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AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

INTRODUCTION

 

          Marcos is in 1st grade of ESO ("Educatión Secundaria Obligatoria"- in English, Compulsory Secondary Education). His classmates think he is a bit "strange”. He keeps to himself. He does not usually start conversations and, frequently, when someone speaks to him, he gets visibly nervous, even displaying facial tics. In general, he does not usually look at his interlocutor’s face when he or she talks to him.

          The truth is, when anyone manages to talk to him, they notice that he generally expresses himself correctly, and that his intellectual level is not different from that of the rest of his companions. He even surprises people because of his good memory and his interests. However, when someone talks to him figuratively (not literally) or with ulterior motives, he shows that he does not understand, he acts confused or asks for clarification. Therefore, he often gives his interlocutors an impression of naivety. Precisely the absence of intellectual disability makes him aware of his limitations, which helps increase his anxiety in social situations.

          In Physical Education, when playing football, his companions have noticed that his movements are somewhat clumsy, although he is very strong-willed, very impetuous—perhaps too much. But the most striking thing for them happened in the locker room, when he got very nervous when he realized that his towel was not where he had left it. He spoke to himself, visibly upset, wondering where it could be, who might have taken it. He walked nervously back and forth while he rubbed his hands restlessly. They could even see a nervous facial tic again.

          What disorder do you think Marcos has? What could you, as a teacher, do to help him?