By Tracy P. Alloway Ph.D.
This article details the effects of visual working memory on children with autism.
Poor visual working memory can play an important role in the difficulties experienced by a child with autism, according to recent research.
The aim of this study was to compare the working memory profiles of children with autism with typically developing children. Working memory is the ability to remember and process information and is an important skill that is linked in grades from kindergarten to college.
The study recruited children ages 8 to 9; some were diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, while others were typically developing. They were given standardized tests of verbal Working Memory where they had to remember letters and numbers in backwards order. They were also given visual Working Memory tests where they had to remember the location and orientation of different shapes.
The results suggest that children with autism have much worse visual working memory compared to typically developing students. This deficit can have important implications for how autistic children process their social environment—they may struggle to process visual cues on the playground, which can make it harder for them to relate to their peers.
Poor visual working memory can affect students with autism in the classroom, as well as on the playground. In the classroom, poor visual working memory can make it harder to understand math concepts, and even solve simple arithmetic. Visual working memory functions like a mental blackboard, so it is difficult for them to carry out addition and subtraction problems in their head.
Poor visual working memory can also affect social interactions. We use visual working memory to read body language and other social cues so we can respond accordingly. A student with autism may struggle with processing the nonverbal communication from their peers, which can result in the social difficulties they often experience.
This research suggests that visual working memory may play an important role in developing social skills in children with autism. Given that 1 in almost 70 children receives a diagnosis of autism, it is important to target foundational skills to best support these children.
Continuing Education Courses on Autism
This is a test only course (book not included). The book can be purchased from Amazon or some other source.This CE test is based on the book “Apps for Autism” (2015, 436 pages), the ultimate app planner guidebook for parents/professionals addressing autism intervention. There are hundreds of apps for autism, and this course will guide you through them so that you can confidently utilize today’s technology to maximize your child or student’s success. Speech-language pathologist Lois Jean Brady wrote this book to educate parents and professionals about the breakthrough method she calls “iTherapy” – which is the use of mobile technology and apps in meeting students’ individual educational goals.For those who are new to the wonderful world of apps, worry not! This award winning reference will review hundreds of excellent apps, accessories and features organized into 39 chapters for parents and professionals alike. There are also helpful sections of how to choose apps, evidence-based practices, choosing an iDevice, internet safety, a helpful toolbox and much, much more.
It is well-established by research that many learners on the autism spectrum benefit from the use of visuals. How can we go beyond a basic use of symbols to create and implement individualized visuals that will help our students learn and communicate more comprehensively? Participants will learn about considerations and strategies to take into account in order to put more effective visuals in place for their students on the autism spectrum. Topics covered include: broadening symbol selection, adding layers and additional components to visuals in order to make them more motivating and meaningful, providing visuals for a wide variety of expressive communicative functions, and using visuals for comprehension and organization as well as expression.The course video is split into 2 parts for your convenience: part 1 is 56 minutes and part 2 is 57 minutes.
The first section of this course traces the history of the diagnostic concept of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), culminating in the revised criteria of the 2013 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, with specific focus on the shift from five subtypes to a single spectrum diagnosis. It also aims to provide epidemiological prevalence estimates, identify factors that may play a role in causing ASD, and list the components of a core assessment battery. It also includes brief descriptions of some of the major intervention models that have some empirical support. Section two describes common GI problems and feeding difficulties in autism, exploring the empirical data and/or lack thereof regarding any links between GI disorders and autism. Sections on feeding difficulties offer interventions and behavior change techniques. A final section on nutritional considerations discusses evaluation of nutritional status, supplementation, and dietary modifications with an objective look at the science and theory behind a variety of nutrition interventions. Other theoretical interventions are also reviewed.
Autism Movement Therapy® is an emerging therapy that combines movement and music with positive behavior support strategies to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in meeting and achieving their speech and language, social and academic goals. Its purpose is to connect left and right hemisphere brain functioning by combining patterning, visual movement calculation, audile receptive processing, rhythm and sequencing into a “whole brain” cognitive thinking approach that can significantly improve behavioral, emotional, academic, social, and speech and language skills. This course is presented in two parts. Part 1 summarizes what is known about the brain functioning of individuals with ASD and illustrates how participation in dance, music and the arts can render the brain more amenable to learning social and language skills. Part 2 is a documentary created by Joanne Lara – Generation A: Portraits of Autism and the Arts, which spotlights – from a strikingly positive perspective – the challenges and accomplishments of eight individuals with ASD.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).