National Academies Press: OpenBook

Educating Children with Autism (2001)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Educating Children with Autism

Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism

Catherine Lord and James P. McGee, Editors

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

The study was supported by Contract No. H324F980001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Educating children with autism/Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references (p.) and index.

ISBN 0-309-07269-7 (cloth)

1. Autistic children—Education (Early childhood)—United States. 2. Autism in children—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism.

LC4718 .E39 2001

371.94–dc21

2001003875

Additional copies of this report are available from
National Academy Press,
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418. Call (800) 624–6242 or (202) 334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). This report is also available online at http://www.nap.edu

Printed in the United States of America

Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested citation: National Research Council (2001) Educating Children with Autism. Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism. Catherine Lord and James P.McGee, eds. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering

Institute of Medicine

National Research Council

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I.Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm. A.Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTIONS FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

CATHERINE LORD (Chair)

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

MARIE BRISTOL-POWER,

Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch, National Institutes of Health

JOANNE M.CAFIERO,

Graduate School of Education, Johns Hopkins University

PAULINE A.FILIPEK,

Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of California at Irvine College of Medicine

JAMES J.GALLAGHER,

School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

SANDRA L.HARRIS,

Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University

ALAN M.LESLIE,

Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

GAIL G.MCGEE,

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University

SAMUEL L.ODOM,

Wendell Wright School of Education, Indiana University

SALLY J.ROGERS,

Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

FRED R.VOLKMAR,

School of Medicine, Yale University

AMY M.WETHERBY,

Department of Communication Disorders, Florida State University

JAMES P.McGEE, Study Director

NATHANIEL TIPTON, Senior Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Preface

John Brian Harley, a British geographer, described the process of making a map as the social construction of knowledge to facilitate understanding. In many ways, the preparation of this report seemed like that of making a map, not to direct, but to organize and represent information to help progress through the many scientific findings and unknowns in the field of early education in autism. At the request of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, this project was undertaken by the National Research Council to consider the state of the scientific evidence of the effects of early educational intervention on young children with autistic spectrum disorders. In any such project, the questions become as important as the answers. Our committee represented many different fields—including clinical and developmental psychology, special education, speech and language pathology, psychiatry, and child neurology—and we elected to organize our report around the questions that we defined as most important for our areas of inquiry; these questions demand multidisciplinary attention. We attempted to provide a “map” for each of these questions that represented scientific literature from our respective fields.

The questions cover epidemiology, family support, diagnosis and screening, assistive technology, characteristics of autism, features of intervention programs, and how instructional strategies have been put together in comprehensive programs. The questions also include issues in public policy, personnel preparation, and future research.

In elementary school, children are first taught the scientific principles of experimentation and replication. Experimental methods are at the core

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of the systematic collection and evaluation of knowledge that is science. Yet as Richard Horton recently said, in an article about the future of academic medicine, “…straightforward observations rather than intricate experimentation often produce the significant step forward,” steps that could then be tested through experimental methods. Our committee believed strongly that we needed to consider the insights provided by systematic observations, as long as the methods for such observations were detailed sufficiently enough to permit us to consider factors that might influence interpretations of the results. Similar to the recent criteria for evaluating treatment guidelines proposed by the American Psychological Association, we elected to focus on convergence and divergence of findings and to evaluate strengths and biases of sources of information, to best represent the current questions and state of evidence concerning the effectiveness of early education in autism.

This report presents the results of the committee’s deliberations. We hope it will have a broad audience, including educators and other professionals who work with and who carry out research with children with autistic spectrum disorders and their families, parents and family members, legislators and other policy makers, and advocates.

Many individuals have made contributions to the panel’s thinking and to various sections of this report by serving as presenters, advisers, and liaisons to useful sources of information. The committee is grateful to Gail Houle, at the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, for her continuous support, encouragement, and generous sharing of information most useful to the committee; and to Louis Danielson, at the Department of Education, for his workshop presentation of relevant data.

The committee thanks the following authors, who prepared commissioned papers and presented them at workshops sponsored by the committee: Grace Baranek, University of North Carolina; Eric Fombonne, King’s College London; Howard Goldstein, Florida State University; Myrna Mandlawitz; Scott McConnell, University of Minnesota; Pat Mirenda, University of British Columbia; Marian Sigman, University of California-Los Angeles; Rutherford Turnbull, University of Kansas; Robert Horner, University of Oregon; Phillip Strain, University of Colorado-Denver; Edward Carr, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Connie Kasari, University of California-Los Angeles; Joicey Hurth, Donald Kates, and Kathy Whaley, NECTAS; and Mark Wolery, University of North Carolina. The papers prepared by these authors are available through the National Research Council’s unit on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences and Education.

The committee also thanks the following program directors who responded to our request for data concerning their programs: Glen Dunlap and Lise Fox, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, University of

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
×

South Florida; Stanley Greenspan, George Washington University Hospital; Lynn Koegel and Robert Koegel, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara; O.Ivar Lovaas, University of California-Los Angeles; Gary Mesibov, TEACCH, University of North Carolina; Raymond Romanczyk, Institute for Child Development, Children’s Unit for Treatment and Evaluation, State University of New York at Binghamton; and Phillip Strain, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Colorado-Denver.

We also thank the following invited participants who attended the committee’s workshops and offered valuable input to its proceedings: Doris Allen, JCC on the Palisades Therapeutic Nursery; Gina Green, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Cathy Pratt, Indiana Resource Center for Autism; Serena Wieder, Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental Disorders; and Isabelle Rapin, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: H.Carl Haywood, Departments of Psychology and Neurology (emeritus), Vanderbilt University; Susan Hyman, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Rochester; Linda J. Lotspeich, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development, Stanford University School of Medicine; Edwin W.Martin, Division for Learning Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children, Arlington, VA; Nancy Minshew, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh; Michael Rutter, Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Research Center, Institute of Psychiatry, London, England; Stephen R. Schroeder, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas; and Linda R.Watson, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Richard Wagner, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, and Eleanor Maccoby, Department of Psychology, Stanford University (emerita). Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for mak-

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
×

ing certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors.

This report is the collective product of the entire panel, and each member took an active role in drafting sections of chapters, leading discussions, and reading and commenting on successive drafts. In particular, Marie Bristol-Power assumed major responsibility for the chapter on problem behaviors, Pauline Filipek on sensory and motor development, James Gallagher on public policy and personnel preparation, Sandra Harris on the role of families, Gail McGee on comprehensive programs and adaptive behavior, Samuel Odom on research methodology and problem behaviors, Sally Rogers on social development and instructional strategies, Fred Volkmar on diagnosis and prevalence, and on cognitive development, and Amy Wetherby on development of communication. Joanne Cafiero contributed significant sections on assistive technology, and Alan Leslie added key discussions on cognitive development. Fred Volkmar also performed detailed reviews of the report drafts, contributing additional valuable insights and information.

Staff at the National Research Council made important contributions to our work in many ways. We express our appreciation to Christine Hartel, director of the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, for her valuable insight, guidance, and support; and to Alexandra Wigdor, former director of the Division on Education, Labor, and Human Performance, for establishing the groundwork and direction of the project. We offer major thanks to Nathaniel Tipton, the panel’s project assistant, who was indispensable in organizing meetings, arranging travel, compiling agenda materials, conducting extensive outreach with the interested community, copyediting and formatting the report, and managing the exchange of documentation among the committee members. We are deeply indebted to Eugenia Grohman, who significantly improved the report by dedicated application of her extraordinary editing skills. We also thank Amanda Taylor, at the University of Chicago, for her untiring and competent support of many aspects of the activities of the committee Chair.

Catherine Lord, Chair

James P.McGee, Study Director

Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10017.
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Educating Children with Autism

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Educating Children with Autism Get This Book
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Autism is a word most of us are familiar with. But do we really know what it means?

Children with autism are challenged by the most essential human behaviors. They have difficulty interacting with other people-often failing to see people as people rather than simply objects in their environment. They cannot easily communicate ideas and feelings, have great trouble imagining what others think or feel, and in some cases spend their lives speechless. They frequently find it hard to make friends or even bond with family members. Their behavior can seem bizarre.

Education is the primary form of treatment for this mysterious condition. This means that we place important responsibilities on schools, teachers and children's parents, as well as the other professionals who work with children with autism. With the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975, we accepted responsibility for educating children who face special challenges like autism. While we have since amassed a substantial body of research, researchers have not adequately communicated with one another, and their findings have not been integrated into a proven curriculum.

Educating Children with Autism outlines an interdisciplinary approach to education for children with autism. The committee explores what makes education effective for the child with autism and identifies specific characteristics of programs that work. Recommendations are offered for choosing educational content and strategies, introducing interaction with other children, and other key areas.

This book examines some fundamental issues, including:

  • How children's specific diagnoses should affect educational assessment and planning
  • How we can support the families of children with autism
  • Features of effective instructional and comprehensive programs and strategies
  • How we can better prepare teachers, school staffs, professionals, and parents to educate children with autism
  • What policies at the federal, state, and local levels will best ensure appropriate education, examining strategies and resources needed to address the rights of children with autism to appropriate education.

Children with autism present educators with one of their most difficult challenges. Through a comprehensive examination of the scientific knowledge underlying educational practices, programs, and strategies, Educating Children with Autism presents valuable information for parents, administrators, advocates, researchers, and policy makers.

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