Educating Children with Autism
Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism
Catherine Lord and James P. McGee, editors
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
National Research Council
NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418
John Brian Harley, a British geographer, described the process of making a map as the social construction of knowledge to facilitate understanding. In many ways, the preparation of this report seemed like that of making a map, not to direct, but to organize and represent information to help progress through the many scientific findings and unknowns in the field of early education in autism. At the request of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, this project was undertaken by the National Research Council to consider the state of the scientific evidence of the effects of early educational intervention on young children with autistic spectrum disorders. In any such project, the questions become as important as the answers. Our committee represented many different fields—including clinical and developmental psychology, special education, speech and language pathology, psychiatry, and child neurology—and we elected to organize our report around the questions that we defined as most important for our areas of inquiry; these questions demand multidisciplinary attention. We attempted to provide a “map” for each of these questions that represented scientific literature from our respective fields.
The questions cover epidemiology, family support, diagnosis and screening, assistive technology, characteristics of autism, features of intervention programs, and how instructional strategies have been put together in comprehensive programs. The questions also include issues in public policy, personnel preparation, and future research …