In the 22 years since I began graduate school and picked up my first special education textbook, the incidence of autism in this country has gone from one child in 5,000 to one in 166, correction, I just read the latest statistics on the Autism Society of America website and they say the 2007 CDC report now gives the figure as 1 in 150.
Autism speaks – this starts with a short slide show, and usually those irritate me, but I found this one really touching. We strongly recommend their “What is it” video series on autism. If you have dial-up, you’ll want to click on the “low” version of the videos, but if you do have DSL or other high-speed access, you probably want to pick the ‘high’ versions as they are easier to see.
Living with autism, from the Autism
Autism Society of America – characteristics of autism page. We have mixed feelings about this page. We are a little concerned that it presents too rosy a picture of autism. Yes, some people are mildly affected, but some are also severely affected and have great difficulty learning language and social interactions, despite enormous efforts on the part of their families and teachers.
Calm in a crisis – we really liked this article by Paula Kluth that discusses providing “gentle support” for children with autism when they are having ‘a meltdown’ .
My child has autism – discusses a mother’s experiences, good and not so good, with early intervention.
The Stress on Families page gives a good description of the experiences of familes who have a member with autism, such as not being able to go somewhere as a whole family because someone has to stay home with the person with autism, negative reactions from friends and family- from the Autism Society of America .
Schools and Schooling
Getting comfortable in the inclusive classroom is another Paula Kluth article that provides simple, practical changes in the classroom that can make it easier for a child with autism to succeed. This article focuses on when children respond strongly to sensory input – sights, sounds, smells and sensations that may affect children with autism more strongly than the children without disabilities.