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Luisa Fernanda Rodríguez Sánchez

HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

From the psychology perspective, some


people have investigated about the
Autism Spectrum Disorder, therefore this
investigation has permitted classifying,
making differential diagnosis, and early
intervention with respect to the individual
necessities to each child. In this
opportunity, you’re going to to find out
intervention on children with autism in
terms of the cognitive functions because
this treatment allows people develop adaptative skills in their environment and they
can improve their quality of life. On this basis, Portellano (2005) defined the
executive functions like cognitive skills that allow people organize their behavior
and resolve outer and inner complex problems. Within these skills, they are
involved cognitive and emotional processes like ability to plan, select, predict,
anticipate, formulate constructs, memorize, sequentially behavior, emotional
behavior self-regulation and personal self awareness (Portellano, 2005).

The executive functions to be worked by


their level of affectation in children with autism
are: a) attention, selection, and inhibition of
stimuli according to their relevance. Attention is
classified as selective, sustained, divided, and
combined; b) memory means codification,
storage and recovery from information. This is
classified as procedural, perceptual, semantic,
working, and episodic; c) orientation, location
people in space and time; d) perception, reception of information through the
senses (Pérez, García, González, García, Giraldo, Montealegre, Mota, Muñoz,
Pérez & Saldaña, 2018). Intervention includes dysfunctions in these areas because
they are most affected in people with an autistic spectrum, preventing them to
adapt to the environment and independent development.

According to the Didactic Manual of Intervention in Attention in Disorders of the


Early Autistic Spectrum by Perez, et al. (2018), children with autism present
difficulties in the executive functions mentioned above, Thus, you’re going to find
out different forms of intervention.

Respecting atenttion, you’re going to find


out different strategies that allow people to
change their focus easily from one stimulus
to another, without their feeling disturbed
because it is difficult for them to change from
one stimulus to another. According to Pérez
& et al. (2018) it’s possible to make
successive presentations of visual, auditory,
and tactile stimulus. This produces in infants
serial processes that take in an adaptive way promote learning. To accomplish this,
It exists some activities as a) "Person-Object-Person" game where attention should
be focused on this interaction, starting with simple games and after with difficult
games, such as throwing balls, building LEGOS, playing with other children,
sharing a box of toys, etc., b) Teaching to maintain visual contact when someone is
talking to them or giving them some instructions, c) locating and pointing out
objects within the reach of the infant, d) teaching them to wait their turn with
individual and group engine games as obstacle courses and sports.
On the other hand, Seijas
(2015) says that children
with autism have difficulties
with episodic memory, that
is, they have difficulty
recalling information about
autobiographical facts with
respect to other children.
Thus, Pérez & et al. (2018)
suggest that the memory should be worked with different activities according to the
child’s preferences, as narration of anecdotes; communication parents and children
about events that occurred in the school and activities in the weekend; assembling
puzzles; matching images and words; visualization of films where the child should
gives a feedback about the facts; characters and scenes that child most liked;
memorization of songs; rhymes; tongue twister, search of objects, sequence of
sounds, repetition of words, numbers and phrases increasing their complexity.

Equally, Pérez, et al. (2018) mention that


children with this spectrum have alterations for
the "identification of the self", condition that
makes it difficult for them to recognize their
body and the place that occupy in space and
time. This problem could be intervened by
means of the categorization (images with
different objects that could be classified as
animals, kitchen items, toiletries, stationery
shop, plants, films, etc.), imitation movements, self recognition by means of
photographs (body parts and place where it is located), organization of objects in
place (reinforcing that they should put your toys or other objects under, inside,
outside, on the left and on the right), reproduction or copying of simple drawings
with geometric figures, dynamic with temporal sequences (follow up of steps),
anecdotes where they differentiate times.

Relative to perception, there are several alterations that can occur for deficit or
excess of auditory, visual, olfactory, gustative and tactile sensitivity, depending on
each individual. Thus, Pérez, et al. (2018) to mention that stimulus should
introduce with different intensity, initially are repetitive, because this allows the
infant to learn to discriminate them, in order to the child adapt to their needs. This
problem could be intervened through a) psychomotors therapy, that help the
physical and emotional wellbeing, you’re going to find out musicotherapy,
swimming and different sensory games b) sensitive therapy, like approximation
between individuals, physical contact, hugs, variation of sensations of heat, cold
and pressure, discrimination and location of objects by touch, auditory stimulus
through instruments, toys with sound and speech, location of sound sources, visual
contact with objects of
different sizes, reach
objects in their
environments, visualize
objects that move from
one side to the other
horizontally, fine motor
exercises like "stack, fit,
string, thread, button and
cut" (Pérez, et al, 2018,
p.227) and physical
exercises of coordination and height.

The main objective of this article has been to provide the necessary intervention
strategies for children with autism in terms of impacts on the different executive
functions, because this allows the child develop skills to manage their daily life
independently. Finally, it’s important to mention that in order to improve the quality
of life of these children family members must be the support because this allows
the infant become included and easily confronted in different contexts at personal,
family, social, and educational level.

1) What are the executive functions that you can work to improve the quality
of life in children with autism?
2) What activities or strategies you can do to improve the quality of life in
children with autism? Mention two, Why these strategies help children with
autism?

References

Portellano, (2005) Neuropsychology. Complutense University to Madrid.

Pérez, García, González, García, Giraldo, Montealegre, Mota, Muñoz, Pérez &
Saldaña, (2018) Didactic Manual about Intervention in Attention in Disorders
of the Early Autistic Spectrum. Autism Fundation Andalucia, p. 149-164

Seijas, (2015) Attention, memory and executive functions in Autism Spectrum


Disorders. How much do we go forward since Leo Kanner?. Asociation. Esp.
Neuropsychology, Vol 35, n. 127, pp. 573-586

Images

Take from https://www.muyinteresante.es/ciencia/articulo/el-cerebro-olvida-para-


ahorrar-energia-881446111775

Take from http://www.supernanny-barcelona.com/las-funciones-ejecutivas-del-


cerebro-en-el-tdah-terrassa-barcelona/

Take from http://medstudblogg.blogspot.com/2015/02/trastornos-del-espectro-


autista-en-la.html

Take from https://akroseducational.es/juegos/especiales/trastorno-espectro-autista-


tea/
Take from https://www.guiainfantil.com/articulos/bebes/estimulacion/beneficios-de-
jugar-con-el-bebe-frente-al-espejo/

Take from http://educarconalegria.com/la-importancia-de-fortalecer-la-percepcion-


del-tiempo/