10 Fruits in 60 seconds: The importance of categorization

Categorizing fruits can be difficult for people with AS

Categorizing fruits can be difficult for people with AS

“Quick, in 60 seconds name 10 items that go in the category, fruits.”  Generally, this task for typically developing children age 10 and older, can perform this task quickly.  Categorizing information into similar items is a task we often take for granted.  However, for children with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome, classifying and sorting like items may not follow typical societal expectations. For example, given the category fruits one 10-year-old client with Asperger syndrome named apple, orange, and bananas in 60 seconds. With prompting he could think of more items, but not independently. Some children with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome have a hard time sorting and classifying information and either can not generate category items or will name items that do not follow typical  societal patterns.

What is classification? Classification is the ability sort, organize, and understand items based on their similarities.

What is the implication of a deficit in categorization? We sort and classify in order to understand our world and communicate with others.  The inability to classify items is a deficit that has long ranging impact on communication.  Generating and organizing ideas, understanding similar human characteristics such as facial expressions, and  providing socially accepted responses all share the component of classification. Limited ability to categorize can have a great impact on the ability to generalize and plan.  Categorization is an important skill for all, but for children and adults on the autism spectrum learning this skill is an important component of a good language program and should not be neglected.

Sources for using and teaching categorization:

Categories furniture, vegetables, things,  which are green, electronics, shapes colors, places people live, States,

Board or formal  categorization games:  Scattergories, Tapple, Apple to Apples,

Car games  “I’m going on a picnic” ( name things you can take on a picnic)  “I’m going to the zoo” ( naming animals and memory)

Online game   http://www.quia.com/cb/6309.html

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