A., & Downs, R. (2013). Training New Instructors to Implement Discrete Trial Teaching Strategies With Children With Autism in a Community-Based Intervention Program. Focus On Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 28(4), 212-221.
Eren, B., Deniz, J., & Düzkantar, A. (2013). The Effectiveness of Embedded Teaching through the Most-to-Least Prompting Procedure in Concept Teaching to Children with Autism within Orff-based Music Activities. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(3), 1877-1885.
Franco, J. H., Davis, B. L., & Davis, J. L. (2013). Increasing Social Interaction Using Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching With Nonverbal School-Age Children With Autism. American Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology, 22(3), 489-502.
Hampshire, P. K., & Hourcade, J. J. (2014). Teaching Play Skills to Children With Autism Using Visually Structured Tasks. Teaching Exceptional Children, 46(3), 26-31.
Williams, B. T., Gray, K. M., & Tonge, B. J. (2012). Teaching emotion recognition skills to young children with autism: a randomised controlled trial of an emotion training programme. Journal Of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 53(12), 1268-1276.