People are considered resilient when they experience adversity or risk, yet achieve positive adaptation. Students with ASD may not naturally utilize the external or internal supports to overcome adversity effectively. It is suggested that many individuals lack appropriate or effective coping mechanisms to address the adversity they experience, as a result of socio-communicative and behavioural challenges, resulting in reduced resilience (McCrimmon A.W., Montgomery J.M.2014).There is very little research on building resilience for individuals with ASD as the focus has been on building resilience of families to adapt to the challenges of raising a child with ASD. It would be helpful if research looked at identifying characteristics or skills that may be useful in building skills/factors despite the presence of ASD. Openness to new experiences for example has been positively related to resilience and individuals with ASD are resistant to change but are very effective within a routine and can be highly productive on a specific task that requires a systematic approach to examining information. I will use this characteristic by timetabling Problem Solving and MakerSpace activities thereby making it part of their routine. After assessing each student for the presence or absence of what is called protective factors (McCrimmon A.W., Montgomery J.M.2014), I can design an activity to either strengthen existing individual characteristics and/or work on building the skills that support resilience. The assessment is a combination of discussions with other professionals done at the 'handover' during the previous year, with parents at the Individual Transition Plan and the individual students during the first term and observations done during class. The protective factors I have chosen to focus on include; problem solving skills and social emotional skills such as collaboration and self control. The goal here is that the student feels supported as we provide opportunities within the activities for them to practice or learn these skills they need thereby increasing resilience.
McCrimmon A.W., Montgomery J.M. (2014) Resilience-Based Perspectives for Autism Spectrum Disorder. In: Prince-Embury S., Saklofske D. (eds) Resilience Interventions for Youth in Diverse Populations. The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality. Springer, New York, NY
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