New approach finds success in teaching youth with autism

Statistics show that if children with autistic spectrum disorder can learn how to communicate effectively, then they can achieve success in the classroom and later on in their working lives. Since the number of children with autism is growing, and the funds available to helping these individuals is dwindling, educators are facing a growing challenge.

However, thanks to some researchers from the University of Missouri, teachers may now have an effective social competence curriculum with an additional virtual classroom component. Funded by grants from the Institute of Educational Sciences in the US Dept of Education, the team, led by Jane Stichter, a professor of education at the Missouri University College of Education, are currently testing the new curriculum.

Children with autism have three core deficit areas: communication, repetitive behaviours and social competence. High functioning children on the autistic spectrum need help determining and managing goals, understanding others’ feeling and regulating emotions. The curriculum focuses on specific needs and behavioural traits within the autistic spectrum and Stichter’s team have developed a programme that focuses the student on recognizing facial expressions, sharing ideas, taking turns, exploring feelings and emotions and problem solving.

Social competency is important because it is essential for life after school. So far special educational teachers have been very pleased with the results of using this curriculum with autistic children, and even teachers of regular children are keen to use some aspects in their classrooms.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Click here for more research reports on possible treatments for autism

First Published in 2010

Top of page