The increasing demands of teaching professionals has met an interesting crossroads as medical problems have fully invaded and dominated many classrooms across America. The mysterious and impactful affliction of Autism has ravaged recent generations of human offspring to a harmful effect. The wide ranging span of Autism and the many sub-disorders that this condition sets has seen educating these types of afflicted children with more and more difficulty as laws and mandates continually disrupt the process of both healing and educating these vulnerable children and their families.
The purpose of this essay is to explore the problems of autism and how the idea of inclusion of these children within these classrooms is problematic. This essay will argue that not enough is known about Autism to suggest that teachers are having any significant impact on these children or if the presence of these children in classrooms is having any positive impact on the other non-afflicted children.
This essay will also suggest that a more conservative approach is necessary when including autistic children in typical classroom situations. This essay will formulate reasonable ideas that suggest that the overall individual or subjective value of each classroom may make exceptions to this rule, but the necessity of federal standards on all public schools detracts from this idea and its ability to be successful.
The importance of understanding how autism is affecting not only our schools but also at the societal level can be very helpful in determining how this affliction impacts a classroom or school district. By correlating how this affliction's impacts are associated with classroom results a very interesting and complex set of circumstances arise where no one really knows what is best. Teachers, parents, principles and students are all going along with something that there is real understanding as to why it is done.
The idea of "least restrictive environment" or LRE is an important term to dissect before delving into the main body of the argument. This argument is premised upon the idea that the public school system is necessarily restrictive at its core essence. In other words, schools are not designed to be free flowing and chaotic. The ordering of schools and the organizing principles are placed in certain aspects to formulate guidance and learning. In understanding how LRE impacts this argument of inclusion its important to first understand the mysterious affliction that is autism and its many sub-disorders that are associated with this condition.
The Science Foundation suggests that in order to understand autism, one must first comprehend Autism Spectrum Disorders, which is the more formal term or diagnosis for the medical condition. They suggest that "when people refer to "Autism" today, they are usually talking about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which are five complex, brain-based disorders that affect a person's behavior as well as social and communication skills. The Centers for Disease Control describes ASDs as: "developmental disabilities that cause substantial impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, and reacting to different sensations. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary -- from gifted to severely challenged. An ASD begins before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person's life."
While many will boast of expertise of dealing with autistic children, very little is known about this condition as it continues to grow and expand into many communities. The mysterious nature of this condition suggests that public schools are not the most equipped to handle such inclusive efforts as bringing these disabled children into the classroom. When such a phenomenon as autism is so vaguely understood, it may explain much frustration to a problem that may not have a solution that aligns itself with inclusion.
There has been much speculation about how this condition has infected so many young children. For instance, the feedback that a parent receives from the child is often different that is interpreted from the doctor's. "Throughout the history of autism...
Perhaps because of this conflict, parents have often been at the vanguard of critical changes in expert understanding of autism," (Silverman & Brosco, 2007).
Causes of Autism
While it would seem that with much attention on this growing issue that a root cause would be clearly identified and aide in assisting in remedying the problems associated with this condition. The fast paced style of the current state of technology and information flow has caused a serious problem within modern research as too much data is flowing in too many different directions. The ability of the internet and online learning has created an abundance of research available that can significantly contribute to the argument. In finding a true cause of this disorder it may even be more helpful to find ways to eliminate seemingly valid and reasonable causes for this condition.
In gathering some research regarding the causes of autism there is wide debate. Szatmari (2003) proposed a reasonable model in dealing with this problem. He argued that "It is gratifying to see that research into the causes of autism has helped to temper the guilt so often experienced by parents when the disorder was considered to be psychogenic in origin. However, the difficulty of conducting sound studies of causation has now led some healthcare practitioners to encourage parents to act on very poor quality data and vigorously pursue hypothetical causes. It is generally anticipated, however, that with newer technologies and study designs, the risk factors initiating the causal chain that culminates in this profoundly disabling disorder will soon be identified."
Mandates For Inclusion
Even though the science behind autism and its wide span of disorders, a serious and direct effort has been made to include these children within the public school system. There are many reasons why this has been done. Political, economic, social and philanthropic ideals are all represented in this movement to include these children in public schools, and it is necessary to examine some of the major mandates that have collectivized these ideals into a tangible law that has wide-spanning effects on all children under federal jurisdiction.
In evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness or economic feasibility of any operation, it is necessary and prudent to look at the overbearing strategic force to notice an alignment of value and quality. The Department of Education declared their mission as "ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." The National Education Association (NEA) declared their mission as: "Our mission is to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world."
It is clear that the national leadership branch of public education is focused on preparation for competition and global interdependence. Educators must ask why the need to include autistic children who seem to be reasonable placed outside this sphere of future influence. The lack of cure of autism at this current stage suggests that this disability can be severe in its ultimate impacts.
More problems begin occur when viewing autism through a child who is particularly high functioning and able to participate in many aspects of classroom behavior and many indeed contribute to the end state of education as outlined by federal leadership. The creation of federal inclusion is necessary to fully grasp the entirety of the argument as a clear evolution to this point in time, may have been well intended, but has caused a variety of problems that are rooted in several different research areas, professions and segments of society.
History of Approach
In the past decades, as the public school movement gained power and momentum in the 20th century, students that may have well been identified as autistic, or residing somewhere within the ASD spectrum. The typical approach in past years was to simply pull these children out of the classroom and send them off to a special program, school or back home with the parent. The rise of two working parents must also be considered to be applicable in this situation where many times public schools serve as "dumping grounds" for unwanted children or children from families with abusive and neglectful values and practices as seen in so many places throughout the country.
Certain legislative acts towards the end of the last century and the beginning of this century has placed the idea of inclusion in a new and harsh light. In 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was established by federal law passed by Congress. This initiative provides much guidance on autism and how it is to be treated in public schools. Autism, as…
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Chamberlain, B., Kasari, C., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2007). Involvement or isolation? The social networks of children with autism in regular classrooms. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 37(2), 230-242.
DeVore, S., & Russell, K. (2007). Early Childhood Education and Care for Children with Disabilities: Facilitating Inclusive Practice*. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(2), 189-198.
Meadan, H., Shelden, D.L., Appel, K., & DeGrazia, R.L. (2010). Developing a long-term vision: A road map for students' futures. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 43(2), 8.
US Department of Education (nd). Mission. Viewed 11 Feb 2015. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/mission/mission.html
ASD Case Kyle is a 40-year-old male of Greek-American descent. He reports that his religion is Eastern-Orthodox and he attends weekly services. Kyle's wife urged him to contact a therapist because she was concerned about some recent and radical changes in his behavior. As a reservist in the U.S. Marines, Kyle has been deployed twice to serve in Iraq. During his first deployment, he was stationed in Kuwait and had an
social skills, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia in Autism." It was authored by Neuhaus et al. In 2014. This journal article conducts original research to determine the relationship between Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to discern if there were any significant effects for social functioning and either internalizing or externalizing psychopathology symptoms. Significantly, the authors were able to ascertain that
Parents, Children and the Search for Identity Initial Responses Before engaging with the reading material and conducting some preliminary research, my knowledge of the autistic spectrum was definitely limited. I have never known anyone directly that dealt with autism and my only exposure the disorder came from classwork and through the media. My feelings about the disorder were something along the lines of that it was a serious condition and had
diagnosis of autism can lead to a stigma or whether there are good results. Indeed, some feel that a diagnosis of autism leads to a situation where the child is treated differently but in a negative way. The genesis of this maltreatment can come both from children as well as teachers and other people. However, the study clearly approaches the question with an open mind and asks the question
What Is Autism? Autism, also referred to as autism spectrum disorder, is a disorder that takes into account a variety of conditions signified by challenges with social abilities, repetitive manners, speech and nonverbal communication, in addition to distinctive strengths and differences (Autism Speaks, 2018). Delineated by a set of behaviors, autism impacts persons in dissimilar ways and to varying magnitudes. There is no acknowledged sole cause of autism, but increased cognizance
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) & Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) The work of Cummings and Carr (2009) entitled "Evaluating Progress in Behavioral Programs for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Via Continuous and Discontinuous Measurement" reports a study that conducted an examination of the effect of two sets of data collected on skill acquisition and maintenance in behavioral treatment programs for children with autism spectrum disorders in terms of the influence of two