Receiving another grant to continue the same research I began last summer, I feel grateful to have another opportunity to expand my research through different concepts. This time, we have conducted information through two aspects of individuals with autism spectrum disorders:
Biology of the Brain
Elasticity in the neuro-typical brain for people have who have suffered injuries, strokes, and brain damage, can be affected through training, physical therapy, and emotional counseling. The neuro-typical brain can be redirected so that other parts can take over some of the damaged areas. The autistic brain is different from the neuro-typical brain in the fact from childhood to adult hood, synapsis and neuro-connections in the brain are not removed but remain rigid and permanent. While we cannot train the autistic brain to redirect different behaviors and characteristics, we can educate and train behaviors through direct modeling, mentoring, academic coaching.
Brain map that shows the differences
Top Right: Neuro-typical Brain
Bottom Right: Autistic Brain
“Grandin has lateral ventricles that are significantly larger on the left side of her brain than on the right.”
Theory of Mind
Most students with high functioning autism have the potential to be academically successful by receiving comprehensive support. Working with their coaches, they develop new skills to comprehend readings that are intensely vague, and study habits to prepare for exams. Executive Functioning skills for assignments, time management, keeping appointments, making it class on time, being able to communicate with the professors. Nevertheless, comprehending theory of mind comes naturally for neuro-typical people, and is very complex for the people with ASD. Usually it is difficult for people with autism to process that others think differently than they do, especially when people have opinions they don’t concur with. Despite the challenges, there are possible strategies for people with ASD to practice skills to be more aware of others expressing their feelings. Not all, but some of these strategies in the diagram are easy for individuals with ASD to comprehend.
How Theory of Mind Applies to Autism
Next month, I will be presenting my research at the 2018 College Inclusion Summit Conference in Burlington, Vermont. If I get footage while I am speaking, I will try to post some pictures. I am very excited for this opportunity and I cannot wait to share it.