PEOPLE diagnosed with autism have unpredictable temperaments.

From an academic perspective, educators devised ways in analysing and teaching autistic children. The incapacities of these individuals are explored by the studies of psychiatrists, educators, therapists, and medical practitioners.

Fortunately, the University has the necessary resources that are capable of undertaking programs for autistic children. Its services include a disciplinary team that specializes in Special Education (SPED). The team is composed of experts from the Speech Pathology course of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences who aim to develop the speech of special children, and from the Occupational and Physical Therapy courses for developing motor skills.

“Basically, everything we need for SPED management and development is in UST,” said Prof. Maripia Rabacal, head of the Bachelor in Elementary Education Major in Special Education program.

Special curriculum

Medical practitioners, disability professionals, and psychological experts work hard to come up with remedies that may help special individuals achieve self-reliance and improved thinking.

Autism is a life-long condition that cannot be fully cured as of today and is more common in males than females, according to Rabacal.

“The main objective of SPED is not complete normalcy for the individuals, but to make these individuals self-reliant, confident, accepted by society,” she said.

Rabacal added that before a special person can go to school, he must go through a series of physical and mental assessments to see if he is deemed fit for a SPED program.

“As an educator, the basic element for educating a person, especially a special individual, is attention,” she said. “By being attentive, a person can learn better.”

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SPED teachers teach visually because it is the best method for improving the attention of autistic people, she said.

Autism symptoms

Before a person is diagnosed with autism, there are symptoms that should be observed such as repetition of behaviour, lack of eye contact, and communication problems.

When these symptoms are observed, the person should undergo an assessment, and only then can experts diagnose if someone has autism. “There is still a wider range of the symptoms of autism. No autistic person is the same with another, whether by physical or psychological difference,” Rabacal said.

Studies reveal three levels of autism: mild, moderate, and severe. According to the Childhood Autism Rating Scale by Eric Schopler, these levels of autism can be identified by observing the key traits and temperaments of a child, such as the individual’s relationship with other people, emotional response, and adaptation to change.

Rabacal said that to improve the special child’s development, his environment must understand and accept him socially.

She added that while people should accept and understand those suffering from autism, parents must be patient with their special sons or daughters.

“One does not have to force or control an autistic child. The common tendency is he will remember it and he might throw tantrums in the long run,” she said.


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