Developing visual perception for 5 - 6 year - old children with autism spectrum disorders

Abstract. Visual perception has an particularly important role inhuman life especially for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This perception leads the children to observe, find out the surrounding world and adapt to respond. Difficulties in visual perception of Children with ASD have been much influenced into their cognitive, academic studying and inclusion. This article proposes 7 measures to develop the visual perception for 5-6 year- old children with ASD, including: assessment and planning; developing and doing activities; using particularly educational strategies, curricula; playing games for eye practicing; intergrating activities of visual perception; adapting and accomodating learning environment and time; stimulation for children with ASD. Those measures for teachers and parents are aimed to develop their children visual perception in an intended, systematic and comfortable manners

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JOURNAL OF SCIENCE OF HNUE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2016-0229 Educational Sci., 2016, Vol. 61, No. 11, pp. 160-167 This paper is available online at DEVELOPING VISUAL PERCEPTION FOR 5 - 6 YEAR- OLD CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS Do Thi Thao1, Tran Xuan Kieu2 1Faculty of Special Education, Hanoi National University of Education 2Nam Dinh Teachers Training College Abstract. Visual perception has an particularly important role inhuman life especially for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This perception leads the children to observe, find out the surrounding world and adapt to respond. Difficulties in visual perception of Children with ASD have beenmuch influenced into their cognitive, academic studying and inclusion. This article proposes 7 measures to develop the visual perception for 5-6 year- old children with ASD, including: assessment and planning; developing and doing activities; using particularly educational strategies, curricula; playing games for eye practicing; intergrating activities of visual perception; adapting and accomodating learning environment and time; stimulation for children with ASD. Those measures for teachers and parents are aimed to develop their children visual perception in an intended, systematic and comfortable manners Keywords: Perception, vision, strategies, method. 1. Introduction Visual perception has an important role to help children discover the world around and respond to information. The first thing of their feeling comes from perceptions, therefore Visual perception (througheyes) has a particularly important role, as eyes are received about 90% of information from the outside. Eye (vision) is the window for children to see the outer world. Thus, developing the visual perception is meaningful and essential to either children or children with autism spectrum disorders. Visual perception of children with ASDis extremely affected by their specific characteristics and their deficits, which prevents and challenges them from involving into society. There are various types of visual perception problems of children with ASD, including children cannot use the visual organ, some children use this organ in inappropriate way, some can use with limitation. At the age of 5 – 6 when normal children familiar with letters, children with ADS have difficulties in remembering and combining them. This period in children without disability promptly will pass by, however there are long-term challenges that children sometimes might not get over them[3]. The research reported by Kate Plaisted and Michelle O’Riordan at University of Cambridge, pointed out that the extend of distinction in visual perception of children with ASD has been higher than normal. A research by Asmaa Bakroonand Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (2016), showed significant evidence of visual function disorders of children Received date: 5/11/2016. Published date: 15/12/2016. Contact: Do Thị Thao, e-mail: thao2006trang@yahoo.com 160 Developing Visual Perception for 5 - 6 year - old Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with ASD has been abnormal in processing information, which has significantly affected to quality of life of individual with ASD [6]. Some of studies reported by Fazlioglu, Y., Baran, G., 2008 [9] affirmed that using methods of sensory integration would bring the effectiveness for the treatment of visual perception disorders of children with ASD, including cooperation between motor andvisual perception is emphasized. Smith, S. A., Press, B., Koenig, K. P., Kinnealey, M., 2005, suggested that “using the intervention treatments as sensory integration is positively influenced of reducing self-stimulated and self-injured status of a child with ASD [10]. In fact, there has been many limitations from developing the visual perception in inclusive schools and special ones for many reasons. Research paper named “Applying some developed excercises to improve visual perception of children with ASD” [2] had analysed definition of ASD, characteristics on autistic children‘s visual perception impairment, then developed and applied some excercises to engage chidren into lessons and had better achievements in learning. In this paper, we propose some measures to develop the visual perception to children with ASD from 5 to 6 years old, which helps teachers and families to have targerted, systematic, scientific treatment to visual perception development of those children as well as their sensory problems. 2. Content 2.1. Definition of perception and visual perception development for 5-6 year- old children with autism spectrum disorders Perception is a complicatedly developed process. Based on it people can understand about the world and themselves. Visual perception is a process to understand the things and events through the visual organs. People can organize intensionally and process the information by themselves or in relation with others. A measure of the visual perception development for 5-6 year- old children with ASD is a formulation that educators use technical factors, specific facilities, safety and fruitful interaction environment to develop visual perception in children with ASD in a proper and natural manners and a long with the development of children [2]. Developing visual perception for those with ASD isclosely in relationswith other components of intervention and education such as targets, contents, curricula, methods, facilities, assessment and especially it is essential to get involved by teachers and families. It could make progress of children in developing visual perception and soon enroll to inclusive schools. The appropriate measure to develop the visual perception for children with ASD needs to meet requirements of educational intervention process, that is based on the child’s strengths, weakness, capacities, interests, then adapting and accomodating the Individual Educational Plan. The measure to develop visual perception for children with ASD needs to meet fundamental requirements and get along with the procedure of educational early intervention in special schools. 2.2. Affected factors to develop visual perception for children with ASD * Subjective factors: 1) For the children: their visual abilities including eyesight, eye motor-coordination, colour perception, space... are factors that are the most significantly influenced to visual ability of the child. Personal characteristics and abilities of these children, however, are affected to the way how to use their vision? Cognitive, social interaction and stimulation and others related to children’s spychology are factors to determine their visual 161 Do Thi Thao, Tran Xuan Kieu perception ability; 2) For teachers: ethics, professional competency, methodology... are influence to quality and effectiveness of visual perception development for children with ASD. Teachers should have empathy and compassion and patience during providing instruction with students. In additionally, it is necessary for a teacher to use various methods and technical skills in teaching children with ASD. Teachers must recognize children’s strengths, weaknesses, interests to stimulate their children’s attention in classroom; 3) For families: Parents are the firsts who form and develop visual abilities for their children. Families has an important and essential role in suppoting children to involve into society. When parents understand their children and educatethem in appropriate way, they can help children to develop effectively their visual abilities. Not only caregivers but also all members have to participate into education process to help children to develop vision ability; 4) For administrators: Safe and sound learning environment, facilitators for learning, experience exchange, ect are all helpful for developing visual perception of the child. * Objective Factors: 1) Infrastructure: The development of visual skills is depended much by many conditions of infrastructures (classrooms, equipments, facilitators...) at schools as well as at home. The better condition, children learn inthe better progress they make.; 2) Environment: there are so many existing factors such as light, colours, contrast, distance and time.i)light: intensity, pattern, position, distance from light, task response frequency are major factors of visual perception. Some children are sensitive to light that they feel eye-ache or uncomfortable with blue-light, directly dazzling. In contrast, some children need much more light to see the best. ii) Colour/contrasting: Depending on each child, colour as well as contrasting between colours in classroom and facilities will be different. A few children are worried about some colours, they will find nothing or be stimulated or have some unexpected behaviours. The selection of colourduring instruction is very important to the development of the child.; iii) Size and distance: Some objects or things are too small or too big that influence to the children’s visual perception development. They could not see or recognize the differences in objects or things. Distance between the children’s eyesight and objects are crucial for cognitive by visual perception. iv) Time: the accuracy and action speed are reduced due to measure for visual function. Children with autism spectrum disorders need more time to detect, recognize and play with objects. Seeing within long time could make eyes tired, reducing speed, accuracy and attention of the child. On the contrary, some too fast actions or some moving things make children have difficulty in recognizing things. Real evidences prove xem lai to all developmental fields and activity responses and by adaptation on environment to teach children to use visual function more effective. 3) Documentary: Visual perception treatment for children with ASD is quite new in Vietnam. There are limited or unsystematic materials and a little guidance manuals, therefore it needs much more researches and materials in removing their challenges of visual perception. 2.3. Measures to develop visual perception for 5-6 year- old children with ASD 2.3.1. Principles to recommend measures Be suitable to objectives and be feasibility: the goal is the first element of visual perception development process of children with ASD, which give orientation to select content, method and activity. It contributes to improve quality and effectiveness in develop visual perception of children with ASD. Effective measures to develop visual perception should be caried out for children. The measures should be simple in using, which help teachers, parents create many opportunities for children to develop visual perception effectively. To inherit: The principle requires to select the strengths of ealier proposed measures to improve and get more and more efective. Measures should be adjusted and accommodated to children with ASD. 162 Developing Visual Perception for 5 - 6 year - old Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders To inconsistency to general developmental characteristics of pre-school children and individual characteristics of children with ASD. In general, children with ASD have some same characteristics with other children except some differences. Measures for visual perception development should be based on the psycho-physiological characteristics of children at the same age as well as psychological characteristics of children with ASD, then have aappropriately selection on program content, methods, tools, duration, form of implementation. Planning for visual perception development need should promote increase the strengths and remove weaknesses of children with ASD. Besides, This principle also requires it should be concentrated stressed on the individual characteristics and each situation of eacha child, local conditions... If thethose measure on developing visual perception isare developed inappropriately, it will not also bring high efficiency or, but only negative effects. To assure children development stages: Children always have the same steps in their development while, the difference is high or low speed. Therefore, visual perception development for children with ASD should be along with children’s development stages, in accordance to theory of “Zone of proximal development” theory given by Psychologist L.X.Vygosky whereby the visual perception development is not only highly appreciate the value child with the standard achievement of a child, but also value the nearly reaching standard level of those nearly reaching things of children to support promptly to the child. Development of visual perception for children require logical, continuous and scientific content and plan, in which there is a consensus among different elements of the educational process: objectives, contents, methods, operation and ways of evaluating; there is an involvement of participants: Director, professionals, schools and society. The cooperation and collaboration among families and schools: Children with ASD has many difficulties, thus it needs the collaboration among families and schools in researching and educational intervention. Staff of educational settings should aware of roles of families in intervention and education, then expand their collaboration to improve educational quality for children with ASD. To ensure the implementation, space and infrastructures: implementation of each method should be targeted accordingly, cause over-using the method could be negative to the child or little-using could be not good for the child. The method’s implication should be counted by environment or infrastructure. Thus, teachers and parents need to assure feasibility in using the method to attain good outcomes. 2.3.2. Some measures to develop visual perception for children with ASD at age of 5-6 * Measure 1, Evaluation and planning to develop visual perception: Is the first step of visual perception development as an individualized access. Developmental fields related to visual perception ability: attention, memory, intellectual capacity, motor-coordination, cognitive, receptive and expressive language, social interaction, behaviours, interests... Evaluate the conditions of visual perception development for 5-6 year children with ASD. The plan of visual perception for 5-6 year old chidren with ASD includes 2 main parts: 1) Goal; 2) Method to develop visual perception. Process and planning have following steps: Step 1: Description of children; Step 2: Apply the assessment tools to collect data; Step 3: Analyze and summarize assessment results; Step 4: Planing for visual perception development. Some major surveys are used such as: Questionaires, observation, multiple-choices, analyze outcome researches..... Assessment tools should be used including: activities to test visual perception ability; assessment tools (PEP-R, intellectual assessment tools, behavioral observation..), observation check list, questionaires for teachers and families... Cooperartion, between schools and families and assessment expertises: it 163 Do Thi Thao, Tran Xuan Kieu should regard to environmental factors, infrastructures and teacher competency ... * Measure 2, Develop visual perception improvement activities and practicein children with ASD: Activities to develop visual perception effectiveness based on spychological characteristics, abilities and interests of children. Chidren with ASD have dificulties in visual perception such as not good at shape of objects, colours, the concept of directions, attention, which make them hardly to maintain an concentrate on a moving objectives or compare characteristics between them... Children with ASD always get trouble with attention, social interaction skills and other health problems... Therefore, activities to develop visual perception in children with ASD should be simple and excited for children to join Those activies are divided into 5 groups. Those child will be provided 5 activities in each group, which concentrate on: (1) Colour (Know colour and cooperate to familiar objects): colouring objects, respond promptly to colours, select colour, recognize colours in environment; (2) Shape (Assemble images, find pictures as teachers’ requests, Play with blocks; Find and assemble pictures; (3) Direction (Child can recognize right – left of hisself or others; above-under; inside-outside; finding a bear); (4) Size (compare and contrast (big-small); pick a fruit; Distinguish small-large; Compare to tall-short; colouring to the same images); (5) Enhancing the ability to maintain attention (Look under the ball rolling; Imitates actions of adults; Recognize the change; Find hidden objects; Match colors, shape). The implementation of measures to be carried out in 4 steps: Diagram 1. Procedure in using activities to develop visual perception for children with ASD Applied Conditions: 1) Teacher and parents can use the suggestion activities as well as combine with other collected activities or build themselves such activities to help children; 2) Identify the problems of visual perception, purpose, content, how to conduct and the preparation of the necessary facilities for such activities. * Measures 3, Use specific educational approach to develop visual perception for children with ASD: To improve children’s visual perception and appropriate to visual characteristics of chidren with ASD in special schools. Based on the target to develop visual perception for 5-6 year-old children with ASD, we choose some approaches as psycho educational profile revised (PEP-R), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and TEACCH. How to apply: (1) Use PEP- R program to evaluate and choose activities to develop visual perception for children with ASD: Pep- R is the tool that provides a valuable measure of abilities of children with developmental delays. Pep- R with three books in which PEP-R volumes 1 are used to assess developmental areas of children related to visual perception. Part of “Perception” of operating system in PEP-R volumes 3 is used to design the activities to fit abilities and capacities of children; (2) Use many approaches to develop visual perception for children with ASD such as ABA, TEACCH:(i) Applied Behavior Analysis – ABA: Describe level of function and set up intervention targets; teachers and parents should concentrate on immitation skills: immitate body language, actions, 164 Developing Visual Perception for 5 - 6 year - old Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders games...; teachers and parents need to adjust time of use accordance with situation, collaboration in operation to achieve highest results; (ii) Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children – TEACCH: Is an array of teaching or treatment principles and strategies based on the learning characteristics of individuals with ASD, including strengths in visual information processing, and difficulties with social communication, attention, and executive function; We need to implement structured TEACCHing as follows: 1) Evaluate the environment of classroom and family and the child’s development; 2) Select the targets and use 4 structured TEACCHing including: physical organization, Individualized schedules, Work (Activity) systems, Visual structure of materials in tasks and activities; 3) teachers and parents have the skills to provide instruction/treatment in structured TEACCHing. Used Conditions: 1) Teacher and parents must be equipped with knowledge and skills to use the framework through materials, manuals, training courses on strategies; 2) Ensure the physical facilities (classrooms, furniture) in accordance with the method; 3) Ensure on time of using; at least 25 hours / 1 week for group and individual intervention with individualized person intervent
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