This chapter reviews educational strategies and legal policies impacting effective schooling for children, youth, and young adults. Emphasis is on the classroom manifestation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and how general education teachers can effectively facilitate learning. Within early school years, the importance of positive student-teacher relationships (STRs) in the face of challenging behaviors is discussed, including ways to build positive STRs. In middle and high school, social relationships serve as protective factors against mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). Literature on this topic, including issues related to bullying, is presented. In postsecondary settings, young adults with ASD continue to have poor outcomes (e.g. loneliness, unemployment); strategies for helping adolescents transition to adulthood is discussed. While there are many other aspects to educational program appropriate for individuals with ASD (e.g., curriculum content), this chapter highlights recent issues that may be informative to a wide audience—school teachers and staff, researchers, and parents.
Part of the book: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social-communication deficits and the presence of restricted interests and/or repetitive behaviors. There are currently no psychopharmacological agents approved to treat core symptoms of ASD. As such, behavioral interventions are the most effective method for improving symptoms. In the current chapter, we propose that administering the neuropeptide oxytocin in conjunction with evidence-based behavioral interventions may lead to improved outcomes in social-communication for children with ASD. From a mechanistic perspective, we hypothesize that oxytocin may “prime” social reward circuitry in the brain, thereby allowing behavioral interventions designed to increase social motivation/initiation to be more effective. Extant literature related to theories of ASD, oxytocin administration in children with ASD, and behavioral intervention outcomes are reviewed, and considerations for individual characteristics (e.g., genetics, oxytocin availability, age, behavioral profile, etc.) that may affect efficacy are discussed.
Part of the book: Oxytocin and Health