AUTISM & AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
Autism is a
neural development disorder shown by difficulties with social interaction and
communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism affects
information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their
synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.
As a leader, working
with scouts with autism can be challenging since one of its main difficulties
is communication. Finding a method for reaching a scout is important. The
parents are the best resource for learning this.
is no direct solution to how to best work with a scout with autism, there are
some general issues and recommendations:
with this condition can have trouble with new ideas and activities and
transitioning (changing from one activity to another).
the scout know the list of activities in advance and what is expected of him.
plenty of time for activities and to transition.
directions simple. Break down the activity into smaller steps.
visual map of steps or activities can help.
get the scout’s attention, find out what his interests are and try to
incorporate some of these into the activities.
can be modified to avoid frustration
different methods of communication (Written, pictorial, verbal, demonstrate).
One may work better than another.
sensory overload (too many things going on at once)
importantly, since the way this disorder manifests can be so varied, talk with
the scout and their family to find out the most effective teaching methods
(including how best to diffuse bad behaviors, triggers for bad behavior, and
methods that work at home and school).