Autism Spectrum Disorder – Part 1Joseph Manja
The aim of this series is to provide a non-technical discussion of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that will help you as a HCT Foundations teacher to better identify and help Foundations students with ASD. It is NOT your job as a teacher to determine whether a student has ASD: this is the job of a specialist. However, as a teacher you are, often, the first person to realize that a student is experiencing problems in class.
Students with ASD share three main areas of difficulty, known as ‘the triad of impairments’, although each child will experience them differently. Below are just some of the difficulties associated with each impairment that an ASD student, in your class, may have:
- Asks the same questions repeatedly.
- Makes random factual comments out of context.
- Doesn’t notice if the listener becomes bored.
- Avoids eye contact and has difficulty using and understanding facial expressions.
- May have problems initiating and keeping friendships
- Way of showing empathy may (at first) be difficult to understand.
- Unable to understand another person’s point of view.
Let me recommend an excellent YouTube video for understanding how an ASD student in your class, could, possibly, express empathy. Just click here to watch the video. As you watch ask yourself: “How am I reacting to the person with ASD?” and after watching the video ask, “How am I NOW reacting to the person with ASD?”