Temple Grandin has suggested that rigidity in both behavior and thinking is a major characteristic of people with autism (Autism Today, 2002). “Rigid in thinking” in such children means taking information literally, focusing on details at the expense of the total concept, and having difficulties dealing with the multiple perspectives of abstract thinking. Other literature supports this view that people with autism are rigid in their thinking and have no theory of mind. Teachers, parents, or caregivers face difficulty in communicating with these children because it can be really hard to understand what they want, especially with those children that have little or no verbal communication. Therefore, it would be useful to understand an autistic child’s thinking so that his teachers, parents and caregivers can intervene and re-direct the thinking in the management of his behavior. Research has been conducted to address this issue at an autistic centre by using an audio-visual slide presentation which is divided up into the five themes, (a) color, (b) light, (c) visual, (d) perception, (e) cartoon, and (f) character. The audio-visual slide presentation was shown to 24 children with autism aged between 5-10 years old. Each child attended a 45 minutes session thrice weekly over six months. After the children had experienced the audio-visual presentation, they were asked to describe or draw what they had seen. Their drawings or descriptions were analyzed for their thinking pattern and conclusions have been drawn which form the basis for some behavioral therapies to direct attention to the present and to what they see.
Professor, School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia
Senior Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia
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