Purpose of the study
The study seeks to establish if some specialized programs can be employed to cater to children who are frequently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This has been occasioned by the upsurge in the number of cases of special autism programs in several districts in different states by those taking part in state in-service programs (Marks 2007, p. 265).
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Social problems addressed by the study
The authors of this information have reviewed relevant literature that intimate that special education is concerned with the classification of children and putting them in a special location where they get specialized attention from specialized people. Other literature alludes to the fact that the education of children with autism seems to be at its formative stages. This is an area, which keeps evolving in terms of location and best practices. The newest practice has been witnessed in the form of ‘response to intervention’. Some researchers strongly believe that the best definition of best practice in response to learning disability should be services offered in segregated settings. Most of the researchers in this area have come to a consensus that most of the educational practice should be based on the National Research Council’s findings that favors comprehensive state-of-the-art programs that showed some promising characteristics. Some researchers have concurred that the word ‘promising’ has been used because there has not been research that has compared the effectiveness of the programs involved. Moreover, there has been no true controlled study with viable outcome measures. The program’s success was attributed to practical similarities. The success was however not attributed to the program name or the primary teaching procedures that were employed. Programs that were majorly used incorporated aspects of applied behavior analysis, structured, and naturalistic teaching. Tables were used here to provide an overview of the key programs that were used. These programs were facilitated in an exclusive school environment. The author assertively notes that the countrywide special autism program is based on projects that were developed on segregated models. Tables that have been used illustrate that the NRC findings could be appropriate in finding an amicable solution to the educational needs of children with ASD in exclusive settings (Marks 2007, p. 265).4
Because people tend to associate special with better because of the involvement of professionals who can address specific needs of the people with disabilities, aspects of confidence and comfort are witnessed among the parents and the professionals. Formative research emphasized intense one-on-one treatment for children with autism. This has indeed yielded positive outcomes. Even though the populations studied were children, it is widely believed that the results can as well be applied to school-going children. The author suggests that for inclusive programs to be promoted effort has to be put in enlightening parents and professionals on the current evidence-based practice for children with autism. There has to be constant research and dissemination of data on how special programs should be provided. The need for well-trained professionals is very pertinent for the effective running of the program. The biggest challenge however is on what the school personnel should be trained on (Marks 2007, p. 265).
Author and implication of the practice
The study found out that for effective implementation of a comprehensive program targeting children’s units in the school setting, the discrete trial should be used as the primary teaching procedure. The Denver community-based approach program can be used in the school, community, and home setting. It involves the use of a playschool curriculum. The floortime therapy can be used in the home or clinic setup. The main program involved here is the developmental intervention model. The Douglass program uses discrete and naturalistic trials whereas the individualized support program uses positive behavior support as the primary teaching procedure. Other programs like LEAP, Pivotal response training, TEACCH, UCLA Young Autism Project and Walden can also be employed in teaching children with ASD.
The study is quite interesting as it recommends that educational services should be put in place as soon as a child is suspected to be having ASD. Such children should be accorded individualized attention for the effective implementation of individualized objectives. Child progress has to be assessed to ensure that the desired objectives are met. When specialized education leads to specified educational goals it is paramount that children receive specialized instruction where the ongoing interaction was occurring.
Marks, U.S. (2007). Can “Special” Programs for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders be Inclusive? Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. 32(4), 265-268.