What is the Meaning of Splintered Development in Children with Autism?

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Children with autism generally have developmental timelines that are out of sync. These differences in timelines can cause perplexing behavior. This is called splintered development.Children with autism generally have developmental timelines that are out of sync. Each area can have its own path. These developmental timelines include:

Physical

Sensory-Motor (Neuro- Developmental)

Cognitive

Academic

Emotional

Social

When development in any of these areas is out of sync with typical development, these differences can cause perplexing behavior. This is called splintered development.

What is important is that the development of these timelines is constantly moving forward, even if not in sync. In moving forward, the goal is that the skills in each area will hopefully reach maturation at some point in the future.

Because of these differences in maturation of each timeline, people on the autism spectrum have splintered development, which means that some developmental areas do not always match others. Every timeline requires its own consideration and intervention.

Academic vs Sensory-Motor

Rachel can do math, but is not able to summarize the day she had.

Academic vs Social

Tim understands how to greet someone, but does not know why he should greet anyone.

Cognitive vs Sensory-Motor

Joey can tell you all about how to program his computer game but can’t remember procedures for cleaning up at the end of the school day.

Social vs Sensory-Motor

Alex talks continuously, but is not able to process what someone says to him.

Physical vs Emotional

Clara has always been big for her age. Although she is only three, she looks like an average five-year old. In preschool, the teachers keep steering her toward activities that take a much longer attention span than she has. Even strangers make negative remarks about her impulsive behavior, which is actually typical for a three-year old.

Learn Moreā€¦ Take this course: Introduction to Autism

Discuss Here: How can you help children with autism progress through splintered development?

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