The Inclusive Classroom: Dealing with Both Autism and Speech and Language Disorders

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The inclusive classroom can be potentially made up of an array of students with very specific learning needs. These requirements need to be understood, identified and catered for by the classroom teacher. As knowledge and understanding are the tools for successful teaching and learning practises; this report aims to explain, identify key traits and provide programming and teaching recommendations for students that may present with Speech and Language Disorders and those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Language is a particularly important form of human communication and is defined as “the set of symbols, usually words or signs that are organised by convention to communicate ideas” (CCCH 2006 p.6). In order for one to understand Speech and Language Disorders (SLD) one must first understand the components of speech and language. The two components of language are expressive – using words, gestures or written words to communicate and receptive – understanding what is said, written or gestured (CCCH 2006). Just as there are two components of language development, there can be two types of language delay and disorder. These are expressive language delay and receptive language delay. “Children with expressive language delay will have difficulties with spoken language and, compared with other children; their vocabulary will tend to be smaller” (CCCH 2006 p.12). “Children with receptive language delay have trouble understanding what is said to them (CCCH 2006 p.12);” as children need to understand language before they can use it effectively, many children with a receptive language problem may also experience expressive language problems as well. Children are usually classified as having a language delay up to the age of three. They can be formally diagnosed with a language disorder after the age of three. The characteristics and traits of an expressive language
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