Only when the child can understand the sign/word meanings—first learned in the SSLP—in a variety of settings does the child fully "own" these concepts. In other words, the child must learn that the meaning of the concept jump goes beyond the particular child jumping off a ladder seen in the SSLP. The child must learn that the concept may refer to a child jumping off a table, to a classmate jumping down the hall on a pogo stick, and so forth.
Before crediting a child with true receptive understanding of a concept, we must see clear evidence that the sign/word guides the child's actions even when detached from its familiar perceptual and contextual cues. For example, the child must understand that the sign/word drop refers to the sudden release of an object independent of the kind of object being released, who is dropping the object, and where it is being dropped.
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.