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STATISTICSAbout 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.

AACWatch what Carly can do!Carly was nonverbal and stuggled to communicate until the age of 11 when she began using a computer keyboard.With concentrated consistent effort, Carly began using the computer to express herself and interact with her environment in ways her family and therapistts did not think were possible prior to this.

Diagnostic Criteria..............................................................................The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) 1 provides standardized criteria to help diagnose ASDs .............................................................................A diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder requires the presence of six or more symptoms from 3 different categories. There must be evidence of at least one symptom per category.Category 1: Impairment of Social Interaction as demonstrated by at least two of the following:a. Impairment of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures used during social interactionb. Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to the developmental levelc. A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)d. Lack of social or emotional reciprocity, that is to say a lack of the natural actions and reactions to social and emotional situationsCategory 2: Impairments in Communication as demonstrated by at least one of the following:a. A delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language. This does not include an attempt to compensate through other modes of communication such as gesture or mimeb. In an individual with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others. c. Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language: for example, repetition of memorized social responses, for example answering “I am fine” after any question.d. Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.Category 3: Restricted Repetitive and Stereotyped patterns of Behavior, Interests, and Activities, as demonstrated by at least one of the following:a. Complete preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal in intensity or focus, for example, complete immersion in trains, speaks, reads, looks at, plays with trains at the exclusion of other toys.b. Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals, for example, a child must run line up all of the trains in order from largest to smallest in order to leave the room. c. Stereotyped and repetitive motor manners (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)d. Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects (e.g., gazing only at the spinning wheel of a toy truck.)............................................................................ Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play...........................................................

DEVELOPMENTAL RISK FACTORSAccording to S.Jay Kuder, in the text Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disabilities, children with Autsim are at risk for:1. Delayed speech and language development2. Impairments in the sound production of stress and intonation3. Fluctuations in vocal intensity, too loud or too soft. 4. Inappropriate intonation, e.g., using rising intonation for sentences that are not questions5. Difficulty with phrasing, stress and vocal modulation, e.g., repeating sounds, syllables and/or words making their speech harder to follow6.Echolalia, the literal repeating of a phrase or word produced by others. It can be Immediate, mitigated or delayed.7. Delays in nonverbal, written and spoken language8. Delays in morphological and syntactic development9. Difficulty using semantic concepts in natural situations or using words correctly10. Difficulty initiating, engaging and ending conversations. These difficulties include:speech acts, listening, using polite conversation, making irrelevent statements, staying on topick and making inappropriate comments.11. Difficulty reading social communication cues both verbal and nonverbal communication. Now try to imagine the school day for a child with Autism. Children with Autsim may have similar risk factors but each child is an individual, on his or her own journey. Some children are nonverbal while some are verbal. Watch David's video and hear what this young man with Autism has to say. IDEA's definition of Autism(i) Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. (ii) Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in paragraph (c)(4) of this section. (iii) A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section are satisfied.

WHO IS AFFECTED BY AUTISM?• Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.• ASD (autism spectrum disorder) affects persons of any race, socioeconomic status, and gender.• Autism affects 1 in 88 children, and 1 in 4 boys.

SOURCESAmerican Psychiatric Association. (1994). Autistic Disorder. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth ed., pp. 66-70). Washington DCAutism Society. (2013). Living with autism: Treatment options. Retrieved from Speaks Inc. (2013). Facts about autism. Retrieved from's video retrieved from YouTube: for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, March 29). Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Retrieved from for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Facts, Autism Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved from Pgs 1-5David's video retrieved from YouTube: News. (2009, April 20). Autism and the disabilities of those with autism. Retrieved from (n.d.). Sec. 300.8 child with a disability. Retrieved from,root,regs,300,A,300%2E8Kuder, S. J. (2013). Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disabilities (fourth ed., pp. 169-183). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, July 13). Autism: Treatments and drugs. Retrieved from, P. (2001, September). Autism, Augmentative Communication, and Assistive Technology: What Do We Really Know? Focus on Autsim and Other Developmental Disabilities, 16(3), 141-151.National Autism Association. (2013). Autism Fact Sheet. Retrieved from Pgs 1-2National Autism Association. (2013). Signs of Autism. Retrieved from Pgs 1-2NIH: National Institute of Mental Health. (2013). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from Pgs 1-17 NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2013). Autism Fact Sheet. Retrieved from Pgs 1-4Ogletree, B. T., & Harn, W. E. (2001, September). Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Persons with Autism: History, Issues, and Unanswered Questions. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental DIsabilities, 16(3), 138-140. WHO. (2003, January). Global vaccine safety: MMR and autism. Retrieved from

YPublished on Dec 14, 2012 David's VideoMy Name is David is an animated short film from one of the animators of Robot Chicken, Matt Manning, that depicts a young student's speech to his fellow classmates about his autism. The film features the actual words and voice of the author of the speech,14-year-old David Shapiro Sharif. Sharif's speech aims not only to educate children and adults about autism but also to give a voice to the more than one million young men and women with autism in schools throughout the country.

TYPES OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERThere are 3 different types of ASDs:Autistic Disorder (also called "classic" autism)This is what most people think of when hearing the word "autism." People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.Asperger SyndromePeople with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.Pervasive Developmental Disorder (also called "atypical autism")People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.

TREATMENTThere is no cure for autism. It will affect a person for his/her entire life. Despite the fact that there is no cure, there are some treatment and educational approaches to help cope with some of the challenges autistic individuals may face, although the term "treatment" should be used loosely. The goal of treatment is to maximize a child's ability to function while reducing the symptoms of autism as well as promoting learning and development.Treatments can be broken into two different groups:•Biomedical: focuses on physical needs of a person, attempts to balance the person by medical or chemical means•Non-medical: Includes behavioral and educational approaches, sensory stimulation, and communication No specific reatment is proven to be effective in helping control autism. Each autistic is an individual and may respond differently to the same treatment. The following quote from a report entitled Education Services for Military Dependent Children with Autism by the Ohio State University Project Team sums up this idea effectively:"The best measure of effectiveness of an intervention is whether it is effective for a particular individual. It is of utmost importance to collect and analyze data when using interventions with a student with autism. If an intervention results in positive change for a particular student and you, as an educational professional, have data to support that, then the intervention is evidence-based for that student."

Benefits of AACAny person with a disability that makes it difficult for them to communicate may benefit from AAC. Some people need AAC only for a short time; others may use it throughout their lives. AAC allows an individual to express their needs and wants, and more fully participate in decisions that affect their lives.AAC also benefits family members and other significant others, providing a way for them to more fully communicate with their loved ones. Although you don't need special skills to understand an individual who is using AAC, it is important to remember to give the augmented communicator ample time to communicate.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMSAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Autism is a group of developmental disorders, collectively called autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” (NIMH). Because of the wide range of impairments, disability, symptoms and skills, the word “spectrum” is often used. Scientist have not yet discovered the exact cause of Autism, however, research suggest that both human genetics and environment play key roles. Diagnosis of (ASD) is completed using the guidelines listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4thed (DSM-IV-TR). Currently, there are five disorders covering the Autism spectrum, ranging from the most severe Autistic disorder (classic autism) to milder forms of Autism such as Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Boys are almost 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with an (ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder (CDC 2012) Current research has proven Autism to be the fastest growing developmental disorder, affecting one out of 88 children and occurring in all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups (NIH). While scientist do not know all the causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders, research consistently shows there are many contributing factors involved, with genetics being one of them. It has been found that in two identical twins sharing the same genetic code, if one has an ASD, the other also has ASD in nearly 9 out of 10 cases (NIMH). The increased likelihood that one would develop an Autism Spectrum Disorder can also be identified when looking at siblings as well. Researchers have not pin pointed an exact gene that is a direct cause, but have begun identifying genes that increase risk especially in children born with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities (CDC 2012). While no two children with an Autism spectrum disorder are exactly alike, it is helpful to break up the general signs and symptoms into the three most affected areas: social impairment, communication difficulties, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Impairment in social interaction is often referred to as the hallmark feature of ASD. As early as infancy, a child may be unresponsive to people, make little eye contact, focus on one object for extended periods of time, and may not respond to his or her name being called or said. Research shows that children with ASD do not focus on a persons eyes or affect when speaking but simply watching his or her mouth as they speak, hearing noise/sound but not seeking meaning of words. This impairment causes extreme difficulty in understanding social cues such as a wink, a smile etc, which allows one to put together what a person is thinking or feeling. Children with ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Children with ASD often do not display expressions that match what they are saying. Movements and gestures may be very vague and vocal tone may not be an accurate reflection of what he or she is saying. With these social impairments, it can be extremely difficult for a child with ASD to initiate and sustain lasting relationships with peers without some intervention.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication AritclesAutism, Augmentative Communication, and Assistive Technology: What Do We Really Know? by Pat MirendaThis article reviews data, AAC and assistive technologies for individuals with autism/PDD-NOS. The article explains a variety of AAC from the high tech VOCAs portable computerized devices that can simulate speech to the low tech PECS, Picture Exchange Communication System. Pat Mirenda then reviews the research that supports each system.Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Persons with Autism: History, Issues, and Unanswered Questions by BIlly T. Ogletree and WIllia E. Harn review a variety of articles including the article by Pat Mirenda. The authors encourage the promotion and documentation of effective uses of AAC with individuals with autism. There are questionable practices out there, such as Facilitated Communication.It is our job as professionals to access research based interventions and alternatives for communication. Following valid and reliable research methods provides a more standardized approach to the most effective AAC practices and technologies.


  • sanfordh603 8 years ago

    sanfordh603's avatar

    Great glog! -hamida sanford 2013