Autism: A Social Skills Approach for Children and by Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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By Maureen Aarons;Tessa Gittens

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In terms of spoken language, this may range from a complete absence of or interest in communicating to subtle difficulties affecting the use of language. Because children with autism will often produce quite sophisticated utterances with complex syntax, incorrect assumptions are made about their understanding of language. Research has indicated that children with autism do not acquire language in the normal way, via a gradually expanding system of categories and rules (Roberts, 1989). Instead they learn by echolalia.

It is not possible to provide information about facilities and legislation in other countries, and we have to assume that readers will be able to locate for themselves what is relevant to the needs of particular children. Similarly, we refer to songs and rhymes that are part of British culture. Again, we assume that readers can substitute their own choices and preferences as necessary. MAUREEN AARONS TESSA GITTENS Page 1 Introduction Autism is now known to be a cognitive disorder, with neurobiological associations, affecting all aspects of social development.

However, the sort of games in which they can participate will either be rough-and-tumble play, running about and chasing, or, in the case of older children, board or computer games with clearly defined rules. Play which involves the understanding of subtle social rules is a particular area of difficulty: they do not know how to join in and will often use inappropriate strategies, which may include aggression. We have already mentioned theory of mind, in relation to the work of Uta Frith. She and other researchers use the term mentalizing to describe the ability to understand the thoughts, feelings and intentions of others which is deficient in individuals with autism.

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