Autism Seminar Notes Part 2

Sensor thinkers sort specific pictures, sounds, touches, and smells into categories. Temple Grandin thinks things in pictures. They flash into her memory like a series of still Googled pictures. Occasionally, it happens to me. I think in words or numbers. 

Develop Talents in the Individual’s Specialist Brain

  1. Photo Realistic Visual Thinking—Poor at algebra
  2. Pattern Thinker Music and Math—Poor in reading
  3. Verbal Facts Language Translation–Poor at drawing
  4. Auditory Thinker–Visual perception fragmented 

There can be mixtures of these thinking types. I’m a visual learner.  

Hands-on Activities taught Grandin practical problem solving skills.

There are two categories of mathematicians: algebraists & geometers. 

  • All of Grandin’s uses specific examples to create concepts. 
  • It’s bottom up thinking and not top down thinking. 
  • She learned all concepts using specific examples. 

Is autistic learning memorization? It is memorization and scripting, but as more information is memorized, it can be assembled into more and more categories which will help thinking to become more flexible.  

Play games with people with autism to categorize many objects, so they would learn concepts such as color, shape, bigger than, smaller than, clothing, food, etc. 

Teach Number Concept Generalization:

  • Count a variety of different kind of objects  
  • Addition and Subtraction–Teach with many objects
  • Fractions–Teach by cutting up fruit and paper circles 

Details are Attended to Instead of Whole Gestalt:

  • Autism faster response time to small letters
  • Attend to details of faces instead of the whole   

Teach Word Concepts with Specific Examples

  • Walk down the stairs
  • A plane goes down and lands
  • Put a cup down 
  • Lie down on the bed 

Give out specific examples. 

Sometimes, objects are more interesting than faces. 

Sensory and Neurological Problems That May Need Accomodations:

  • Screams when the fire alarm rings 
  • Tantrums in a supermarket 
  • Cannot tolerate scratchy clothes 
  • Poor handwriting 
  • Tantrums or hyperactive under fluorescent lights 
  • Difficulty multitasking 
  • Difficulty with long verbal directions 

Social Interaction Through Shared Interests

  • School Clubs
  • Organizations such as Scouting 
  • Hobbies
  • Careers
  • Classes that really interest as individual 

The 1950s upbringing taught Grandin many important social and job skills. Everything was learned by categorizing specific examples into these concepts:

  • Turn taking in conversation and activities—such as board games
  • Being on time
  • Doing family activities I disliked
  • Doing things that pleased other people
  • Saying please and thank you 
  • Social mistakes were instantly corrected by telling me what to do 

I learned all that in the ’90s and early 2000s.

Categorize Behavior Problems

  • Is it biological? Sensory oversensitivity and hidden painful medical problem. 
  • Is it behavioral? Frustration because cannot communication, get attention, and escape from a task 

People with autism need to be disciplined like everyone else if they’re misbehaving. They need to be taught how to be polite and courteous and clean themselves up. It is unacceptable to be rude, disrespectful, and sloppy. 

Teach Social Skills in the Community:

  • Shaking hands
  • Eye contact when meeting people
  • Ordering food in restaurants
  • Table manners
  • Shopping—talking to store staff 

People with autism should practice them. 

Kids doing projects and playing games where the rules and duties are negotiatble teaches valuable social skills.

Rule System

  1. Really bad things
  2. Courtesy rules
  3. Illegal, but not bad
  4. Sins of the system 
  • Eccentric is acceptable; being dirty and rude is not.
  • Do not try to de-geek the geek! 

Hidden Painful Medical Problem in Non-Verbal Individuals That Can Cause SEVERE Behavior Problems

  • Acid Reflux heartburn (most common). Not always obvious. 
  • Constipation 
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Yeast infection
  • Ear infection
  • Bd tooth
  • H pylori (stomach, ulcer bug) 


Fear is the main emotion in autism. Some individuals with autism have anxiety issues. Sometimes, speech is easier when the child is swinging. Sitting on a ball and wearing a weighted vest helps concentration. Use for 20 minutes then take off for 20 minutes. Other things help concentration. 

It is important to desensitize touch sensitive autistic children so that they will enjoy affection. Feeling the good feelings of being held helps to develop feelings of kindness. 

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