Robert P. – BASIS Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale Senior Robert P.

Putting the Pieces Together: The Puzzle of Special Education

Project/blog link: Putting the Pieces Together: The Puzzle of Special Education
BASIS Advisor: Mr. Robert Witz
Internship location: Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Christopher J. Smith, Vice President, Director of Research

Project Abstract

The puzzle piece has been the national symbol for autism since the early 1960s, representing the mystery and complexity behind this disorder. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, autism has been one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the country, affecting as many as 1 in 68 children in the United States alone. Although data suggests that known methods like the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or the Peer Network System (PNS), assist students in their development, positive results are not guaranteed. At SARRC, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, researchers use their knowledge and evidence about autism to diagnose children at an early age, so that a plan can be made to help nurture and better educate these children. It is essential that we screen and diagnose the cases early, in order to have more specialized treatments. By observing the diagnostic sessions along with the treatment plans they offer, this will help build my understanding of what may improve the social skills of children with autism. And with the vast database of past clients, I will be able to access some of that information to infer on what methods may have worked in the past. This project explores the methods used to identify early signs of autism as well as the most effective ways to educate and treat them, hoping to add one more piece to solving the puzzle of autism.

Putting the Pieces Together: The Puzzle of Special Education