Spared Abilities in Autism

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Question Description

This discussion will specifically focus on "islets of ability" (special abilities and skills) and impaired motor skills as identified in individuals with ASD and addressed in the first section of Chapter 10.

First, identify ways in which spared, or relatively spared abilities in people with ASD across the spectrum can be capitalized on - whether automatically and unconsciously by the individual or with the assistance of others - to benefit the individual. Give practical examples. In addition, do a web search on this topic and discuss the additional examples you find (a simple search for "islets of ability" or "strengths in autism" should give you a great start!). Provide links and/or citations to the outside sources from your search.

Second, pretend you are designing an exercise program for an overweight adolescent boy with middle-to-high functioning ASD, what forms of exercise might you realistically expect him to be able to do and persist with - and why? How would the exercise program differ from one you might develop for an overweight non-autistic boy of the same age? (Assume the assistance of a supportive adult in both cases). Be sure to incorporate relevant material and/or references from Chapter 10 to support your exercise program and rationale. You might find the following resources helpful:

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School: University of Maryland



Spared Abilities in Autism
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Spared Abilities in Autism
Part 1:
Regardless of the common occurrence of motor defects in people with ASD, some
aspects of motor functioning are spared, and peaks of motor skills are observed occasionally. For
instance, young autistic children may be good climbers with good balance and fear of heights
(Boucher, 2017). Others may possess good piano-playing abilities while others who may be
skilled in speed-dependent video games may be deduced to have excellent fine manual control
and hand-eye coordination. These spared abilities can be capitalized on, automatically and
unconsciously by the person or with the help of others to benefit the person. Attachment is a
spared social interaction ability in people with ASD (Boucher, 2017).
Attachment is an emotional bond between two people to satisfy emotional needs. Various
studies demonstrated that young children with autism form attachment to their primary care
givers, though differences exist on how these attachments are formed (Boucher, 2017). Spared
cognitive abilities are common to people with autism. For example, rote memory is spared in
children with autism since it is displayed in the ability to memorize advertising jingles or tunes,
echoing ability, and the ability to list information (Boucher, 2017). Spared or relatively spared
constructional and visual-spatial skills are common in people with intense learning difficulties
and autism. Hyperlexia or mechanical reading is another peak ability in people with autism. In
individuals with low-functioning autism, hyperlexia takes the classical form of the capability to
read words accurately without understanding their meanings while in high-functioning
individuals, hyperlexia occurs as mechanical reading that is superior to reading comprehension
(Boucher, 2017).
Other special abilities associated with people with autism i...

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