Care, Nurture, Grow How Special Needs Programs Help Students With Autism Flourish


Autism summer camp

Every person on this planet should have the opportunity to flourish; regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background, belief, or disability, we are all alive and therefor filled with limitless potential. In order for our potential to be realized, we must have the proper circumstances, which more often than not requires a sturdy foundation and a strong support network. Unfortunately, in many cases some children are not receiving the attention that they need due to a disability — finding qualified special education programs can make a world of difference to those suffering with a cognitive disability such as autism.

Understanding Autism

Autism is a neural development disorder that is typically characterized by impaired social skills and communicative skills as well as restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism is one of three recognized disorders belonging to the autism spectrum (ASDs); the other two are Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive development disorder, which is diagnosed with the full set of criteria for autism and Asperger syndrome are not fully present. In order for autism to be diagnosed, the symptoms must become apparent before a child is three years old. While medical science is still unlocking many of autism’s secrets, it is known that autism has a very strong genetic basis that may be through rare mutations or by rare combinations of common genetic variants in parents.

Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy

Due to the impaired communicative and behavioral skills that many with ASDs experience, institutionalized education may not be an ideal learning environment for these students. Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy (ABA Therapy) helps children with ASDs gain self-care, social, and communication skills to set them on a path towards success in life. ABA Therapy focuses on the very principles that establish how learning takes place through positive reinforcement that increases the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated — this helps to prepare the student for a classroom environment. Although more research needs to be done, it is estimated that somewhere between 0.5% to 10% of individuals with ASDs show unusual abilities ranging from trivia memorization to the extraordinarily rare talents of autistic savants — ABA Therapy can help uncover these abilities and help a student overcome stereotypes and adversity throughout their life.

Finding Schools for Students with Learning Disabilities

Many public schools lack the funding, the skills, and the equipment required to help ASD students flourish — in fact, within two years of high school less than half of those with ASDs have paying jobs; this is the lowest rate of any disabled group in the country. ASD students face several challenges with respect to learning, communication, emotional and behavioral situations, and physical disabilities; for these reasons it is best to find a certified special education school with an environment tailored to the needs of each student. Each special education program ought to be customized to address each individual student’s unique strengths and needs in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The additional educational services offered by many special needs schools utilize different teaching approaches, use of technology, specially adapted teaching areas, and unique resource rooms to give students every advantage possible. With the right environment and the proper level of care, every student can grow, prosper, and flourish by realizing their full potential.

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