Autism and DeafnessAutism is not a simple disorder. This disorder causes difficulty in interacting with people and affects language. It has a wide spectrum and usually appears by the time a child is three years old. With early identification and intervention, there is the potential for deaf children with autism to do well.
Doctors and scientists are still working to understand autism. More information on autism can be found on the About.com: Autism website.
Support for Deaf People with AutismThere is the Deaf Autism group, a site supporting families of deaf children with autism spectrum disorders, and deaf parents with hearing autistic children. Family profiles are on the site. Deaf Autism holds autism retreats (Autreat).
Discussion Groups for Deafness and Autism
In addition, the Autism Network for Hearing and Visually Impaired Persons (ANHVIP) is under the Autism Society of America (ASA). Margaret Creedon, who is on the Professional Advisory Committee of the Autism Society of Illinois, and on the Panel of Professional Advisors for the ASA, is a co-founder of the ANHVIP.
Research on Deafness and AutismResearch into autism and hearing loss is limited. An Eric database search turned up the following article about deafness or hearing loss and autism:
- EJ762865. Malandraki, Georgia A., and Okalidou, Areti. The Application of PECS in a Deaf Child with Autism: A Case Study. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, volume 22, number 1, pages 23-32, Spring 2007. This article is about a deaf and autistic 10-year-old boy who was taught to use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and how well he did after learning the system.
A family's experience was featured in the article "Early Intervention in Deafness and Autism: One Family’s Experiences, Reflections, and Recommendations," by Katharine Beals, PhD, published in Infants and Young Children, Volume 17, No. 4, pp. 284–290. It can be downloaded free from the International Society on Early Intervention's website. The parents struggled to provide their deaf child with all available educational and communication options. Then, when their deaf child began to have autistic symptoms, an early intervention specialist said it was pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDD is a category of disorders that includes autism.
Newspaper Articles on Autism and DeafnessAbout.com: Deafness reported on an article about a deaf and autistic young man in the blog post Deaf, Autistic Young Man Succeeds in Life. Another article was in the Ocala Star-Banner on August 6, 2007, "Deaf, autistic child like other boys." That article mentions the National Deaf Academy (NDA) in Mount Dora, Florida, as an educational facility with expertise in deafness and autism.
The NDA has an Autism Spectrum Developmental Services team. This team is comprised of professionals from a variety of fields including psychiatry and education. Children receive one to one attention from dedicated staff members.
Magazine Articles on Deafness and AutismIn its Spring/Summer 2008 issue, Odyssey magazine, published by the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, focused on deaf children and teens with autism. This issue, which can be downloaded directly as a PDF from the Odyssey website, featured the following articles:
- Deafness and Autism - by Diane D. Morton
- When Autistm and Deafness Coexist in Children: What We Know Now - by Christen Szymanski and Patrick J. Brice
- With Little Research Out There It’s a Matter of Learnign What Works in Teaching Students with Deafness and Autism - by Lee Ann Bradley, Brandi krakowski, and Ann Thiessen
- Bringing Books To - and Sharing them With - Children with Autism: Janet’s Tips - by Janet S. Weinstock
- Selah, a Previous Mosaic: A Mother’s Journey Through Autism with Her Deaf Child - by Stefanie D. Ellis-Gonzales
- Brady, Our Firstborn Son, Has Autism - by Mei Yeh-Kennedy