Educating Children with Autism: What does the National Research Council Say?

National Research Council (2001)

Educating Children with Autism
Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism.
Catherine Lord and James P. McGee, eds.
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Executive Summary Highlights

What does Diagnosis, Assessment, and Prevalence look like?
Commonalities are strong and consistent across Autism Spectrum Disorders-ASD, with social deficits being the most prevalent.  There is no single behavior that is typical of autism or any autistic spectrum disorder. Currently, 1 in every 110 children will recieve a diagnosis of Autism or an Autism Spectrum Disorder and 4 out of 5 children are typically male. 

What is the Role of Families

The role for family includes communication between home and school environment and family participation in shaping the educational programming for their child for home, educational and community environments.

  • Goals for Educational Services
  • Progress in; Social and cognitive abilities
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Adaptive skills
  • Behavior reduction
  • Generalization of abilities and skills across many environments within the educational and community setting.


What are the Priorities of Focus for Young children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • Functional spontaneous communication
  • Social instruction; social skills and social interaction
  • Cognitive development
  • Play skills
  • Proactive approach to behavior problems through positive behavior support strategies as outlined and presented through IDEiA.

These priorities should be delivered through instruction throughout the day throughout a variety of settings and within the natural context of the setting or experience.

Young children with an ASD  should have access to specialized instruction with typically developing children to the extent that it leads to the acquisition of the child’s educational goals.

One size fits all approaches of methods and materials may understate the many immediate and long term needs of individual students regarding behavior support and instruction across areas.

About Mary

Hi! I have been providing services for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ages 3 through age 27, for twenty years. I also teach teachers and other professionals strategies and interventions to improve and develop communication skills, social understanding skills, and replacement of stereotypical behaviors. I try to create an awareness and empathic response with professionals working with families and caregivers living with the unique differences and challenges of ASD. My other goals include educating the public about ASD. ASD is a label that provides a common ground for discussing treatment, strategies, and other interventions to help the child or person. The label is not the child and vice-versa. Over the years I have observed many children develop communication skills, experience social success, and decrease and change stereotypical behavior into productivity. The children I work with are unique and wonderous. Like you and I they have specific interests and strengths that are valuable assets to their Quality of Life.
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