Autism spectrum disorder is a group of conditions that affect 1 in 54 children in the USA (Autism Speaks). It is characterized by repetitive behavior, poor social skills, and problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. Hence, this spectrum disorders require mindful guidance, considering the fact that their signs usually appear at the age of 2 – 3, in other words, at the crucial period of an individual’s life. Social adaptation and safety become the guidance goal in this case.
There are several groups of the current research. First, scholars like Cameron, Moore, and Borgan (2) address the issue of engagement between a family and a child with autism. Secondly, some studies focus on the choice of treatment (Levy et al. 572) and different therapies applied for individuals with autism spectrum disorder like music (Boster et al. 21). Finally, there are groups of research analyzing the social integration of patients, especially in schools and colleges (Ashbaugh et al. 183). Therefore, there is a different direction to which a study on children with autism guidance may go, as this appears to be a complex multilevel issue.
Furthermore, there are several ways in which autism may influence individuals’ ability to develop and learn. To begin with, children with this spectrum disorders experience issues with language development and speech delays, as well as poor nonverbal skills to express themselves. Gestures and eye-contact may appear to be complicated interactions for such individuals. Another problem to mention is narrow focus: while children with autism can be brilliant at mathematics or music, it can be challenging to engage them in other areas. Moreover, their attention can sometimes be easily distracted by the stimulus that people without autism hardly mention. In a word, behavioral issues are a typical element of autism and, in a way, the essential part of the spectrum disorders.
Moving on, a child’s unwanted behavior may be caused by a broader range of factors than usual. An individual’s disability to express themselves pushes them to unwanted behavior that either expresses their irritation about a lack of understanding around or solves the initial problem. For instance, a child may feel pain and still be unable to communicate this issue to a caregiver, or they may feel itchy underclothes and start to undress in public. Another critical factor is that children with autism are susceptible to external triggers and stimulators like noise or light. Sensory overload may also lead to unwanted behavior. In other words, a caregiver must understand that taking a child with autism for a trip on a public bus is an extremely stressful situation for them.
Speaking of the physical environment, it could also help to reach the guidance goals. To begin with, it is vital to guarantee safety by limiting access to power sockets, remove locks from bathrooms, and so on. Furthermore, creating a visible day schedule could help the child to adopt the regular practices and also quite importantly, let them know that at specific hours they are supposed to give their parents some time to rest and play by themselves. Finally, a play zone is quite essential: this is a space where the child is free to play with sand and grains, for instance. Hence, there are many aspects of how the physical environment can influence behavior.
As for the possible interventions, they might correlate to Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory that primarily deals with educational goals. According to the concept, children actively learn from on-hand experience (Esteban-Guitart 387). It also explains how external aid may assist in the learning process. Punishment is a necessary intervention in guidance. However, it is vital not to be confident that a child understands which actions cause consequences. Speaking of the punishment itself, it usually is taking away a stimulus like a toy or a time-out, commonly practiced (Faber 120). Another vital intervention in positive guidance is an observation as it helps to reach the goals of children with autism guidance (Miller 81).
Finally, among other kinds of therapies, one may choose bibliotherapy. In the case of children with an autism spectrum disorder, the books teaching their readers about standard daily practices from games to hygiene procedures can be useful. An example to name is the work “Since We’re Friends” by Celeste Shally, where the author tells the story of two boys, one of whom has autism. Via practical illustrations, young readers can understand how communication and friendship work. Other books include textures to touch, which could be useful before going with children to a zoo. Hence, they learn how animals feel, how one can caress them, and so on.
To conclude, being quite a widespread group of conditions, autism spectrum disorder requires special attention from caregivers. The current studies explore different dimensions of autism, including the question of the effectiveness of variable therapies applied. Behavioral issues appear to be a regular part of autism. As for the physical environment, it directly influences an individual’s condition, so guidance must, in the first place, consider external triggers. Bibliotherapy may be one way to improve a child’s condition by learning through examples from texts and pictures.
Ashbaugh, K., et al. “Increasing Social Integration for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Behavioral Development Billetin, 2017, pp. 183 – 196.
Boster, Jamie B., et al. “Music Therapy Is Beneficial for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but More Specific Clinical Guidance Is a Future Need.” Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 2017, pp. 20 – 26.
Cameron, Michael, et al. Telehealth for Family Guidance: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Parents-focused Preference Assessment, and Activity Based Instructions for the Support of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Families. PsyArXiv, 2020.
Esteban-Guitart, M. “The Biosocial Foundation of the Early Vygotsky: Educational Psychology before the Zone of Proximal Development.” History of Psychology, 2018, pp. 384 – 401.
Faber, Adele. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Scribner, 2012.
Levy, Susan E., et al. “Shared Decision Making and Treatment Decision for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Academic Pediatrics, 2016, pp. 571 – 578.
Miller, Darla Ferris. Positive Child Guidance. Cengage Learning, 2015.