The History of Autism (A Summary)

Autism was official discovered 60 years ago. Although still puzzling to many, professionals are learning more about autism everyday.

Some facts:

  • Early accounts of individuals with autism are unclear
  • The concept and definition of autism has greatly changed over the years
  • Socio-political views as well as treatment available has evolved and continues to grow
  • Symptoms may have been confused with schizophrenia in the past

Timeline:

  • 1960s-Michael Rutter’s comparative study comparing the features of autism
  • 1960s-1970s: Kolvin distinguished autism from schizophrenia
  • 1970-Hermelin and O’Connor explored the “savant”
  • 1971- first association of autism as a specific medical condition (Stella Chess was the first to discover that autism can be associated with a neurological disease)
  • 1975- US Developmental Disability Act included individuals with autism
  • 1981- Lorna Wing’s seminal paper discusses Asperger’s Syndrome
  • 2000-Gillberg added to the knowledge of epidemiology, genetics, and clinical management

Early Accounts/History Records:

  • Book: Autism in History by Rob Houston (discusses the legal case of Uta Frith’s analysis of Hugh Blair in 1747)
  • The story of Victor “the wild boy of Aveyron”  in 1798 with Jean Itard
  • Paper: Observations on Madness and Melancholy chapter entitled “Cases on insane children” by John Haslam (discusses a boy with characteristics of autism published in 1809)
  • Book: The Pathology of the Mind chapter entitled “The insanity of early life” by Henry Maudsley (discusses a 13 year boy who shares similar characteristics of an individuals with Aspergers in 1879)
  • Ssucharewa’s account of six children in Germany during 1926
  • Hans Aspergers’s account of four children in 1949
  • Lorna Wing’s seminal paper in 1981

Outdated Ideas/Theories

  • Autism is caused by bad parenting
  • Autism is among the group of schizophrenia (we now know that autism is a developmental disorder rather than a psychosis)
  • Autism is secondary to language disorders

Interesting Facts:

  • Over 50% of children with autism are taking drugs/vitamins in the US (not the case in the UK)

Journals:

  • The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (started in 1971 by Kanner and Chess)
  • Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities (started in 1985)
  • The International Autism Research Review (started in 1987)
  • International Journal of Research and Practice (started in 1997)
  • Good Autism Practice (started in 2001)

Current Books to Read:

  • “Pretending to be Normal” by Liane Willey
  • “Growing up Severely Autistic” by Kate Rankins
  • “An Inside View Of Autism” by Temple Grandin
  • “Freaks, Geeks, and Aspergers Syndrome” by Luke Jackson

Reference: 

Wolff, S. (2004). The history of autism. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 13(4), 201-8. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.bsu.edu/10.1007/s00787-004-0363-5

Week of Respect

Our school and many schools around the nation are celebrating the week of respect. To raise awareness, our school has special dress up days such as asking students to wear a hat, mismatched clothes and to wear the color orange. Weeks like this promote community awareness and discussions about important topics. My classroom brainstormed specific ways respect looks like in different settings familiar to students.

activities, respect week, classroom community, anchor charts, ideas

Since respect is an abstract concept that can be hard to understand and explain, specific examples help students visualize how they can be respectful. My students were responsible for giving examples and drawing pictures of the different scenarios shown below. Students who are older can be responsible for writing examples on a sentence strip to help in the process of creating the anchor chart. Interactive anchor charts can help students feel more ownership and responsibility.

This chart will now hang in my classroom so we can refer back to it as needed throughout the year. Other activities regarding respect can be found online on sites such as Pinterest (where I got the idea for this poster) and Discovery Education (where I found videos). To aid in the presentation and discussion, I showcased different examples of respect through videos and class modeling.

Spelling Word Practice

Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to spelling words. Instead of boring repetition drills or using the outdated method of writing something 100 times, there are many activities students can participate in to practice weekly spelling words.

To start, I downloaded a great resource from teacherpayteacher that guides students to trace, write, build, find and use their spelling word in a sentence. Then, I have students use magnetic foam alphabet blocks and dry erase markers to write and build their words three more times during a rotating center.

elementary, early, dolch sight words

To reinforce the skills with an adult, my students can then practice writing their words in sand while saying the word and each letter of the word out loud.

activities, elementary, writing, learning

For homework, students can choose from a variety of activities that reinforces the words at home. Here are some ideas below:

  • Write the word 3x times using pencil, colored pencil, and crayon
  • Write the words in rainbow colors
  • Write the words in ABC order
  • Write a sentence for each word
  • Write or type a story using all your spelling words
  • Stamp the words
  • Build the words with legos, clay, dough, yarn or pipecleaners
  • String the words together using letter beads
  • Write the words in a verticle pyramid format. For example: l, lo, lov, love
  • Practice building the words using magnetic letter blocks
  • Type spelling words on the computer
  • Spell words in a sand or salt container
  • Trace words on the back of your hand
  • Spell words in shaving cream
  • Trace letters into the air (sky write)
  • Use ABC blocks to spell words (Scrabble)
  • Build words using ABC stickers
  • Use q-tips and paint words
  • Write words in glue and add glitter
  • Use newspaper and magazine to clip letters to build words

We use a spelling notebook to keep track of their progress and their words. All words are individualized so a spelling book helps everyone stay organized. Please feel free to use some of these ideas in your classroom! 🙂 Enjoy!

 

Introducing the First Nonverbal, Autistic Talk Show Host

The world has been watching Carly Fleischmann, and her viewers have just increased by becoming the first nonverbal, autistic talk show host. Carly speaks through her I-pad and communicates with others with the help of technology. After many hours spent with her therapists and supportive family growing up, Carly has found a way to communicate with the world.

Her first interview —with the famous Channing Tatum —-gave viewers a good laugh as she asked questions that could make some feel uncomfortable. Her sense of humor, love, and youthful energy comes alive through the interview. I am excited to see the other guests she invites to her show in the future.

For now, be sure to watch Speechless –the newest talk show featuring the one and only –Carly Fleischmann!

Introduction: 

First Interview: Channing Tatum 

Building Social Skills

“If school is to help student learn to develop into adults who can work collaboratively, contribute to society, problem solve, live independently, and develop meaningful relations, we must continue to explore how to infuse the teaching of social thinking and related skills into the curriculum, both within academic lessons and within the social curriculum.”

-Learners on the Autism Spectrum by Kari Buron and Pamela Wolfberg

 

orphans, children in Africa

Speech and Language Difficulties

Hello all,

In one of my classes, I was asked to put together a presentation on various speech and language difficulties. The powerpoint below shares basic facts about speech impairments as well as tips for classroom teachers working with students with various disorders.

This Speech and Language Difficulties powerpoint highlights how teachers must be sensitive to those with language difficulties and how it is not safe for teachers to randomly and unknowingly to the child ask certain students to read out loud. This act can cause some students extreme anxiety and result in them not paying attention since they are constantly trying to read ahead to be prepared for the callout.

A lot of the tips included in the powerpoint come from my personal experience.  Growing up, I went out for speech and felt very uncomfortable reading out loud since I could not articulate certain words. Instead of paying attention, I would constantly read ahead and ask my neighbor for help with words I did not know. This anxiety of being called on or reading out loud happened during round robin and anytime I knew the teacher was going to call on somebody to read.

While I know some teachers believe it is good practice for students to read out loud, teachers must understand how this makes some students feel. For one, I was not a shy student and loved interacting and performing in front of my peers; however, reading out loud was uncomfortable since all my attention went to articulating the words instead of comprehending what the text was actually saying. Although some teachers feel round robin and random picking help students pay attention, this did the opposite for me. My attention went to trying to predict when I would be called on and went to asking my neighbor words I did not know. I would literally sit there and skim the passage to ensure I knew how to say all the words that were written since I did not want to be embarrassed.

In addition, I hated how I was always forced to miss class. I was a student who hated to miss what was going on and did not per say enjoy the pull out. Although I am now thankful for the services and for all the help I received, I do understand how it can be uncomfortable for some students. I am not sure how to avoid this, but I do think it is important for teachers to keep in mind that every student sometimes pulled out of their class does not necessarily want to miss out on class time.

In conclusion, be sensitive to all students who have different learning needs and talk to the student if you feel they may be experiencing the same discomfort I felt in some of my classes growing up.

Best,

Teachertalk4all