The moral of the articles story is that teachers of autistic children with limited spoken languages may indeed need more training to get the most out of their students.
Still on the subject of therapy for autistic children, another article in the journal Autism (Vismara, et al. 2009) reports that professionally led training sessions with the parents of autistic children were helpful in getting the children to respond and communicate. The study was a 12-week research investigation, one hour per week; and what took place was the parents of eight “toddlers” (who had been diagnosed with autism) were brought together with their children and therapists. These parents were taught how to implement “naturalistic therapeutic techniques” based on the “Early Start Denver Model” (ESDM) (Vismara 93). The ESDM model focuses on “creating an affectively warm and rich environment to foster positive relationships between children and adults” (Vismara 99). The training with parents also embraced the Pivotal Response Training (PRT) model, using strategies associated with “motivation” as a teaching approach (communication, language and play skills). The parents were given a printed manual with 10 strategies for therapy that are “essential” to the ESDM model.
The results were very positive, and they illustrate that by training parents to become therapists in a sense, working with their autistic children in the home, life can be made better for the children.
By the fifth to sixth hour the parents had “acquired the strategies” needed to work with their childrens autism. And as for the children with autism, they “demonstrated sustained change and growth in social communication behaviors” (Vismara 93).
Another aspect of autism that becomes manifest in some of those afflicted with the disease is “an extraordinary memory” and a “remarkable eye for detail” (Donovan 2008). An article in the Harvard Business Review references the experience of Thorkil Sonne, an entrepreneur whose son was autistic and who “saw an opportunity” to help individuals with autism find “productive employment” (Donovan). So Sonne actually started a company in Denmark called “Specialisterne” (a software company) which uses “software testers” who have the eye for detail and great memory abilities common to certain autistic persons. Indeed, Specialisterne has 51 employees including 37 with autism. “My goal is to created opportunities for people with autism on an international scale,” he told Donovan.
Chiang, Hus-Min. (2009). Naturalistic observations of elicited expressive communication
Of children with autism. Autism, 13(2), 165-178.
Donovan, Susan. Entrepreneur Thorkil Sonne on what you can learn from employees
With autism. Harvard Business Review, 86(9), 32-32.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2008). Autism Fact Sheet.
Retrieved April 21, 2009, from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm.
Vismara, Laurie A., Colombi, Costanza, & Rogers, Sally J. (2009). Can one.