The Enigma of Autism: Genius, Disorder or Just Different?

Maria A. Efstratopoulou (Editor)
Senior Lecturer, Social Sciences, BG University, UK

Series: Neuroscience Research Progress, Disability and the Disabled – Issues, Laws and Programs
BISAC: PSY022020

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Those of us fortunate enough to work with children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum learn something new every day. The study of autism is a dynamic, rapidly evolving world in which research outcomes, new ideas and innovative practices are continuously emerging in an apparently endless stream. During the last few years, there have been a number of important developments in the field, which have dramatically affected the lives and experiences of people with autism and their families, and have moved forward with thinking in the field exponentially.

The Enigma of Autism is a recourse for everyone who is dedicated not only to research, but also to the education and wellbeing of children and adults on the Autistic Spectrum. The text presents the latest research findings in the field and provides coping strategies for professionals working with students with autism in special education or mainstream settings. The book is intended to serve as not only a research textbook for researchers and professionals, but also aims to serve as a user-friendly guide and resource for the families who have a child in the Spectrum.

Socializing and communicating can be challenging for many autistic people. Many really do want to make friends and form relationships but find it hard. There may be difficulty in reading social cues and knowing when to speak or listen and facial expressions can be impossible to read, resulting in social isolation. The behavior is the child’s attempt to communicate some need or feeling. It is our role as professionals to consider what the child is trying to express. We need to recognize that there is some legitimacy to the child’s needs and/or feelings that motivate the behavior. In Part I of this book, different aspects and characteristics of autism are presented in separate chapters. Problems concerning behavior, sensory sensitivity, and anxiety issues and their implications on the social lives of people with autism are discussed in depth.

While rearing a child with autism can result in marked psychological distress and mental health problems for mothers, there is increasing evidence that parents of children with disabilities demonstrate considerable strength, articulating the positive contributions of their child’s difficulties to their lives and wellbeing. In Part II, the psychological health of families and strategies to cope are discussed using data from interviews and friendly discussions with parents and family members of children with autism.

Finally, in Part III intervention strategies and educational approaches are presented in an attempt to help parents and professionals to have a clear overview of the latest practices as well as their usefulness and desirable effects. A fundamental role of Part III is to offer a number of possible solutions with the belief that scientifically valid information will be useful to both educational professionals and families in real life situations, and that this information can help reduce the emotional pressure and anxiety caused by the lack of knowledge. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical)

Preface

PART I: Core Symptoms of Autism

Chapter 1. Core Symptoms of Autism
Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

Chapter 2. Cognition and Intelligence in HFA
Dr. Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

Chapter 3. Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Dr. Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

Chapter 4. Sensory Problems and Autism
Dr. Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

PART II: Sensory Problems and Autism

Chapter 5. Psychological Health in Families with Children on the Autistic Spectrum
Dr. Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

Chapter 6. Constructing Mental Resilience upon Anxiety and Depression in Parents with a Child on the Spectrum
Dr. Maria Sofologi (Cognitive Psychologist, Program Director, Community Mental Health Center, Thessaloniki, Greece)

PART III: Interventions Strategies

Chapter 7. When the Going Gets Tough: How Teachers Cope
Julia Lindley-Baker, PhD (Academic Coordinator of the Special Education and Inclusion Program, Bishop Grosseteste, University, UK)

Chapter 8. Intervention Strategies and Educational Approaches for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Dr. Maria A. Efstratopoulou, PhD (Senior Lecturer in Special Education and Inclusion, School of Social Sciences, Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)

Chapter 9. Mobile Apps for Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Alexandros Argyriadis, PhD and Agathi Argyriadi, PhD (Assistant Professor, School of Psychology and Social Work, Frederick University, Cyprus, and others)

Chapter 10. Therapeutic Interventions: A Metamorphosis Project
Dr. Maria Sofologi (Cognitive Psychologist, Program Director, Community Mental Health Center, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Index

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