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New Self-help Technique May Aid The Autistic

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A new technique suggested by scientists at the University of Bristol, Durham University and City University London holds immense hope for young children affected with autism. In a study that was conducted by the researchers children suffering from autism spectrum disorders showed benefits from being taught to "talk things through in their head" in order to solve complex tasks that they are faced with every day.

We know that an average adult uses inner speech to reason out and plan things on a daily basis. However, this aspect is suppressed in persons affected by autism and related disorders. A typical growing child uses external/outer verbal communication to describe his/her action and seek approval of their actions and decisions.

Unfortunatley, those with autism lack this ability. This then translate into a presence or absence of an "inner voice". The average child who speaks out uses inner talk as s/he grows to achieve the same ends, i.e., solve complex day-to-day tasks and plan the day, and develop strategies to a overcome a situation.

As the speaking out is suppressed in autistic children, so is their "inner talk" as they grow into adolescents and adults. This in turn affects their chances of independent, flexible living later in life. (1)

However, the study showed that teaching autistic children to use inner speech helped them get around most things they are faced with in the course of a normal day. Other intervention strategies were also applied, such as having them describe their actions aloud and using verbal learning of their daily schedules, etc., were found to improve recall and mental flexibility in the group of children.

A 2009 report published by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention stated that an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have autism spectrum disorder. (2) In the U.K., this figure is at 1 in every 100 children.

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