According to IDEA, autism significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. This condition is normally found before the age of three and affects the child's performance in general, not just educationally. A student with autism will engage in repetitive activities, resist environmental and schedule changes, and have unusual responses to sensory experiences (Turnbull 284).
What are the characteristics?.
A major characteristic of autism is the fact that it is not a visible disability. This can be challenging to the student and to the parents of the students with autism. Strangers around the child have no warning or explanation for abnormal behavior of the child (notes).
Generally, a child has poor generalization of new skills and slowly learns new skills (notes). More specifically, according to Turnbull, a child with autism exhibits five behavioral characteristics. These five characteristics are: language developments, social development, repetitive behavior, problem behavior, and the need for environment predictability (Turnbull 284).
Those with autism have different ranges of language abilities. Some have absolutely no verbal communication skills and other have complex skills. In students with autism, there are two common language impairments, which are delayed language and echolalia. According to Turnbull, 85%-90% of students with autism have the ability to learn verbal communication with state of the art teaching. A child would benefit the most from this if they learned this before the age of five. However, those with autism tend to focus on one topic, engage in limited social interactions, use limited gestures, use reverse pronouns, and does not keep eye contact (Turnbull 284).
Those with autism may also suffer from echolalia, which is when a child constantly repeats what he or she hears. This repetition may be delayed or immediate, meaning that the child may repeat what they heard a year ago or two seconds ago.