What Is Autism?

Autism is a disorder that primarily affects cognitive development and function. Autism disorders were previously ranked and categorized based on the degree of social and cognitive difficulty, but are now all generalized as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism can be detected as early as 2-3 years of age. Children with Autism generally have trouble with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal skills, motor coordination, intellectual ability, and attention span.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is on the higher functioning end compared to Autism. People with ASD show difficulties with socialization and often have very few interests. Many people with ASD do not display speaking or cognitive difficulty, and are actually very skilled in very specific fields of interest. Common behavior of those with ASD includes:

  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Monotone voice
  • Limited social skills
  • Difficulty with facial expressions
  • Inability to understand emotions of others
  • Difficulty processing one’s own emotions
  • One sided conversations
  • Obsessive focus on a highly specialized topic

These are just a few of the common behavioral identifiers of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is not a generalization, as every child is different and experiences unique challenges.

Autism and Learning

Autism often creates other problems such as trouble sleeping, seizures, and gastrointestinal issues that make the child uncomfortable. If these problems are treated, the child is more likely to have a better attention span and display better behavior because he/ she is comfortable. Aside from medication, behavioral treatments are also effective, which is why Summit Academy has a behavior coach on staff to help students with Autism better understand their emotions and how to appropriately deal with them. Each school also has a DOJO, which is a room where students may go if they are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated during the day. Our staff members are well trained in teaching students with learning disorders and are all familiar with best practices in how to instruct children with Autism. Each student learns differently, which is why our teachers are patient and  prepared to use several different methods of teaching in order to provide the best education to each student.