Second Tuesday of Each Month
6:30 p.m. Room 140
Massoud Pediatric Building
T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital
Our brochures are printed courtesy of Target Stores
This brochure was prepared by F.E.A.T. of Chattanooga
with appreciation to the Autism Society of America
What is Autism?
Autism is a neurological disorder that interferes with the normal development of the brain in the areas of reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. Autism usually appears before the age of three and the disorder makes it hard for those afflicted to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. they may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people, unusual attachment to objects and resist any changes in routines. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.
Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.
It is a conservatively estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the United States today have some form of autism. Its prevalence rate now places it as the third most common developmental disability--more common than Down Syndrome. The majority of the public including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields are still unaware of how autism affects people and how to effectively work with individuals with autism.
Though there is no cure for autism, there is hope for children diagnosed with autism. Individuals with autism respond well to a highly structured, specialized education and behavior modification program, tailored to the individual needs of the person. a well designed intervention approach will include communication therapy, social skill development, sensory impairment therapy and behavior modification, delivered by autism trained professionals in a consistent, comprehensive and coordinated manner. Children with autism may be best addressed by a structured education and behavior program which contains a 1:1 teacher to student ratio or a small group environment. Early intensive behavioral intervention can make a significant difference in the life of a child with autism. Its fundamental goal is to move towards inclusion by teaching simple and complex pivotal skills that enable children to learn from natural experience in the average environment.
Students with autism should have training in vocational skills and community living skills at the earliest possible age. To be effective all approaches should be flexible in nature, rely on positive reinforcement, be re-evaluated on a regular basis and provide a smooth transition from home to school to community environments. A good program will also incorporate training and support systems for the caregivers as well. Rarely can a family, classroom teacher or other caregiver provide effective habilitation for a person with autism unless offered consultation or in-service training by a specialist knowledgeable about the disability.
A generation ago, 90% of the people with autism were eventually placed in institutions. Today, as a result of appropriate and individualized services and programs, even the more severely disabled can be taught skills to allow them to develop to their fullest potential.
Let Me Hear Your Voice
by Catherine Maurice
Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism
edited by Catherine Maurice and co-edited by Gina Green and Stephen C. Luce
Targeting Autism: What We Know, don't Know, and Can Do to Help Young
Children with Autism and Related Disorders
by Shirley Cohen
Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic
by Temple Grandin
1. To provide support, encouragement, and guidance to parents seeking treatment
young autistic children and by providing the opportunity for parents to interact with other
parents with similar concerns.
2. The evaluate and compare
effectiveness of current treatment approaches and make
treatment information available to parents.
3. To encourage and endorse
a long-term, cost-effective program to help parents effectively
teach developmental skills.
4. To maintain and make available a resource library of materials to be used in treatment
programs for autistic children.
F.E.A.T. - Chattanooga Chapter
Families for Early Autism Treatment
Autism Society of America
Below are concerns parents express to their child's doctor prior
to an autism diagnosis:
♦ Lack of speech or child had words and lost them
♦ Child seems deaf
♦ Child does not make eye contact
♦ Child has unusual behaviors:
▪ severe tantrums
▪ self-injurious behaviors
▪ difficult to control
▪ engages in self-stimulation type behaviors
(i.e. walks on toes, flaps hands, spins)
♦ Child ignores or does not play with others
Characteristics of Autism
Persons with autism may possess some of the following characteristics in
various combinations and in varying degrees of severity.
• Inappropriate laughing or giggling
• No real fear of dangers
• Apparent insensitivity to pain
• May not want to cuddle
• Sustained unusual or repetitive play
• Uneven physical or verbal development
• May avoid eye contact
• May prefer to be alone
• Difficulty in expressing needs
• Inappropriate attachment to objects
• Insistence on sameness
• Echoes words or phrases
• Inappropriate or no response to sound
• Spins objects or self
• Difficulty in interacting with others
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