Please review this letter about sponsoring a town hall meeting. This meeting will benefit parents and the community by providing helpful information about what to do in the event a child with special needs goes missing.
Autism orAutistic Disorder is one of five Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The others include Asperger’s Disorder,Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, and Pervasive DevelopmentalDisorders- Not Otherwise Specified. Autism is a developmental disability thatsignificantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and socialinteraction. It is generallyevident before the age of three and adversely affects a child’s educationalperformance. There is severe andpervasive impairment in several areas of development including reciprocalsocial interaction skills, communication skills, and/or stereotyped behavior,interests, and activities. Fourtimes as many boys are diagnosed with autism and it is seen in all ethnic,racial and socioeconomic groups throughout the world. The causes of autisticdisorders are
not fully known. There is a genetic susceptibility in somefamilies. It has not been provento be caused by some vaccinations or by the psychological environment of thechild.
Signs and Symptoms
Autism presentsitself differently in each individual. People with autism can display a wide range of ability levels andbehavioral characteristics. Noteveryone with autism will have all of these characteristics and any of thesenay be seen in varying degrees.
· Little,inconsistent, or no response to name
· Delay in orlack of development of spoken language
· Difficultywith developing social relationships
· Rigidnesson following certain routines and schedules
· Resistanceto changes in the environment
· Lack ofspontaneous seeking to play with others
· Lack ofvaried, spontaneous, make-believe play
· Unusualdevelopment of patterns of sleeping, eating, toileting
· Markedimpairment in understanding nonverbal communication
· May beaffectionate; may be aversive to touch
· Intensepreoccupation with parts of objects, specific topics
· Markedlyhigh or low activity levels
· May beexceptionally artistic or creative
· Unusualrepetitive body movements, such as hand flapping, rocking, etc.
· Under orover sensitivity to sounds, light, touch, smell, taste, pain
There are no medicaltests for autism and diagnosis is based on observations by professionals whohave experience with autism. A diagnosismay be educational and/or medical. Information is gained through assessments by a multidisciplinary teamthat may include a physician, psychologist, speech pathologist, occupationaltherapist, and or behavior management specialist. A complete assessment must include parentalinvolvement. The following may beincluded: IQ test, speech/languageevaluation, social behavioral evaluation, autism checklists, behavior ratingscales, onset of delays, and the child’s history. Professionals use checklists to determine symptoms andseverity. The DSM-IV-TR(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, TextRevision gives the following criteria for autism disorder:
A. A total of six (ormore) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and oneeach from (2) and (3).
1. Qualitativeimpairment in social interaction, as manifested by at
least two of the following:
a. Marked impairment in the use ofmultiple nonverbal behaviors
such as eye-to-eye gaze,facial expression, body postures, and
gestures, to regulatesocial interaction.
b. Failure to develop peer relationshipsappropriate to developmental
c. A lack of spontaneous seeking to shareenjoyment, interests or
achievements with otherpeople eg: by a lack of showing, bringing
or pointing out objectsof interest.
d. Lack of social or emotionalreciprocity.
2. Qualitativeimpairments in communication as manifested by at least one
of the following:
a. Delay in, or total lackof, the development of spoken language
not accompanied by anattempt to compensate through alternative
modes of communicationsuch as gesture or mime.
b. In individuals with adequatespeech, marked impairment in the
ability to initiate orsustain a conversation with others.
c. Lack of varied,spontaneous, make-believe play or social imitative
play appropriate todevelopmental level.
3. Restricted, repetitive and stereotypedpatterns of behavior, interests
and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
a. Encompassingpreoccupation with one or more stereotyped and
restricted patterns ofinterest that is abnormal either in
intensity or focus.
b. Apparently inflexibleadherence to specific nonfunctional
routines or rituals.
c. Stereotyped andrepetitive motor mannerisms eg: hand or finger
flapping or twisting, orcomplex whole-body movements.
d. Persistent preoccupationwith parts of objects.
B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the followingareas,
with onset prior to age 3 years:
1. Social interaction
2. Language as used in socialcommunication
3. Symbolic or imaginative play.
C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorderor
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Treatments are mostsuccessful the earlier they are implemented. Some effective ideas and programs are:
Active engagement in intensive instruction
Active family involvement
Ongoing assessment of progress
Highly trained staff
Support for families
Help students apply skills in a variety of settings
Functional routines and structured teaching
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
What is Asperger’s?
Asperger’s isone of five Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The others include Autism, Childhood DisintegrativeDisorder, Rett’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders- Not OtherwiseSpecified. Asperger’s is aneurobiological disorder that can range from mild to severe. Persons with Asperger’s show markeddeficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes,and prefer sameness. Persons withAsperger’s have a normal to high IQ and many exhibit an exceptional skill ortalent in a specific area. Theyare often viewed as eccentric or odd and may be a target for bullying. Language development is normal, butthere may be deficits in pragmatics. Asperger’s persons perceive the world differently and thus behaviorsthat seem odd or unusual are due to the neurological differences.
Signs and Symptoms
Students withAsperger’s may exhibit mild to severe chronic social, behavioral, andcommunicative impairments. Asperger’s presents itself differently in eachindividual. People with Asperger’s can display a wide range of ability levels and behavioral characteristics. Not everyone with Asperger’s will have all of these characteristics and any of these may be seen in varying degrees.
Socially awkward and clumsy
Naïve and gullible
Often unaware of others’ feelings
Unable to carry on a ‘give-and-take’ conversation
Easily upset by changes in routines and transitions
Literal in speech and understanding
Sensitive to loud sounds, lights, odors
Fixated on one subject or object
Physically awkward in sports
Diagnosis and Treatment
Thereare no medical tests for Asperger’s and diagnosis is based on observations byprofessionals who have experience with Asperger’s. A diagnosis may be educational and/or medical. Information is gained throughassessments by a multidisciplinary team that may include a physician,psychologist, speech pathologist, and or behavior management specialist. A complete assessment must includeparental involvement. Thefollowing may be included: IQtest, speech/language evaluation, social behavioral evaluation, Asperger’schecklists, behavior rating scales, onset of delays, and the child’shistory. Professionals usechecklists to determine symptoms and severity. The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders, fourth edition, Text Revision gives the following criteria forAsperger’s
A. Qualitativeimpairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of thefollowing:
1. Marked impairments in the use ofmultiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, bodypostures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
2. Failure to develop peerrelationships appropriate to developmental level
3. A lack of spontaneous seeking toshare enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lackof showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
4. Lack ofsocial or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted repetitiveand stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifestedby at least one of the following:
1. Encompassing preoccupation with oneor more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal eitherin intensity or focus
2. Apparently inflexible adherence tospecific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
3. Stereotyped and repetitive motormannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-bodymovements)
4.Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
C. The disturbancecauses clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or otherimportant areas of functioning
D. There is no clinicallysignificant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years,communicative phrases used by age 3 years)
E. There is noclinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development ofage-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than socialinteraction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood
F. Criteria are not met for anotherspecific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia
Treatment may include psychotherapy, parent education and training, behavioral modification, social skills training, educational interventions, and medications for specific behavioral symptoms.
Follow the link for a web-based download for further information on this resource/event
Autism Parent Advisory Committee
To provide support for Farmington Municipal School Families through information, education and networking
There is exciting news for our Spanish speaking families. Modesto Rascon from the Farmington Municipal Schools Bilingual Education Program will continue to interpret and now be a permanent part for the PAC Meetings. He will also be translating letters that go home. His support will be a great addition to the program.