Understanding Autism

Characteristics of autism
Try this card sort to help you revise the charactersicis of autism. Cut out the pieces and try to sort them according to the triad of impairment. Hving done this give yourself 5 minutes to write down as much as you can about the characteristics of autism:autism card sort.doc
Use this sheet to structure your writing: Describe the characteristics of autism.doc —-
Explanations of autism
A summary of…
1. theory of mind/minblindess explanation of autism: Cognitive explanation of autism.doc
2. Extreme Male Brain Explanation of Autism: A handout summarising ideas from the associated websites for this topic: Extreme male brain explanation of autism.doc
Ways in which autism affects development
Autism can affect a child social and cognitive development; this handout explains how and considers ways of supporting the child:
Autism: Independent research task
To gather information for your poster display…
watch ‘Autism and Me’ and make notes Autism and me.doc Video note taker sheet: Autism and Me: Rory Hoy
read the handout autism.pdf created by Dr Julia Russell, textbook author and senior examiner.
See the criteria for diagnosis from the DSM IV TR: DSM IV autism.doc
PowerPoint used to demonstrate the Wisconsin card sort task wisconsin card sort.ppt
Visit this site to see how the ‘Tower of Hanoi’ task works. http://www.cut-the-knot.org/recurrence/hanoi.shtml
Take this online test to find out whether you have a male or a fermale brain; this includes the eyes test developed by Simon Baron Cohen and links to the empathising-systemising theory of autism. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/add_user.shtml?users=1
Summary of what it means to be a high systemiser: Systemizing Mechanism at Level 8.doc

Please visit the following websites to research your task.
http://www.autism.org.uk/content/1/c4/78/85/Saturday_SimonBaron-Cohen.pdf A useful slide show developed by Simon Baron-Cohen; bit difficult to interpret without his help but none-the-less some useful information here.
http://www.autismresearchcentre.com/docs/papers/2009_BC_nyas.pdf A very useful paper for understanding the difference between Baron-Cohen’s two theories; mind blindness and systemising-empathising which is also lined to extreme right brain theory. Well worth a read!
Autism in books and films
Films featuring characters with autism:
  • Rain Man (a classic with Dustin Hoffman)
  • The Black balloon (Australian and may be tricky to get hold of)
  • Snow Cake (mixed reviews but autism adovcates applauded Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of autistic woman)
  • Mozart and the Whale (story of a couple who both have Aspergers; true story)
Books featuring autism:
I would be interested in reviews of any of these films and books for possible publication in school magazines.
Revising autism
taboo autism.doc Use these taboo cards to test a partner on how much they know about autism: characteristics and two explanations.

Homework Questions
  1. Describe the characteristics of for one of the following: severe learning difficulties, autism, ADHD (4 AO1)
  2. Outline one explanantion for one of the following: severe learning difficulties, autism, ADHD
  3. Describe two ways in which this might affect a child’s development (4+4)
  4. Nazam has been told that his son may have autism. Outline two ways in which his son’s development may be affected and describe two possible explanations for autism (12 AO1/2)
  5. Compare the two explanations for one of the following: severe learning difficulties, autism, ADHD (5 AO2)