Keeping Children with Autism in the Classroom

Steve Adubato goes on-location to The North Ward Center for the “Autism: A Different Way of Thinking” forum to speak with Corinne Catalano, PhD., Assistant Director for Consultation Services, Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Montclair State University, about the importance of schools including autistic children with their "typically developing" peers in order to increase their communication skills.

9/26/19 #2246






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the North Ward Center in beautiful Brick City, Newark, New Jersey. This is part of a series about autism. Autism: A Different Way of Thinking. We're honored to be joined by Doctor Corinne Catalano from Montclair State University. Your title is so complex, I'm gonna let you tell us. It is? I am the Assistant Director for Consultation Services at Montclair State University's Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health. That is not all on one card, is it? It is. [laughter] It is. Small type. Give our best to Doctor Cole up there. The president. I will. For sure. A lot going on at Montclair State, but one of the areas where you're recognized for is your research, the focus on autism? Yes. One of the things... and Corinne is joining us for a roundtable discussion on autism. But I'm curious about something. Why is it that boys are diagnosed earlier, and more often, than girls when it comes to autism? Well, there's probably a lot of reasons for that. Some of which may be based on what autism really is, which we're starting to learn that it is a neurodevelopmental disorder... Define that. Neurodevelopmental. A neurodevelopmental disorder means that it's a disorder of the nervous system, right? Oftentimes we think of autism as a behavioral disorder, and I think that is, right now, how we're diagnosing autism, by looking at sets of behaviors. Right. But where the research is really going, and what might give insight to boys versus girls, I'm not sure, is that we're starting to really understand autism as a disorder of our nervous system. And so research that's being done now by Doctor Liz Torres at Rutgers and the head of the New Jersey Center of Autism Excellence is neuroscientific research. Why does that matter though? Break it down. I mean that's... Sure. I appreciate the clinical research driven focus of that. Right. But break that down in terms of what that could, and should, mean to those who care deeply about those who are dealing with autism and their families. How does that... and why does that matter? Well, autism spectrum disorder, hence spectrum, lets us know that this is a really heterogeneous disability category at this point, right? I've worked with so many kids who have this label, if you will. Right. Some of whom are very verbal, some are not verbal. Some of whom have high intellectual ability, some who don't. Some who... It can mean different things for different people? Right. Right. Diagnosed with autism? Right..."