Some high-functioning children with autism have the ability to adopt the role of another, but lower-functioning children with autism are very poor at accommodating another person's perceptual perspective (Duvner ).One among many conclusions is that children with autism as a group have difficulties in taking another person's point of view, and sometimes they are characterized as being basically ‘acultural’ (Grandin ).Education is thus seen as a form of behaviour treatment, instead of a development of the participant's deep understanding of the environment and how to act in new situations.
However, the focus on the children's deep understanding, instead of learning how to handle a couple of behaviours which for some reason have to be modified, is shared in the present study and in Lord and Mc Gee's study.
Learning situations for children with autism are often strongly focused on one single detail and carried out with strict structure and routine (Howlin ), based on the fact that flexibility is hard to achieve for individuals with autism.
By the use of a theoretical framework it is possible to predict the intention of the observed behaviour, and based on such predictions arrange instruction.
If the theoretical framework really works and seems to be powerful, the child should develop in the predicted way.
The question of why some methods seem to benefit some children, as other methods seem to benefit other children, might be possible to answer if we can find a theoretical way to explain why the methods are or are not powerful in a defined situation.
By doing this, it would also be easier to predict what kind of method or instruction is needed in new situations.As autism is a rather new research phenomenon, the initial research focus has been how to cure the disease instead of how to help the individuals handle the symptoms of the disability. To distinguish between behaviour modification and learning, there is a need to explain the scientific theoretical assumptions about learning on which the studies rely – if the results claim learning has occurred.Otherwise it is hard to discuss if and what the participants really have learned.This point of departure differs from the focus in studies on learning and autism where instructional strategies are in focus.In such studies, the result is strongly connected to the observable behaviour in a restricted environment, instead of learning outcome concerning the content which cannot easily be quantified and measured.Lord and Mc Gee (There is need for research on the development of more specific measures of important areas of outcome in cognition, including the acquisition and generalization of problem-solving and other cognitive skills in natural contexts (e.g., the classroom and the home) and the effects of these skills on families and other aspects of children's lives.There is also a need for research to define appropriate sequences of skills that should be taught through educational programs for young children with autistic spectrum disorders, as well as methods for selecting those sequences, while developing programs for individual children.If they have deficits in understanding another person's intentional actions, it is hard for them to predict the behaviour of others, as well as to discern what other people expect of them. ’ answered by a ‘Yes’, but with no follow-through, is an example of such an environmental problem.When you are observing a child with autism, this complicates how to interpret and measure the observable behaviour, as you in fact do not know what it stands for.As a consequence, this study has a holistic point of view; the child has to consider more than one variable at the same time (in a real situation) instead of single variables (in a restricted environment).If theoretical points of departure about learning were distinctly clarified in studies about autism, the understanding of how and what people with autism learn would be easier to grasp.