Yesterday, I mentioned that I will be sharing Mr Isaac Osae-Brown’s papers on Autism and Transition. Today, I am sharing the first part; a paper he presented at the Special Education Graduate School, California State University Dominguez-Hills.
How can we help our adolescents and adults live successfully in our society? Can we help them do well in the work environment? These are questions I hope we can answer this week.
A review of literature revealed a debate that exists regarding autism spectrum disorders. While some think that it is a clearly defined disorder, others argue that it is a spectrum of undefined and varied characteristics. Increasing evidence from researchers support the hypothesis that autism is a quantitative or dimensional spectrum with no clear qualitative distinction between traits found among individuals with the disorder and the general population. Internationally, most researchers agree that there are several primary characteristics of the disorder.
The term Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have frequently been used interchangeably. According to researchers, there are five categories of disorders included in the spectrum under PDD and ASD which include: Asperger disorder, Autistic disorder, Rett’s disorder, Pervasive developmental disorder and Childhood disintegrated disorder. Someone with autism spectrum disorder has one or more classic deficit in communication, repetitiveness and language.
Other researchers have studied the impact of autism on children and that more students all over the world are being diagnosed with autism every day. They state that while the causes of autism are still uncertain, it’s estimated that 2.64% of the American population is autistic. Wallis, (2006) states that there are still more questions than answers about autism after this disease was first described 60 years ago by American psychiatrist Leo Kanner and concludes that today, about 300,00 school age Americans children and many adults with autism are attempting to get through daily life.
The education law 20 U.S.C. Section 1402 (34) defines transition as a coordinated set of activities designed to be within a result-oriented process focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child’s movement from school to post-school activities including post-secondary, vocational, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, and independent living. There is optimism that with the appropriate training and education, young adults with autism spectrum disorder can integrate meaningfully into the community. The transition from school services to adulthood can be challenging for individuals with autism who face significant obstacles in multiple areas as they attempt to negotiate their way into college, work, community participation and independent living.
As these individual students leave the safety of the educational system, post secondary services and related support services may be needed to address a wide range of educational issues.
For instance, speech and language as well as occupational therapy would be needed to ameliorate or enhance language and activities of daily living to those who face more challenges in speech. Students with autism spectrum disorder would need a transition process that includes completing school, gaining employment, participating in post-secondary education, contributing to a household, participating in the community and experiencing satisfactory personal and social relationship.
|After a speaking session with graduate students at the California State University Dominguez Hills|
Can adolescents with autism be prepared to cope with daily life by using available educational resources and training from teaching professionals to transition effectively from school to the workplace? Currently, leaders in education and job training in the United States are demanding a systematic redesign of secondary education and transition service delivery for all youth, particularly those with disabilities. (Education Policy Reform Research Institute, 2004).
What kinds of services or support can we provide for these young people for effective transition? How do we prepare them for transition? Mr Isaac Osae-Brown still has more to say.
Let’s talk more on Autism and Transition as we conclude on the series, on Friday, April 15.
It is still Autism Awareness Month.
It is still Autism Awareness Month.