Examination of behavioral and sensory integration skills of autistic students in European dimension
Children and adults with autism, as well as those with other developmental disabilities, may have a dysfunctional sensory system. Sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation. Such sensory problems may be the underlying reason for such behaviors as rocking, spinning, and hand-flapping. Although the receptors for the senses are located in the peripheral nervous system (which includes everything but the brain and spinal cord), it is believed that the problem stems from neurological dysfunction in the central nervous system--the brain. As described by individuals with autism, sensory integration techniques, such as pressure-touch can facilitate attention and awareness, and reduce overall arousal. Temple Grandin, in her descriptive book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, relates the distress and relief of her sensory experiences.
Sensory integration is an innate neurobiological process and refers to the integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment by the brain. In contrast, sensory integrative dysfunction is a disorder in which sensory input is not integrated or organized appropriately in the brain and may produce varying degrees of problems in development, information processing, and behavior.
The aim of the project is to assist teachers in special schools on how to incorporate behavioral and sensory integration skills of the autistic students into the curriculum.
This one-week course aims:
• to familiarize participants with autism and behavioral and sensory integration skills and increase their understanding of the approach
• to introduce participants to incorporating sensory skills models and their practical implementation
• to enable participants to design lesson plans and materials suitable for their autistic students’ needs.
During the course, participants are exposed to a range of activity types and resources. This can include the following:
• demonstrations of lessons using the methodology in question;
• adapting and exploiting materials in the context of examining the behavioral and sensory integration skills of autistic students in European dimension;
• teaching strategies
The course includes daily practical sessions on preparing micro lessons to be used as case studies during the training and promotes the “learn how to learn” methodology and is based on learning by doing and collaborative learning. The methodology includes lectures, presentation of case studies by teachers that have incorporated sensory integration skills in their classes, workshops and exercises, and Web tools.
Outcomes: At the completion of the course, participants will have:
• A broader understanding of proper intake and use of sensory input which is absolutely critical to a child's maturation process and the building of core, foundational skills
• An increased access to a variety of activities to address sensory integration / sensory processing needs
• Opportunity for post-course dissemination of good practice to other teachers