The word ‘autism’ is derived from the Greek word ‘autos’ which means self. Many children diagnosed with autism retrieve into themselves, until coaxed into interaction with others.
Autism Society Of America (ASA) defines autism as a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Autism is a spectrum disorder, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. As a spectrum disorder, the level of developmental delay is unique to each individual.
The Signs of Autism
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Research has shown that Latino children are often diagnosed far later than white children. While there are many factors that come into play, it comes down to accessibility and knowledge. If English-speaking parents are having difficulty knowing where to go or finding information, it’s likely even tougher for Spanish-speaking families.
A few definitions pulled from a great website All About Kids – for a complete listing of definitions please visit All About Kids.
Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA refers to a well-documented scientific and research-based teaching strategy which utilizes the principles from the field of Operant Conditioning, particularly the principle of positive reinforcement. It is a science that has roots in the learning theories of B.F. Skinner, Watson, Thorndike, and Bandura. ABA is applied systematically to teach skills, measure, and then monitor progress. In 1987, I.O. Lovaas showed the efficacy of ABA instruction in treating children with Autism. The study demonstrated that children with Autism could make dramatic progress when receiving instruction of this type. In 1999, the New York State Department of Health recommended Applied Behavior Analysis as the primary treatment approach for children with Autism as well as other Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
Committee on Preschool Special Education or CPSE refers to a team that is responsible for the special education needs and services for children 2 years and nine months (2.9) through 5 years of age. Every school district and/or county has a Committee on Preschool Special Education. You are a member of the committee for your child and will be invited to attend a CPSE meeting. Other members of the committee are people who have a broad range of experiences planning for and/or working with children with special needs. Together, you will work to make sure that the recommendations made at the CPSE meeting are appropriate and, necessary services (if any), are provided to meet your child’s needs.
Committee on Special Education or CSE refers to the team that is responsible for the special education needs and services for students 5 years through 21 years old. You are a member of the committee for your child. Other members of the committee are people who have a broad range of experiences planning for and/or working with students with special needs. Together, you will work to make sure that the recommendations made are appropriate and necessary services (if any) are provided to meet your child’s needs. If your child meets the eligibility requirements to receive school-age special education services, the Committee develops and implements an appropriate Individualized Educational Plan or IEP to meet the needs of the student in the least restrictive environment.
Early Intervention Official Designee or EIOD is the person who serves as the “single point of entry” for the Early Intervention Program or EIP. Every county in NYS, including New York City, has an Early Intervention Official Designee or EIOD who is responsible for making sure that eligible children receive evaluations at no cost. The EIOD is also responsible for choosing an initial service coordinator to help families arrange for their child’s evaluations and assist with the Individualized Family Service Plan.
Early Intervention Program or EIP is a statewide program that provides many different types of services to infants and toddlers, from birth to 3 years old, and their families, who meet the eligibility requirements for Early Intervention. In New York State, the Department of Health is the lead state agency responsible for the Early Intervention Program.
Early Intervention or EI services are those provided by qualified personnel that meet the needs of the child and family as described in the Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP. These services are provided with parental consent and to the maximum extent possible in the child’s natural environment.
Individualized Educational Plan or IEP refers to the document developed at an IEP meeting which sets the standard by which subsequent special education services are usually determined appropriate. It is a written statement, developed, reviewed, and revised, that includes the components to be provided and the annual goals to meet the unique educational needs of a student with a disability.
Individual Family Service Plan or IFSP is the document which outlines the services to be delivered to families of infants and toddlers under the age of 3 years, with disabilities, who are eligible to receive special services through the Early Intervention Program. The IFSP must be based on the child’s evaluations and assessments and describe who will be providing services, where they will be provided, how often, and for how long. A Service Coordinator is responsible for development and coordination of the IFSP services.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA refers to the United States Federal Law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to 21 years of age.
Occupational Therapists or OT’s are qualified professionals who assess and work with eligible individuals to enhance their ability to function and be successful in the negotiation of their environment. Occupational therapists can work on improving underlying sensory motor foundation skills, fine motor coordination, visual motor control, visual perception and activities of daily living.
Occupational therapy or OT services are related services associated with self-help skills, adaptive behavior, play, sensory motor, and postural development. Occupational therapy services involve a functional evaluation of the student and the planning and use of a program of purposeful activities to develop or maintain adaptive skills. Occupational therapy services are designed to help individuals with disabilities achieve maximal functional capability in their daily life tasks.
Physical Therapists or PT’s provide therapeutic services to individuals in order to develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional capability throughout life.
Physical Therapy or PT is a related service that involves preventing or reducing movement difficulties and other related functional problems resulting from a physical impairment or delay.
Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Sensory Impairment is considered a neurological disorder that results from the brain’s inability to integrate certain information received from the body’s five basic sensory systems. These sensory systems are responsible for detecting sights, sounds, smell, tastes, temperatures, pain, and the position and movements of the body. The brain then forms a combined picture of this information in order for the body to make sense of its surroundings and react to them appropriately. The ongoing relationship between behavior and brain functioning is called Sensory Integration or SI. Sensory integration provides a crucial foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior.
Sensory integration gym refers to a facility that is designed to provide therapeutic intervention to students who have sensory integration dysfunction or sensory impairment.
Special Education Itinerant Teacher or SEIT is a licensed special education teacher who is able to work with young children with disabilities participating in early childhood programs. The Special Education Itinerant Teacher or SEIT serves children in different groups and/or programs, and therefore “travels” from group to group or program to program.
Special education preschool program means a special education program approved to provide special education programs and services and to conduct evaluations of preschool students with disabilities, if such program has a multidisciplinary evaluation component.
Special education services or Special instruction refers to the designing of learning environments and activities that promote a child’s or individual’s development. This includes providing information, modeling, training and support to positively affect the development and maintenance of skills.Special needs refer to a child or individual who has a disability or developmental delay and is eligible for special education services.
Speech and Language Pathologists or SLP’s are trained health-care professionals that help people develop their communicative abilities as well as treat speech and language disorders, feeding problems, swallowing and voice disorders. Their services include prevention, identification, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Speech and language pathology services are related services that include identifying and diagnosing speech and language disorders, as well as delivering speech and language therapy, counseling, and guidance.
Speech and language therapy may include, depending upon the nature and severity of the disorder, common treatments that range from physical strengthening exercises, instructive or repetitive practice and drilling, to the use of audio-visual aids and introduction of strategies to facilitate functional communication. Speech and language therapy may also include sign language and the use of picture symbols or Augmentative Communication Devices or ACD’s.
For a further clarification and/or a complete listing of definitions please visit All About Kids.