Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Disability

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Autism, otherwise known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an extensive range of conditions “characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication” (What Is). Autism affects many children in the United States today and the numbers continue to grow. In this paper I will talk about the symptoms/complications, approaches/strategies, and family resources for parents who have children with ASD.

It is very hard to put a definition on what autism is exactly because there are so many different forms and variations of it. According to autismspeaks.org, autism affects an average of 1 in 59 children in the United States and most of the time it is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Also, boys are four times more likely to develop autism than girls are. Autism can affect everyone differently because there are so many different variations of it; some people with autism can be extremely high functioning and live a mostly independent life, while others might be severely challenged and need help daily. Complications often follow when someone is diagnosed with Autism. It might be accompanied with anxiety, depression, and even sleep disorders. Symptoms or signs of autism normally appear within the first two or three years of life, but some can even be diagnosed by 18 months.

Early signs of autism would be like a baby not being able to keep eye contact or no response when their name is called. Other times a child might develop quite normally and then after a few months or even years they start becoming withdrawn in social situations or even become aggressive and could potentially lose language skills they had already developed and achieved. According to the Mayo Clinic, some other symptoms of autism include, but aren’t limited to: “Inappropriately approaches a social interaction by being passive, aggressive or disruptive, fixates on an object or activity with abnormal intensity or focus, and Is unusually sensitive to light, sound or touch, yet may be indifferent to pain or temperature” (Autism).

When I was in high school I had a classmate who was autistic. She wasn’t verbal but she used sign language to communicate her needs and her wants. Even though she couldn’t talk using verbal words, she was still able to do some school work on her own. One of the things I really remember about Emma was that she loved puzzles. I have never seen someone who could solve a puzzle as fast as she could. Everyone loved challenging her with puzzles so we could see how fast she could solve them and Emma would get so excited when we all cheered for her. One of her signs was she would make noises, rock, and clap/shake her hands when she was happy. She would also make a loud moaning noise when she was happy. Emma didn’t like noises so she wore headphones a lot while in class or in the hallway.

It can be really challenging and emotionally draining when it comes to working with children with autism because you want to give them the best support and education possible. One strategy that works really well when working with children who have ASD is let the student know what is happening next and give them a time frame. An example of this would be, “in five minutes we are going to pick up centers and go to music.” Another great aspect to this would be to set a timer so the child can visually see when they have to pick up. This helps give them forewarning and doesn’t disrupt any schedule they might have. My four-year-old sister, Lottie, has to have a warning. If she doesn’t she will have a complete meltdown, but if we tell her ahead of time then she is able to do what she needs to and picks up when we say it is time. Lottie is high-functioning so this might not be the same for every child.

Another great strategy for working with children who have ASD is always acknowledge and praise when the child is doing what you requested. If the child is being loud in the hallway and disrupting other classrooms, one might ask them to use their inside voice. If you notice they have changed their tone and the volume you should praise them by saying things like, “nice job using your inside voice” and “thank you for being respectful in the hallway.” For the children who communicate and understand language pretty well you can explain why they need to use their quiet voice and how that helps others continue learning without being distracted.

Telling the child exactly what you expect in order to get a privilege is another really good approach when dealing with a child that has ASD. For instance, if you have a child that frequently throws fits when it is time to switch classrooms, tell them exactly what they are doing that day. An example of this would be, “today we are going to work in our classroom for 30 mins, then go to music, then we will go to the library, and after that we will go back to the classroom until it is time to go home.” Let the child know what they might earn for following these directions, like extra computer time or even a sticker. It is really important that you choose an incentive that the child will like and want to do, you can even ask their opinion for what they would like.

The last strategy I have today will be making sure you give a child with ASD choices. All children enjoy having control of their learning and their world, especially children with autism. It is best to give choices limited to two to four choices, you don’t want to add too many because they could get very overwhelmed and won’t be able to choose. An example of this might be asking a child if they would like to color, write, or read a book. These can all be very educational, but you leaving the door open for them to choose is the most important thing. Some students might not be able to communicate their needs or desire, so visuals are often good as well. You can take pictures of the different centers or activities and laminate them on flash cards. When you are talking to the student, you would hold up the cards with the different choices and let them pick what they want to do.

One of the biggest challenges people face when they have a child with autism would be finding good and reliable resources. First and foremost, most schools offer several support and resources so the first step would be talking to your local administration or counselor. I also found the website https://www.nationalautismresources.com, this is a place for fidgeting toys, chewy tubes, classroom focus tools, calming products, and sensory and OT. This would be a good resource for parents and teachers when they are looking for products for their children. Another resource I found was the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, their website talks about autism and describes signs and symptoms. It has a frequently asked question section and facts for families. It also shares some clinical resources for families in need, but the coolest part of this website was that is gave a list of books describing autism and how to cope with it in the family.

Overall autism is pretty common in today society, and it is nothing to be afraid of or worried about. When you learn what the symptoms are, you can recognize it and then change your teaching or parenting to benefit the child. The main thing to remember is the child or adult with autism is still a human and they have feelings. They are still very unique and important to our world and should be treated that way. I hope that this paper can shed some light on the symptoms and signs of ASD and provide valuable resources for families in need.


  1. Autism spectrum disorder. (2018, January 06). Retrieved February 12, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/diagnosistreatment/drc-20352934
  2. What Is Autism? (2019). Retrieved February 12, 2019, fromhttps://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism
  3. Quality Autism Products – National Autism Resources. (2019). Retrieved February 12, 2019, from https://www.nationalautismresources.com/
  4. 15 Behavior Strategies for Children on the Autism Spectrum. (2016, July 15). Retrieved February 12, 2019, from https://ibcces.org/blog/2016/07/15/behavior-strategies/

Cite this paper

Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Disability. (2021, Apr 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/autism-spectrum-disorder-as-a-disability/

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