One of the most common conditions in the category of developmental disorders is called autism. Autism is characterized by different kinds of improvement in the verbal and non-verbal communication mastery, social interaction, self help and playing skills as well as academic (intellectual) and cognitive skills. Other observable traits include limited repetitive and extreme patterns of behavior (Boyd, R.D. & Corley, M.J. 2001, 19). It is therefore imperative that the curriculum as well as other aspects of learning the designed in such a manner as to wholly meet the needs of these children.
This section examines the learning needs of an autistic child and the theories that form the basis of select learning environments with the view of creating a most apt learning environment for specific special needs of a child.
There are several groups of children with special learning interaction and communication needs. These conditions may include inherent conditions such as Autism, Aspergers syndrome, Down syndrome (Autism Spectrum disorders) and various physical impairments that include, hearing disorders, blindness and dumbness. Children who are born with or who develop these conditions are faced with a myriad of challenges in relationships as well interpreting, understanding the world around them. They lack the ability to communicate effectively.
Autistic children seem to be in a world of their own and are not able to make out meanings of verbal and non-verbal communications such as gestures, facial expressions, physical contacts and even words spoken by people. (Anderson et al 1987, 352-366). Their semantic skills are disoriented and they seem to be indifferent about what is going on around them and even the people who are trying to interact with them. Their behavior does not match their feelings and interacting or relating with other people becomes very difficult if not impossible.
For instance, an autistic child will see another child with a toy and since the autistic child cannot express him/herself and as such cannot let the other child know that she would want to play with the toy, the only option left for the autistic child is to grab the toy by force.
Autistic children's needs are hardly understood by most people around them and therefore are not acted upon on time. This can be a cause of frustration to the child and lead to antisocial behavior such as acts of violence. It can also frustrate the other party who do not understand the autistic child's behavior interprets the behavior in the wrong way. This therefore, results in a conflict because other people not in the special group category cannot comprehend autistic people therefore not able to meet their need appropriately.
Autistic children have difficulties learning different words and may not show any response when words are spoken to them. Due to the these developmental disorder autistic children usually lag behind in developing self help skills such as toileting skills, eating, dressing themselves and even playing skills (Beukelman, D. & Miranda, P. 1998, 129-34). They tend to be obsessed in arranging things in a