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Child Development

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Diagnosis and Early Intervention

produced April 2005

Success in School

produced May 2005

Program Information | Characteristics of Autism | Screening Questions | Effective Intervention | Resources

About Autism: Program Information

The number of children with autism has increased dramatically in recent years. These two hour-long discussion programs for parents and educators examine the issues surrounding autism—signs to look for in early development, effective early intervention programs, and strategies to help children with autism achieve in school.

Both programs are hosted by KET’s Renee Shaw and are closed-captioned for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Program 1
About Autism: Diagnosis and Early Intervention

Children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders typically display a range of identifiable symptoms. By being aware of these signs, parents can help spot the disorder at an earlier age, greatly improving their child’s overall prognosis. In this program, an expert panel discusses what parents should look for in their child’s early development that may suggest autism—and what to do once a child has been diagnosed with the disorder.


  • Dr. Paul Glaser, MD, Ph.D., associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center
  • Dr. Myra Beth Bundy, associate professor in the Psychology Department at Eastern Kentucky University
  • Trisha Gallagher, an early childhood specialist at the STAR (Systematic Treatment of Autism and Related Disorders) Program, part of the Weisskopf Center for the Evaluation of Children at the University of Louisville
  • Melanie Tyner-Wilson, the parent of a son who has autism

Program topics:

Program 2
About Autism: Success in School

The number of children with autism who receive special education services has risen 600 percent in the last decade alone. While the cause of this dramatic rise is unknown, much has been learned about what kinds of educational programs help children with autism succeed in school. In the second About Autism program, a panel of educators who specialize in teaching children with autism answer questions about the instructional strategies and educational settings that have demonstrated measurable success in helping students with autism perform to their highest potential.


  • Hazel Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of Kentucky and the parent of a child with autism
  • Shawn Henry, M.Ed., program coordinator at the Kentucky Autism Training Center, located at the University of Louisville
  • Rachel Hammond, Ed.D., a school psychologist and low incidence specialist for the Oldham County Schools

The program will address the following topics:

Definition of Autism

  • Dr. Harold Kleinert, executive director of the Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute, discusses autism as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Special Needs of Students with Autism

  • how children with autism learn
  • the wide variances among children identified as having autism
  • IQ and children with autism
  • barriers to learning faced by most children with autism

Educational Settings

  • definition and background on the Individualized Education Program, or IEP
  • the types of educational environment that are optimal for most children with autism
  • the benefits of an inclusive education, where students with autism are learning alongside their same-age peers
  • how teachers balance access to the general curriculum and meet the other needs of the child with autism such as social skills, adapted living, “learning to learn,” and sensory integration issues

Socialization, Communication, Behavior Modifications/Adaptations

  • education goals and modifications targeted toward deficits most children with autism have in the areas of social interaction, communication, and unusual behaviors, such as repetitive mannerisms or a fixation on certain things that interest them
  • how teachers can help students manage these behaviors
  • fostering better understanding of the communicative intent behind some unusual behavior
  • augmentative communication devices and systems

Sensory Integration

  • sensory integration challenges and strategies for coping

Setting Educational Goals

  • the Individualized Education Program (IEP): how goals should be written and assessed and how other supports for the student are included on the IEP, including assistance from a paraeducator and services from a speech/language pathologist and/or occupational therapist

Support Outside the School System and Medical Support

  • services received by children with autism from doctors and other professionals outside the school setting
  • Panelist Dr. Paul Glaser describes medication often prescribed to help with challenging behaviors seen in some children with autism.

Kentucky residents may purchase DVDs of About Autism and other Kids’ Health Specials from KET. Call 800-945-9167 or e-mail .

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