K-4 Autism Resource Program

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day!April Autism Awareness Month

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects one's ability to communicate, understand language, play and relate to others (autismweb.com, 2008). 1 in 150 children born today will be diagnosed with a disorder on the Autism Spectrum (Autism Society of America, 2008). The following are some signs of Autism.

The child may:

  • not explain what he/she wants; gestures or points instead of using words
  • have delayed language skills or speech
  • not follow directions
  • appear to be deaf
  • throw intense or violent "tantrums" for no apparent reason
  • be insistent on sameness; resists change
  • have poor eye contact
  • get "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on
  • prefer to play alone
  • appear in his/her "own world"

Helpful ways to interact with someone with autism:

  • Do not use idioms
  • Use concrete terms
  • Allow time for response
  • Repeat questions or instructions
  • Praise the individual!

This information has been compiled by the Autism Support Group of NWA, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to raising Autism Awareness and educating the public about Autism Spectrum Disorders. For more information contact Lynn Bellessis at lynnbell2@sbcglobal.net , Marilyn Thompson at randmthompson@cox.net or Kathy Humphrey at kathyhumphrey@centurytel.net . You can also visit our website at http://www.autismsupportgroupofnwa.org/

Social Understanding

One need for a child with Autism is the need understand and become proficient with play and social skills concepts. The following are just a few of the skills with which a child with Autism may have difficulty:

  • understanding facial expressions
  • understading body language
  • taking turns
  • sharing
  • flexibility with change
  • conversation skills
  • perceptions about others feelings/thoughts

Social skills are addressed on an individual basis. However, below you can find an example of a play and social skills continuum:

Level 1Level 2Level 3Additional Social Understanding
  • Exploring and Sharing Toys
  • Learning to Play
  • Playing with Toys
  • Independent Play
  • Play with an adult
  • Learning to play
  • Playing with toys
  • Independent play
  • Play with an adult
  • Play with an adult and a peer
  • Functional Play
  • Symbolic Play
  • Play with peer and share materials
  • Play Game with Peer
  • Pretend play with a peer
  • Recess Skills
  • Recess with peers
  • Joint Attention (Doing 2 things at once i.e. listen and draw)
  • What is work?
  • What is attending
  • Learning Model~ 5 components of listening
  • Flexibility
  • Managing Emotions
  • Circle of Friends
  • Voice Volumes