ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism affects 1 in 100 people in Northern Ireland more than 17,000 people have autism, it directly effects around 68,000.
Autism is known as a hidden disability, can you tell if any of these children have it?
You cannot always tell that someone has autism just by looking at them.
ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with ASD are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with ASD may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language or situations.
ASD lasts for all of a person's life. But they can still do a lot of things and learn a lot of skills.
Some people with ASD find these things difficult ?
They find it difficult to tell people what they need, and how they feel. Meeting other people and making new friends can be very difficult for someone with ASD, they especially find it difficult to understand what other people think. They do not understand sarcasm and take direction very literally. They can find a change in routine difficult to cope with. They can find a simple trip to the shop a big challenge.
How do people with ASD behave?
Almost all children with autsim will have some level of speech delay some may never speak. They may have difficulty
understanding what other people say.
They may copy what other people say, but not be able to hold a conversation.
Some only talk about their favourite subject, repeatedly.
Children with ASD don't understand how other people feel, some can learn emotions but they may never feel empathy or compassion.
They may not take part in games or activities with other people and they might like to play the same game or do the same thing every day because most children with ASD are very routine driven, an unexpected change in the routine can cause them great distress and anxiety.
What else is special about ASD?
They may find co-ordination difficult. This means that they may find it difficult to do things like use scissors, use knives and forks, or ride a bike. But they may be very brilliant at something. For example, they may be very good at maths, art or music. They can be good at learning how to do something when they see someone else doing it, as they are visual learners and be good at concentrating on one activity, although it can be difficult to divert their attention.
Some have learning disabilities and learn, they may have other difficulties. For example, they may have dyslexia.
The 5 senses
The 5 senses are sight, sound, smell,touch and taste.
Almost all children with ASD have some degree of Sensory Issues where their senses are hightened or they are subdued.
Some children with ASD may not like bright lights and colours. Although other children with ASD might like them a lot. They may not like loud noises, or they may crave certain noises. Some children with ASD may not like some smells, other's might seek out certain smells for senory stimulation. They may not like being touched, a light touch to a child with ASD can be painful for them, whilst other children with ASD might like being touched and need pressure to stay calm. Children with ASD may like to eat the same food every day, other children with ASD might like lots of different food.
There is a type of autism called Asperger syndrome.
People with Asperger syndrome do not have learning disabilities. But they find the same things difficult as people with autism.
Here are some of the things that people with Asperger syndrome find difficult.
They can find it difficult to tell people what they need, and how they feel. They can have difficulties meeting other people and making new friends and find it difficult to understand what other people think.
Indicators - Signs to look for...
In clinical terms, there are a few "absolute indicators", often referred to as "red flags", that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the "red flags" that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or health visitor for an immediate evaluation:
The child does not respond to his/her name.
The child cannot explain what he/she wants.
Language skills or speech are delayed.
The child doesn't follow directions.
At times, the child seems to be deaf.
The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.
The child doesn't point or wave bye-bye.
The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn't.
The child throws intense or violent tantrums.
The child has odd movement patterns.
The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.
The child doesn't know how to play with toys.
The child doesn't smile when smiled at.
The child has poor eye contact.
The child gets "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on to other things.
The child seems to prefer to play alone.
The child gets things for him/herself only.
The child is very independent for his/her age.
The child does things "early" compared to other children.
The child seems to be in his/her "own world."
The child seems to tune people out.
The child is not interested in other children.
The child walks on his/her toes.
The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)
Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.
if you have suspisions about your child, you need to contact your Health Visitor and raise your concerns
as soon as possible.
Autism Screening Test - this is only to be used as a guide.
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