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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001

Understanding Autism
Understanding Cognitive Differences

  • Understanding Context

  • May focus on parts or details rather than on the “big picture”
    • May have difficulty discerning the main idea of written text, focusing instead on the details that are of interest
  • May have strong decoding and word recognition skills, but poor reading comprehension
    • May be hyperlexic (able to decode words well above grade level), but not understand what the words mean
    • May use an advanced vocabulary
  • May repetitively read one part of a book or watch one scene of a movie, ignoring the larger story
  • May have significant difficulty applying math functions to word problems
  • May gravitate toward facts rather than concepts
    • May have good memory for detailMay have a photographic memory
    • May have near perfect recall of events or timelines
    • May know every fact related to a preferred topic, like baseball
  • May have strong visual-spatial reasoning
    • May be good at solving puzzles

Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

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